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Youngs and Cole aim for Six Nations history

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Dan Cole and Ben Youngs start for England as they seek to make history against Ireland in Dublin's Aviva Stadium on Saturday with a first back-to-back Grand Slam of the Six Nations era.

Back-to-back Grand Slams have been recorded on five previous occasions, all during the Five Nations era, and none since the addition of Italy to the championship in 2000.
The last time it was recorded was by France in 1997/98. England have achieved the feat three times, in 1991/92, in 1923/24 and in 1913/14. Wales are the only other country, in 1908/09, to record back-to-back Grand Slams.
Cole will win his 74th cap taking him clear of Phil Vickery as England’s second most-capped prop, behind Jason Leonard. Youngs will make his 70th appearance.
There are two changes to the starting XV that beat Scotland in last weekend’s Calcutta Cup. Billy Vunipola (Saracens) starts at No8 having come off the bench against Scotland and in the back line Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby) is named on the right wing.

Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs) and Nathan Hughes (Wasps) are the only changes to the bench.

England head coach Eddie Jones said: “It’s going to be quite an occasion in Dublin so we understand we have to be prepared emotionally, physically and mentally.

“The mood in camp has been positive. We’re very excited ahead of what is a huge opportunity for the players. You sense the intensity has stepped up; it has in training, definitely.

“The message to the players has been quite simple, we’re playing Ireland on Saturday and that is the only thing that counts. We are focusing on preparing well, the only thing we can control is our preparation.

“Ireland not having anything to play for means they have the courage to fail which frees them up mentally, we are a little bit vulnerable because we have already been crowned the RBS 6 Nations champions and we had a big win against Scotland, so for us it’s getting the right mind-set for the game.”

England match-day 23 for the RBS 6 Nations game against Ireland
15 Mike Brown (vice captain, Harlequins, 59 caps)
14 Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 25 caps)
13 Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 32 caps)
12 Owen Farrell (vice captain, Saracens, 51 caps)
11 Elliot Daly (Wasps, 12 caps)  
10 George Ford (Bath Rugby, 34 caps)
9 Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 69 caps)
1 Joe Marler (Harlequins, 50 caps)
2 Dylan Hartley (captain, Northampton Saints, 83 caps)
3 Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 73 caps)
4 Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 41 caps)  
5 Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 57 caps)
6 Maro Itoje (Saracens, 11 caps)
7 James Haskell (Wasps, 74 caps) 
8 Billy Vunipola (vice captain, Saracens 33 caps)

16 Jamie George (Saracens, 16 caps)
17 Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 41 caps)
18 Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 7 caps)
19 Tom Wood (Northampton Saints, 49 caps)
20 Nathan Hughes (Wasps, 7 caps)
21 Danny Care (Harlequins, 70 caps)
22 Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors, 7 caps)
23 Jack Nowell  (Exeter Chiefs, 22 caps)

15 Jared Payne
14 Keith Earls
13 Garry Ringrose
12 Robbie Henshaw
11 Simon Zebo
10 Johnny Sexton
9 Kieran Marmion
1 Jack McGrath
2 Rory Best
3 Tadhg Furlong
4 Donnacha Ryan
5 Iain Henderson
6 CJ Stander
7 Sean O'Brien
8 Jamie Heaslip

16 Niall Scannell
17 Cian Healy
18 John Ryan
19 Devin Toner
20 Peter O'Mahony
21 Luke McGrath
22 Paddy Jackson
23 Andrew Conway