Andy Farrell says Ireland must be courageous to halt their losing streak against England and end an underwhelming Guinness Six Nations campaign on a high.
Head coach Farrell is still searching for the first major scalp of his tenure, with his side twice outclassed by Eddie Jones’ World Cup finalists in 2020.
Ireland have not beaten the English since their Grand Slam success of 2018 and have lost 10 of the last 13 meetings, including four on the bounce.
The winners of Saturday’s Dublin showdown will strengthen their hopes of finishing second at the end of topsy-turvy tournament in which both sides have already been beaten twice.
Asked how the Irish can end the poor run of results against their rivals, Farrell replied: “Through people learning the lessons from the games you’ve talked about.
“I feel that the last outing – it was a physical game like it always is, certainly at Twickenham – we were within ourselves a little bit regarding playing the game that’s in front of us.
“We’ve got to have courage to go out there and win the game and the statement that we want to make, to ourselves first and foremost.
“I think the mental state of the squad is very strong. They’re very buoyant this week, in a determined mood.
“They know that this is the last game of the competition, where we get a chance to put our best performance out there for 80 minutes, which is something that we haven’t quite achieved yet.
“But we’ll need to do that to win and they’re in a determined mood to make that happen.”
Farrell has made six changes to his starting XV as he seeks to build on successive wins over Italy and Scotland.
Jack Conan, Josh Van Der Flier and Bundee Aki have been selected in place of injured trio James Ryan, Will Connors and Garry Ringrose, while Dave Kilcoyne, Conor Murray and Jacob Stockdale are preferred to Cian Healy, Jamison Gibson-Park and James Lowe.
England’s only change to the team which started their enthralling win over France sees Elliot Daly make his first international start at outside centre for almost five years in place of Henry Slade, who has a calf issue.
Farrell has inside knowledge of the opposition, having served as England defence coach between 2011 and 2015, and does not expect the enforced alteration to unduly trouble the visitors.
“I don’t think it will change that much. Elliot will just be himself. He always flows into that channel anyway,” he said.
“He started out as nothing but a 13, so he’s very experienced in that regard and they’ve obviously put Elliot back in there and they’re very comfortable to do so because he’s able to use his left foot, and that’s what Henry Slade used to do as well.”
Back-to-back victories, including at Murrayfield last weekend, have seen Ireland recover from their worst start to a Six Nations campaign, which swiftly extinguished any title ambitions.
While it has been a frustrating Championship for his team, Farrell feels it has been enjoyable fare for impartial spectators .
When reminded the weekend result will determine which half of the table Ireland finish in, he replied: “That’s the reality and that’s why we love the Six Nations, don’t we?
“It’s been a great campaign for a neutral I would have thought, because nobody quite knows who’s going to win what game.
“I suppose that’s what people would want.
“As far as we’re concerned, obviously there’s a couple of defeats that got away from us in the end but we’re in a determined mood to finish off this campaign well.”