Joe Schmidt seems intent on replicating much of the preparation that went into last season's Grand Slam run and is taking his squad off to sunny climes ahead of the England showdown. 

The Ireland panel for the opening two games - against Eddie Jones' men on 2 February and Scotland the week after - will be named this afternoon and are expected to travel to the Algarve in the south of Portugal on Monday. 

Before last year's successful campaign the New Zealander brought the squad to Spain for a warm-weather training camp, a move that proved astute as Ireland won just their third Grand Slam. 

Likewise, England are due to train in Portugal ahead of the Aviva Stadium clash.