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Last Updated:  Friday, 28 March, 2003, 13:30 GMT
Six Nations set for Dublin showdown
LIVE BBC COVERAGE
France v Wales
Sat 29 March KO 1300 GMT
Scotland v Italy
Sat 29 March 1500 GMT
Ireland v England
Sun 30 March KO 1400 BST
All games live on BBC One and this website
When the whistle blows at the start of Sunday's Grand Slam decider between Ireland and England, it will kick-off one of the most anticipated matches in Six Nations history.

Ireland are bidding to end the championship undefeated for the first time since 1948, while England are hoping to finally reverse seven years of underachievement.

Despite taking over as coach in 1997, Clive Woodward's only taste of Grand Slam success with England remains as a player in 1980.

On three occasions (1999, 2000, 2001) his side have failed to wrap up the title with only one match remaining and last year they were well beaten by France in Paris.

Sunday's epic encounter is only the sixth time in championship history that the Grand Slam decider has fallen on the final weekend.

On all previous occasions (1978, 1984, 1990, 1991, 1995) the home side has finished on top, but Ireland fans are well aware that England's crop of 2003 are capable of creating their own statistics.

Woodward has opted for consistency in his selection of the same 15 players who cantered to a 40-9 win over Scotland last weekend.

Ireland, who almost fell foul of an impressive Welsh performance in Cardiff, have been bolstered by the return of flanker Victor Costello and lock Gary Longwell.

Coach Eddie O'Sullivan has resisted the temptation to recall fly-half Ronan O'Gara, whose injury-time drop goal last week kept Ireland's Grand Slam hopes on track.

Ulster favourite David Humphreys instead retains the number 10 jersey for a game that could be decided by the boot.

David Humphreys
David Humphreys (above) gets the nod over Ronan O'Gara
If that is the case, England fans will hope they can relax, happy in the knowledge that Jonny Wilkinson rarely misses an attempt to extend his Six Nations tally.

But Humphreys, too, is in superb form and currently tops Wilkinson in this season's Six Nations points table 67-62.

Sunday's match may be the highlight, but it is by no means the only action occurring this weekend.

On Saturday, Wales hope to claim their first victory of the campaign when they face France in Paris.

Coach Steve Hansen has picked the most creative players at his disposal with Dwayne Peel replacing Gareth Cooper at scrum-half and Iestyn Harris starting at inside centre at the expense of Tom Shanklin.

It is a high risk strategy, but France have struggled for consistency this term, despite their 53-27 win in Rome.

France coach Bernard Laporte has named an unchanged side for the clash and Scotland, who entertain Italy later in the day, have followed suit.

Coach Ian McGeechan will bow out of the Six Nations after the game, ending a career that started in 1972.

The Scottish legend retires at the end of the season and his players will want to secure an impressive victory on his behalf.

But for that to be achieved they will have to overcome a battling Italy side who can no longer be relied upon to wilt under the pressure of the big occassion.

The Azzurri again start without star fly-half Diego Dominguez, who has failed to recover from illness, while L'Aquila three-quarter Andrea Masi has been handed a midfield berth alongside Giovanni Raineri.




WATCH AND LISTEN
Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll
"We have nothing to lose"


England coach Clive Woodward:
"This is a very experienced team"


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