Kiss expects test of maul

Ireland assistant coach Les Kiss believes Saturday's Six Nations game with England at Twickenham will provide a stiff test of their driving maul.

Forwards coach John Plumtree has worked hard to improve Ireland's mauling, while his opposite number Graham Rowntree has done the same for England.

But something must give in west London and Kiss is predicting an epic power struggle.

"We certainly know that we have a lot more improvement in the maul, but we have worked hard to make it a real strength," said Kiss.

"If there's a game where we'll find out if it is a strength, it's this one.

"There may be some variation from it from both teams, but I do think they are going to lock horns at some stage.

"It's going to be a true forward battle that possibly determines what else happens around the field.

"We're set for that, and I'm pretty sure by the way that they're set for it as well."

Kiss admits both camps may consider abandoning the maul for wide play at some stage during the contest, although they will remain keen to launch their driving tactics where possible.

"There is a chance both teams might think 'let's attack it a bit differently', then fake to the maul and go elsewhere," added Kiss.

"Both teams are probably thinking about that as a strategy, but I think there is a part of this game, particularly at Twickenham, where I know England would like to draw a line in that sand in that area."