England have not beaten Ireland since eight months before they were crowned 2003 world champions - and it will take a colossal Croke Park effort for them to end that sequence on Saturday.
Ireland are on the scent of a fourth successive in the fixture, anxious to rekindle their RBS 6 Nations title hopes following a 20-17 home defeat against France a fortnight ago.
But England's unbeaten start - contrasting victories over Scotland and Italy - suggest their quiet revival under new head coach, and former Ireland boss, Brian Ashton is gathering pace.
Ireland, boosted by the return of skipper Brian O'Driscoll following his recovery from a hamstring injury, will start as favourites.
In O'Driscoll and his midfield partner Gordon D'Arcy, Ireland possess the strike-power to test a largely untried England centre combination of Mike Tindall and Andy Farrell.
But it is in the forward battle where England will look to take charge, establishing a stranglehold on possession and preventing their opponents from playing on the front foot.
England know they must at least match the established lineout effectiveness of Ireland's Paul O'Connell and Donncha O'Callaghan, while also concentrate on outstripping the the Irish breakaway unit of Simon Easterby, David Wallace and Denis Leamy.
Both teams have had injury doubts going into the game - Ireland scrum-half Peter Stringer and England wing Jason Robinson could miss out - but there is enough talent on show to provide a thrilling spectacle.
Ireland probably have enough in their ranks to shade it, but an England victory could give them lift-off in World Cup year.