Last weekend was one of many emotions for me. I started writing this article on the train home from the Aviva on Saturday evening. We had beaten the Scots with comfortable ease and England had fallen to their second defeat in two games.

The sounds of  'Campeones’ rang out in the carriage as cans of various beverages were been drunk by the merry passengers (I was on the tea!).

All was well in the world as we the small nation at the side of Europe were top of the NatWest Six Nations pile and had moved to second in the world rankings. Now all we have to do to claim the country’s fourth grand slam (three men and one women) is to kill off the wounded lion in his own lair on St. Patrick’s Day.

More on that anon but first I want to turn my attention to the disappointment of Sunday’s game as Scotland beat our women’s team for the first time since 2006.

While Scotland were full value for their win there was, in essence, little between the teams. Was it not for the well-timed intercept and electric pace of Chloe Rollie, Ireland could well have come away with the win.

The Scotland side celebrate their victory in Donnybrook last weekend

It is often though on such small margins that victory and defeat are divided at international level. To be fair the Irish team did not perform as they did against Wales.

On Sunday, their impressive scrum was one of the few positives but they could not capitalise on this platform.

In the first half they struggled to get a foothold in the game as they gave away too many penalties at the breakdown and usually failed to put more than three or four phases together.

They will be extremely wounded by the loss and Friday evening's clash with an equally wounded England side will tell a lot about how much this new look squad has gelled in a short period of time. 

For those that did not watch the women’s Six Nations match between France and England last Saturday night you missed one of the best matches of 2018. In a packed (17,440) Stade des Alpes in Grenoble, France edged out England 18-17.

Both on and off the pitch, there is currently a huge chasm between the standards of the top two and the chasing pack.

On Friday evening, we will have a better idea as to the width of that chasm.

And so onto Saturday and the prospect of that rarest of rewards - a Six Nations Grand Slam!

Could I suggest that the new broom with which Eddie Jones once swept clean all before him has now gathered dust and dirt and is no longer either efficient or effective?

The loss to Scotland in Murrayfield and the subsequent defeat to France in Paris leaves them facing the prospect of a third defeat in a row and a first defeat in Twickenham under Jones. This would be an unpalatable outcome for such a proud rugby nation.

There will be pages and pages of analysis written on the details of their demise, however I am going to look at it on a couple of basic areas where I feel we will have superiority and the winning of the match.

Leaders and The Pack

Dylan Hartley and Eddie Jones at a glum press conference following England's loss to France

England do not have natural leaders. Dylan Hartley’s leadership style is akin to a dictator and an erratic one at that.

Chris Robshaw, while initially improving once the captaincy was taken from him, is now seen as lacking the necessary extras that would mark him apart as a top class international backrow.

The fact that he is joined in the starting back row by James Haskell is a strong indicator of the type of game England will play. Haskell would not win any prizes for the most intelligent of open sides but he is a an aggressive tackler and good ball carrier.

They lack the X-factor in the pack and are greatly hampered by the long-term injury to Billy Vunipola. He had the X-factor and the dynamic ball-carrying ability needed as the basis for the power game favoured by Jones.

If you compare front rows there isn’t a neutral out there that would swap one of our players for one of theirs.

Penalty Count

If England continue to give away penalties - they've conceded a total of 47 in the first four rounds - then they will be severely punished by Sexton.

This must certainly have been on their minds this week when they got Marius van der Westhuizen in to observe their training sessions.

The Perfect 10

Owen Farrell has replaced George Ford at out-half for Saturday's clash

We have the perfect 10, even on a marginal day, in Johnny Sexton. England also have almost a perfect 10 in Owen Farrell. Until now Eddie Jones has persisted in playing him at 12 outside the fluid passing Ford.

The fact that he has now been slotted back into his preferred position is another indicator of how England will play. The set up of this English team isn’t subtle and one would assume they are going to play for territory and then use power plays and power runners. The back three of Daly, May and Watson are all capable of scoring multiple tries given the time and space.

Different Threat

England will pose a different threat to Ireland than we have seen to date. They will feel they have the power to take us on in an arm wrestle and, with a player like Farrell at 10, they'll believe they have a play-maker capable of moving Ireland around.

Ireland will be ready; the precise, systematic approach of Joe Schmidt will form the foundation for victory and history. That’s not to say that there won’t be emotion in the dressing room, nor that the Irish won’t "tear into" the English with manic aggression.

Rory Best and Rob Kearney know what it takes and, more importantly, what it feels like to win a Grand Slam and will be able to add a lot of insider knowledge if needed.

The thing with most of the new guys - James Ryan, Jacob Stockdale, Bundee Aki, Garry Ringrose - is that they only really know about winning in an Ireland jersey.

Since we beat England this time last year, Ireland have not lost a test match and I really don’t see any reason for that to change on Saturday.

Follow England v Ireland on Saturday (KO 2.45pm) via the live blog on RTÉ.ie/Sport and the News Now App, or listen live on RTÉ Radio 1, with commentary from Michael Corcoran and Donal Lenihan.