Johnny Sexton believes beating England should guarantee Ireland have greater representation on this summer's British and Irish Lions tour than their weekend opponents. 

Saturday's Guinness Six Nations clash in Dublin is effectively a dead rubber as a second-placed finish is the best either country can hope for at the end of underwhelming campaigns. 

Yet, with Lions boss Warren Gatland still finalising his plans for the forthcoming series against South Africa, there remains added incentive to perform. 

Fly-half Sexton toured with the Lions in 2013 and 2017 and expects the final championship standings to directly correlate with the number of players from each country included in Gatland's multinational squad. 


Ireland bidding to save Six Nations best for last


The 35-year-old, who was unwilling to discuss his own prospects, said: "It will be a big game in the decision-making process, we know that. 

"Like the Scotland game was, like the Welsh game was - those games against the home nations, the guys you are competing against. 

"Wales, if they go and win a Grand Slam, they will have the majority of guys on tour and whoever finishes second will get the next most, that's generally what it's been, historically that has been the case. 

"It's a big game but, like I said before the last game, if there was no Lions tour this year, all the motivation is the exact same; you are playing for your country, you are playing against England. 

"You are incredibly motivated to represent the jersey properly and to represent the people and everyone involved with it. 

"Nothing changes that much but, in the back of your mind, it's a big game in that regard (Lions places) as well." 

Grand Slam-chasing Wales are already assured of finishing ahead of Ireland, England and Scotland following wins over each of their rivals. 

Andy Farrell's resurgent Irish are seeking to record a third successive victory after defeating Italy and the Scots to bounce back from narrow losses against the Welsh and France. 

England travel to Dublin buoyed by a thrilling success over Les Bleus but ruing shock losses in their Calcutta Cup clash with Gregor Townsend's men and to Wayne Pivac's Wales, which prematurely extinguished hopes of a title defence. 

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Follow Ireland v England (kick-off 4.45pm, Saturday) via our live blog on RTE.ie and the RTÉ News app or listen live on RTÉ Radio 1's Saturday Sport. Highlights on Against the Head on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player, 8pm Monday.