Grand Slam 2018 !!
2018 Six Nations winners, not many outside the Irish camp would have felt that they could win the competition this season. Heading to Paris in week 1 where the winning record is poor, Ireland would have said they had a chance maybe only a small chance but a shot none the less.
Teddy Thomas scored a try after 71 minutes and this score looked like it was going to derail the whole Championship at the first go but Jonathan Sexton and the rest of the Irish side didn’t read the script and after 40 exhausting phases of play they managed to serve up the one golden chance that Sexton then had to hold his nerve to slot and he did just that and cue absolute bedlam for a few minutes but like this campaign has taught everyone Joe Schmidt has this crop of players on a different planet in terms of preparation and that is a huge advantage heading to Twickenham on Saturday at 2.45.
Everyone is seeing that England have a score to settle with Ireland after they denied them the elusive Grand Slam , they still won the Six Nations but the victory was tainted by the fact Ireland won on that afternoon.
Looking to this weekend, Ireland will know it will take a special effort to secure only the third ever Grand Slam after a win in 1949, 2009 and maybe just maybe 2018 will be added to that small but select band of victorious Grand Slam winning teams.
Some people scoff at the fact that many rugby supporters get caught up with the fact that this elusive “ Grand Slam “ is being talked up but anyone who has played at elite level in rugby will know how hard it is for any Irish team to win that Grand Slam.
Getting back to Joe Schmidt, I have said it a few times in this campaign, he is the most forensic coach in Rugby at the moment. He is the most successful coach as well, leaving aside the gut wrenching 2015 World Cup Quarter Final defeat to Argentina, he promised that he would develop the depth of talent and since that faithful day he has done that , not too long ago , Ireland would be lucky to win 1 game in 5 games and routinely would be handed the “ Wooden Spoon “.
I have also seen from certain quarters that a certain generation of Irish supporters don’t know what it is like be starved of success, That is a load of rubbish… The IRFU have to be congratulated for the work they have done in the last few years and although that work has to continue they can reflect on a job well done and hopefully they will along with the all supporters be celebrating a third Grand Slam.
Cian Mc Gibney