Christian Wade has urged England to “get stuck into” Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton if they are to have any chance of winning their Six Nations opener in Dublin on Saturday.
Ireland have won 12 consecutive home matches and are favourites to extend that run when they start the defence of their title at the Aviva Stadium.
Joe Schmidt’s side have taken on all comers, beating world champions New Zealand in November following a Grand Slam and a long-awaited series win in Australia last year.
Wade, who won one England cap before moving away from rugby last October to join the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program, says Eddie Jones’ men must target World Rugby Player of the Year Sexton and boss the breakdown if they are to come out on top.
The former Wasps wing told Omnisport: “The Irish were killing it last year and they have been doing well since.
“I think, from knowing the Irish, they [England] are going to have to control the breakdown, not let them get stuck into them.
“They have to move them around and I think their kicking game is going to have to be on point, because Sexton has got a hell of a boot on him and he knows how to find his players.
“If you get stuck into Sexton, control the breakdown, play fast and turn their defence around I think that will be the key.”
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