Robbie Henshaw believes Ireland can take confidence into the “cauldron-like atmosphere” of Twickenham having been crowned Grand Slam champions there two years ago.
Andy Farrell’s side face a mouth-watering trip to England on Sunday after opening their Guinness Six Nations campaign with successive home victories over Scotland and Wales.
Centre Henshaw was part of Joe Schmidt’s Irish squad which completed a tournament clean sweep in 2018 with an impressive 24-15 victory in south-west London.
The 26-year-old admits facing Eddie Jones’ World Cup finalists in their own backyard is a daunting prospect but feels his team can garner belief from their recent memorable success.
“It’s been a good start for us but we’re well aware of the challenge going to Twickenham, we’ve all played there before and we can expect it to be a hostile environment and a really tough place to go,” Henshaw told a press conference.
“But we have that bit of confidence from two years ago that we went there, backs to the wall, and we had the Grand Slam on the line. We’ve pulled up big performances there before.
“It’s a cauldron-like atmosphere when you’re playing there. You’re against a tough opposition and a tough crowd, we’re under no illusions.
“It’s a very tough place to play but I suppose that creates more excitement for us to go there.”
Henshaw should retain his place in Ireland’s starting XV after a failed HIA forced him off early during the 24-14 bonus-point success over Wales on February 8.
Victory over Wayne Pivac’s men in Dublin, which came a week after a nervy 19-12 win over unfancied Scotland, has left the Irish level on nine points with France at the top of the standings going into round three.
Under the guidance of new head coach Farrell, they can clinch Triple Crown glory this weekend, something Leinster player Henshaw was quick to play down.
“The focus is on ourselves – that (the Triple Crown) is kind of in the background – and how we can get things right in the early part of the week and build towards the end of the week to put in that clinical performance,” said Henshaw.
“That’s not at the forefront at the moment, it’s more getting our bits of detail right in training and making sure we’re getting our work done.”
While Ireland have fond memories of travelling to Twickenham in 2018, they were twice humbled by England last year.
A resounding 32-20 Six Nations loss on home soil last February swiftly ended Irish aspirations of successive Grand Slam wins, before a 57-15 thrashing in August at Twickenham dented World Cup preparations.
Bundee Aki, who is expected to continue his centre partnership with Henshaw on Sunday, admits a top-level performance is required as Ireland attempt to avoid another “spanking” and record a third straight win.
“We have to make sure we bring our A game,” said New Zealand-born Aki.
“They are world-class players, we just have to make sure we worry about ourselves and go from there.
“They’ve got massive threats around all the park. The last few games we’ve had with them, we’ve had a bit of a spanking from them.
“Obviously, they are a world-class team, World Cup runners-up.
“If you’re off your game, they’re going to punish you, so we’ve just got to make sure we’re on our game and make sure that we start well and play to the best we can.”
Ireland number eight Caelan Doris is in contention to return after missing the Wales clash due to a concussion suffered on his international debut versus Scotland.
Centre Garry Ringrose remains unavailable due to a hand injury sustained against the Scots.