Exclusive interview Gordon D'Arcy part 2: 'When you lose to England it is a reminder of why you want to win and never forget that'

Exclusive interview Gordon D'Arcy part 2: 'When you lose to England it is a reminder of why you want to win and never forget that'

IRELAND AND ENGLAND take each other on in the Six Nations this weekend, and for every Irish sporting fan, it is the one that matters more than any other game.  

Every game against England is unique because of the added political, social, and historical aspects between the two countries. Still, this year, an extra ingredient has been added to the fierce rivalry. 

Andy Farrell's side welcomes an England side low on confidence to the Aviva Stadium for the Grand Slam decider on Saturday. Ireland has never won a Grand Slam at home. 

Ireland's previous 3 Slam wins include the 1948 win in Belfast, the 2009 win in Cardiff, and the 2019 win in Twickenham. 

England comes into the game having lost 10-53 to France at home in week 5 of the Six Nations, a record home defeat for the 2003 World Cup winners.  

On the other hand, Ireland has passed every test they have faced so far and has developed the knack of overcoming adversity at every corner. 

The Irish team has the chance to create history this St. Patrick's weekend by beating Steve Borthwick's England team in Dublin and will be confident of doing so. 

One man who played for Ireland against England on more than one occasion is former Ireland and Leinster inside center Gordon D'Arcy.

D'Arcy played 82 times for his country and was also part of two British & Irish Lions teams in 2005 and 2008. 

The former Leinster man sat down with the Irish Post and Ice36 to discuss the England and Ireland rivalry, what it is like to play as a player against England, Mack Hansen's 'hatred' comments, and also gave his thoughts on what will be Johnny Sexton's last game for Ireland at the Aviva.

Gordon D'Arcy on what Ireland v England means to Ireland rugby fans.

D'Arcy's first game against England was the 13-19 win in Twickenham. England had won the Rugby World Cup the previous year. 

"The first time I played against England was in 2004 when we beat the world champions in Twickenham, said D'Arcy.

"The thing is, even if you beat them, you never felt you were respected as a peer, and that was always stuck in there.

"We have had some good results against them, but that game in 2004 was one that changed the narrative in Ireland.

"Teams now don't fear England as they used to in the early days.

"Our success at the club level has fed into the national team. That is one side of the coin.

"The other side of the coin is that so much history is ingrained between the two countries that it becomes the game within the game.

"You almost have that little brother feeling in there, and you always don't want to lose to England, and that has always been there.

"When you lose at Twickenham it is a reminder of why you want to win and never forget that."

Gordon D'Arcy on Mack Hansen's 'hatred' comments

This week Connacht and Ireland winger Mack Hansen said, "I think everybody hates England in general. It’s something I was aware of, for sure."

D'Arcy believes the Australian was just being 'honest' in regard to the topic.

"I think he was honest. A lot of emotion goes into this game from two different teams, and the English team is not coming over here and thinking, 'Ireland are a bunch of nice guys.'

"So, what is good for the goose is good for the gander

"They have a massive target on our back, and Owen Farrell will be pumping them up saying, 'we need to win, do whatever you can to win.'

"So I think that will be spoken about in the Irish camp, and there will be lads saying, 'lads, we don't like these lads.'

'There is no love lost between Ireland and England international teams and Irish and English clubs, and it's the same when Irish provinces plays Premiership teams. "

Gordon D'Arcy on Johnny Sexton's last Six Nations game at the Aviva.

Johnny Sexton will play his last Six Nations game at the Aviva this Saturday. D'Arcy his former teammate doesn't believe that he will focus on his own feats when England come to town

"Some players talk about things, and you question whether they believe what they say, but he's not like that," he added.

"When he (Sexton) says he is not focused on breaking the Six Nations points total (557) or the playing his last game, you genuinely do believe it because the thing is it is not the end for Johnny Sexton, it is another milestone.

"It's not a personal accolade that he will focus on because he is looking around the room, saying, 'I want to perform for this team.'

"What is really important is they want to perform for him, and that type of respect is hard-earned in life and especially rugby.

"When he is talking to players and saying things, they believe him when he says it.

"The main thing is when teams are playing like this, all they want to do is focus on performance, and that is Johnny Sexton 101

Gordon D'Arcy on where England and Ireland will be won and lost this weekend

England head to Dublin after losing 53-10 to France at home, which is a record home defeat for them.

D'Arcy admits that England will have to go 'back to basics' when they play Andy Farrell's side in the Grand Slam finale.

'So, England will revert to type. You can expect Farrell and Manu Tuilagi to be brought back in, and they will be looking for gain-line success.

"England will go back to basics. They will focus on defence and try to stifle Ireland from the setpiece.

"In attack, they will look to squeeze Ireland and play in Ireland's 22.

"Essentially, what England wants to do is win 3-0. This isn't anything other than getting a result for them

"They have the tools to do, and you expect Owen Farrell to be in and driving that.

"For Ireland, it will be a case of no team has been able to live with them or stop them in possession for 80 minutes. So when they get the ball, it's a matter of how long England can stay with them.

"I said the same thing about Scotland. I asked how long Scotland could stay in the hunt when Ireland kept going and going, and eventually, they just fell away, and that's Ireland's gameplan.

They have incredible athletes all around them and lots of threats. They have Jamison Gibson-Park back, Robbie Henshaw back, Caelan Doris back, Dan Sheehan should be fit, and Josh van der Flier should be too.

London , United Kingdom - 12 March 2022; Charlie Ewels of England tackles James Ryan of Ireland,(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

The former Leinster star also believes that Ireland will look to 'exploit' England's fragile headspace this weekend, but if England get an early foothold in the game, it could change the dynamic completely

"Ireland will just look to do what they have been doing when they have possession," he explained

"When they get 60% of the ball, 0-3 second rucks, and they get their territory, they are very hard to stop.

"So that's what they focus on

"It is a clash of philosophies, and whoever executes it better.

"You can look at the form and say form goes out the window and does play a part.

"The challenge for Ireland will be to exploit the England headspace on Saturday.

"If England comes in and gets 4 or 5 penalties and 15 points, it changes the dynamic, and Andy Farrell might be welcoming that.

"There is always two elements to a game and the owness is on Ireland to exploit and ram any advantage they might have and it looks like they are capabale of it."

Ireland's game against England starts at 5 pm this Saturday.

You can see the game live on Virgin Media