With both England and Ireland claiming their expected second successes in the Six Nations' Championship at the weekend, the way seems clear for what may well prove to be the title decider in two weeks' time at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. The two nations currently lie first and second in the table and will both secretly harbour hopes of a Grand Slam to boot, should they come through their next epic encounter unscathed with their one hundred per cent records intact.

England still look to be something of a work in progress, although the opening exchanges have at least identified some much-needed consistency in the backs, to supplement the forward power that seems to have endured in recent times.

Head coach, Stuart Lancaster suggested that his side "lacked intensity" against the Italians at Twickenham, despite an apparently emphatic 47-17 score line in their favour. He was probably more concerned by the scores against his side, especially the three tries they conceded, than the manner in which they scored the six tries of their own.

There was encouragement for him yet again from the ball-carrying display of Billy Vunipola, besides his try in the first-half, and especially from Bath's Jonathan Joseph, who bagged himself another couple of tries to bolster his fledgling international credentials. Add to that the quick thinking of Ben Youngs to tap and saunter over for a try by the posts, Danny Cipriani's return to the fold with an instant score and Nick Easter filling in admirably to confirm his present form (and score a try of his own), and the garden looks to be rosy.

They did however also see full-back Mike Brown stretchered off early on and, with a nod to George North's predicament with the Welsh, one wonders if Brown will be risked against the Irish should he be available for selection.

Despite England's apparently strong position, built on the back of that famous come back in Cardiff a week earlier, the Irish should still be viewed as favourites in Dublin when the two sides meet.

The Irish are currently ranked one place behind the English in the world rankings in fourth, but are notoriously difficult to beat at home. They generally find a way of mastering the inclement conditions at this time of year, besides being experts in game strategy. They will also not want to give up the Six Nations Championship title after working so hard to win it last season.

They held the French mainly at bay on Saturday, despite a much improved effort from Les Bleus on their opening day display against the Scots, always seeming to have just enough to close out the match. The last ten minutes may have been frenetic as the French strove for that match-saving second try, but the Irish defence stood firm. The 18-11 victory may not have contained any tries for the home side, but with Johnny Sexton seemingly back as first-choice kicker, to nudge and cajole his side around the field, it will be interesting to see how the English cope. Ally that with the warrior within the mighty Paul O'Connell and the Irish may not miss the talismatic (but now retired) Brian O'Driscoll quite so much as at first glance.

With England rounding off their campaign with home fixtures against the Scots and the French, they will fancy their chances of gaining success in both matches. Ireland face two away encounters in Cardiff and Edinburgh after their clash with England, but should have the power to win both of those games one would expect, assuming that they conquer England first. So, for both, the Grand Slam would still seem within reach, they just have to get past each other in two weeks' time. It promises to be some match!