Elliot Daly winning race to be fit for Ireland vs England Grand Slam decider by stepping up 'return-to-play' protocols

Wing suffered a head injury in the 61-21 victory over Scotland

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Elliot Daly is winning the race to start England’s Six Nations Grand Slam decider against Ireland this weekend after stepping up his training following his suspected concussion in the rout of Scotland.

Daly was forced off inside the second minute of the 61-21 rout of the Scots after being tip-tackled by hooker Fraser Brown, and despite passing a Head Injury Assessment (HIA) to return to the pitch, he was withdrawn shortly after as the wing continued to feel the side-effects of the illegal hit.

The Wasps utility back entered the return-to-play protocols at the start of the week, and England forwards coach Steve Borthwick confirmed on Wednesday that the 24-year-old is inching closer towards retaining his place in the starting line-up for Saturday’s trip to Dublin.

"Elliot is progressing really well through the 'return to play' protocols. He's gone through every stage really well so far," forwards coach Steve Borthwick said.

"He has a contact session (on Wednesday) afternoon and then it's team training (on Thursday)."

England can break the current winning streak world record this weekend if they see off the Irish, which would clinch a second consecutive Grand Slam and maintain Eddie Jones’s 100 per cent record as head coach. Having matched New Zealand’s mark of 18 wins in the thrashing of Scotland, England can set a new record with victory at the Aviva Stadium, with Borthwick admitting that they can now focus on the Grand Slam after sewing up the Six Nations title with a game to spare.

"This squad keeps looking ahead and the players thrive on the next challenge. This is our next challenge and the players are desperate to get better," Borthwick added.

"This is the next challenge and the next opportunity to show that we're improving.

"Ireland are a very good side and have a forward pack who have experience and are able to show what quality and pace they have. Their half-backs are good, so they're a good side."

England will become the first team in the Six Nations era to successfully defend the Grand Slam if they triumph in the championship’s final match, and just the sixth in the history of the tournament.

Their confidence generated by the 18-match winning streak appears to have convinced the Rugby Football Union that they can now rival the best in the world, after it emerged that the governing body are investigating the prospect of hosting the world champion All Blacks this autumn in a match that falls outside the recognised Test window, one year ahead of their next scheduled encounter.