Ireland Rugby Weekend
So the penultimate weekend is upon us in all three Six Nations competitions that Ireland are involved in with the Irish 20s starting out the weekend on Friday evening at 7.15pm in Donnybrook live on RTE.
The 20s won’t be in with a shout of winning the Championship this year but they will want to finish the Championship on a strong footing heading into the World Championship in France in the summer. The campaign probably hasn’t worked out the way Noel Mc Namara and his coaching team would have hoped but they can still see this year as a success if they pick up two wins in the final two games against Scotland and England.
Looking to the Women this Sunday at 1pm in Donnybrook where they will hope to continue recent good form by beating Scotland to set up a clash with England in Coventry. After the World Cup, Adam Griggs came on board on a short term basis to steady the ship and has done a good job although the defeat to France on the first weekend caused a few issues that seemed to have been ironed out over the two games so far at home.
France and England are a long way ahead of the rest of the pack and many people have said if Ireland can win the game on Sunday to complete three wins at home on the bounce and that will be seen a good achievement given all that went before. Looking at the likes of Niamh Briggs and Ciara Griffin in particular who has this season taken on the captaincy and shown great leadership along with Paula Fitzpatrick and Claire Molloy have again been the go to unit for this side this year.
Adam Griggs will want his charges to make the most of the recent good form and beat Scotland who have for their part have had a decent Championship. They will want to beat Ireland after a close encounter last season where Ireland scored late on to deny Scotland a famous win.
A small side note after the game on Sunday afternoon over 100 of Ireland’s past players who played between 1993 and 2006 will receive an official Irish Cap from the IRFU in recognition of playing for the national side in those years and they will be presented by IRFU President Phil Orr. Huge congratulations to all 100 players who will receive their cap at the official after match function.
Ireland will take on Scotland at 2.15pm in the Aviva Stadium in a game that has now taken on extra significance after Scotland’s huge victory over England and both sides will now feel that they have a real shot at Championship glory with either side gaining victory in the game this weekend. Scotland have only beaten Ireland once in Ireland in Croke Park back in 2010.
They won last season’s game in Murrayfield and will take huge confidence from that game and one feels that the Scotland team is in a far better place this time round than it was 12 months ago with players like Huw Jones and Finn Russell in flying form heading into this fixture.
All I can really say is enjoy the games this weekend and here’s hoping all three teams can achieve what they set out to do and set up a big St Patricks weekend for all involved.
Cian Mc Gibney