All Ireland can do tomorrow is go out and beat Wales. That would leave them sitting on top of the Guinness Six Nations and then ‘all’ we would need is for Scotland to beat England at Twickenham and the Championship will remain in Irish hands for another year.
Getting the first part of that will be tough enough but the second part will be harder still. It’s not impossible. Scotland did win the Calcutta Cup that is played between the two countries as part of the Championship last year. The last time they did so in Twickenham though is a little further back, to 1983 to be precise and that 36 year gap is an indication of the challenge.
It won’t be easier either with news last week that a leading Irish company will be aiding English Rugby’s development over the next three years, with Glanbia brand Optimum Nutrition signing a four-year deal to become the official performance nutrition and official nutrition education partner to England Rugby.
Under the agreement, Optimum Nutrition will provide products from its Informed-Sport tested range to the England senior men’s and women’s XVs and sevens squads.
They will also be evident around the ground at Twickenham on Saturday.
At the heart of the partnership will be a co-created education project – the “good nutrition for performance” programme, aimed at community adult and age-group rugby players, coaches and parents, and brought to life via a content series published on a digital hub.
Resources will include nutrition plans and advice, game preparation and recovery tips, recipe ideas and toolkits for coaches, as well as information on the role of supplements.
There will be a range of products specifically for community rugby players, the first of which will be a rugby-focused variant of whey protein to aid muscle recovery.
“Good nutrition has a real impact on performance and recovery whether you’re playing at an elite level or just for exercise and enjoyment,” said Dr Crionna Tobin, Head of Science & Education for Optimum Nutrition.
“We are delighted to partner with England Rugby on this innovative education programme that aims to share simple nutrition messages for those playing sport and exercise.”
“We will focus on a food first approach and explain where protein supplementation can complement good nutrition to support performance and recovery.”
England will join Leinster, Munster and Saracens as part of the Optimum Nutrition Rugby team.