sport

Ryan - England a huge test

Ireland lock Donnacha Ryan says his team will have to be at their best to cope with in-form England on Sunday.

It has been suggested the Six Nations clash in Dublin could go a long way to determining the tournament winner and Ryan is determined that his team forgets last year's 30-9 rout at Twickenham where their scrum was taken apart.

England travel to the Aviva Stadium boosted by their win over Scotland and no doubt still dining out on beating reigning world champions New Zealand 38-21 in their final autumn international outing.

"England have been very impressive so we'll have to be very motivated to be able to contend with them," Ryan said.

"If we produce a good performance then we know we'll be in a really good place in championship terms.

"Last year was a dream come true for me to play against England, but it was a nightmare result. There's a lot of history between us. I wish we could play hurling against England.

"The Croke Park game in 2007 was a phenomenal match. When I was growing up I didn't watch much rugby, I was always mucking around outside, but it's special to be involved in these games."

Ryan's second-row battle with England's Joe Launchbury is one that could prove pivotal but he is ready to counteract the Wasps man's all-action style.

"Joe is very physical and abrasive. He's keeping Courtney Lawes out of the team so is obviously doing some good things," Ryan said. "They have some big, powerful men in their front five - Geoff Parling has been doing well as well. They seem to have a good relationship.

"Owen Farrell is a very good player who is oozing in confidence. When we played against him with Munster against Saracens. He's got that x-factor.

"He can also mix it in the physical stakes, which is what you want from a 10. He's a big talisman for England. If England's pack generate a lot of go-forward ball, then I'm sure he'll cause us a lot of problems."