Ireland have their best squad for several years so it’s not surprising that many people are backing them to win the competition which they last won in 2018.
If you put your money on the Irish to win the Grand Slam or the Championship, it seems the right thing to do considering the all-round strength of the squad, the ferocious set of forwards and a back line guided by the class and experience of skipper and fly half Jonny Sexton, capped 101 times, and scrum half Conor Murray who’s played in 92 internationals.
Ireland’s recent Test record..two wins against Japan plus victories against the USA, Argentina and, famously, New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium at Dublin in November by 29-20, has given credibility to the opinion that the Irish are the best side in Europe and ought to launch their campaign with a decent win against Wales on Saturday in Dublin where the Welsh last won in 2012.
Coach Andy Farrell Well Positioned to Inspire Success
In his two Six Nations campaigns before this, Farrell has finished third each time, so with the players he’s selected he can be optimistic of a significant improvement bearing in mind the power of his forwards, players like Tadhg Furlong, James Ryan, Tadhg Beirne, Jack Conan, Peter O’ Mahony and Caelan Doris to name a few only, are performers of the highest class.
Considering that the Wales pack is missing so many experienced players, such as Alun Wyn Jones, Ken Owens, Justin Tupuric and Dan Lydiate, Farrell’s side should begin with a bonus point win.
Then, a week later, Ireland confront France in Paris where, arguably the outstanding teams in the Championship, clash in a Test which may well decide the outcome of the Six Nations.
Since Farrell’s first game as Ireland’s head coach against Scotland in February 2020, he’s made solid progress, but, as has been pointed out, you don’t win a trophy by beating the All Blacks, so taking into account the talent produced by Leinster, Munster, Connacht and Ulster, he probably won’t have a better opportunity to win the Six Nations than now.
The Importance of Jonny Sexton
He may be 36 but it would be daft to think Sexton’s too old or past it to be still playing international rugby and, indeed, captaining his country.
Vastly experienced..101 caps, Sexton’s international record of 946 points( 15 tries, 195 penalties, 137 conversions and four drop goals) shows clearly that he’s a match winner and a leader of men that Farrell trusts to make the right decisions.
So don’t be surprised if at the end of Ireland’s final match of the tournament in Dublin against Scotland, Sexton raises, arms aloft, the Six Nations trophy.
Ireland Six Nations Games
- Saturday Feb 5th: v Wales, Aviva Stadium, Dublin
- Saturday February 12th: v France, Paris
- Sunday February 27th: v Italy, Dublin
- Saturday March 12th: v England, Twickenham
- Saturday March 19th: v Scotland, Aviva Stadium, Dublin
- Get 11/4 on Ireland to win Six Nations