Paul Gustard has sounded a note of defiance on the looming midfield mismatch between England and Ireland by declaring “David didn’t have a problem with Goliath”.
The reigning RBS 6 Nations champions have selected the biggest centre partnership in their history in the form of Robbie Henshaw and Stuart McCloskey, who weigh a combined total of 33 stones. England are braced for the giant Irish duo to come marauding down the fly-half channel of George Ford – the smallest player on the pitch – while outside Ford stand the relatively lightweight Owen Farrell and Jonathan Joseph.
A defiant Gustard expects his midfield to face down the onslaught in the Six Nations title showdown at Twickenham on Saturday, however. “David didn’t have a problem with Goliath did he?” England’s defence coach said. “George and Owen have defended very well together. And obviously we have an openside who has been very physical in James Haskell and he’s been playing very well. “Joseph has one of the highest tackle success rates going, so defensively we have been strong. “This is the team we’ve picked because we believe it’s the team that will get the result we want.”