Realists and pragmatists, take your finger off the trigger. We're with you on this. Ireland won't be winning the Six Nations this year. There'll be no three in a row. But, given that Joe Schmidt has been speaking about it, we thought it only right to lay out the scenario.
Virtually all rationality would point towards the converse, but who likes to get bogged down with all of the petty details of reality? Joe Schmidt stated afterward that Ireland still had a mathematical chance of making it three Six Nations titles in a row, although he did qualify this by prefacing mathematical with the words "very", "very" and "outside".
His alternative visions was typical of the king of the pragmatists.
To be honest, we are a week-to-week team. The titles that we have won in the last two years have never been discussion points. The next game has been the discussion point.
But with the Irish mood as dismal as it is, let's ignore the hoary banalities of reality, and sketch out the unlikely scenario.
How can Ireland win the Six Nations?
Round 3: Ireland beat England by 5; Wales overcome France by 7; If nobody watches Italy/Scotland, did it actually happen?
Ireland simply must beat England in Twickenham. England are flying high at the top of the table thus far but have had the benefit of playing the two worst teams in the tournament. As a result of an injury crisis, Joe Schmidt has answered Stephen Ferris' Ulster question, with Stuart McClosky replacing the injured Jared Payne at centre and Paddy Jackson - replacing a stricken Johnny Sexton with ten minutes to go - slots two penalties to give Schmidt his first Twickenham win with Ireland. Ireland's task is made easier following Dylan Hartley's yellow card in the opening ten minutes.
Following the opening draw against Ireland and the second half pull away from Scotland, the Welsh momentum continues with a seven-point win at home to France, whilst Scotland beat Italy by a margin that we are not willing to predict as it will prove to be entirely irrelevant.
Round 4: Ireland hammer Italy; England halt Welsh momentum; Scotland shock France
This is more like it. Ireland run in six tries in a shellacking of poor Italy, winning by 33 points. It is an excellent weekend for the Irish, as the results of the games leave the champions well-placed going into the final round of games.
The Welsh momentum is halted by a six-point defeat at Twickenham, following a last minute try by new Gary Mackay Hall of Famer, Owen Farrell. It is a victory made even more impressive given that England played the final ten minutes with fourteen men, following Dylan Hartley's yellow card.
Elsewhere, France are taken out of the running with a shock defeat at Murrayfield. With the French missing the injured Eddie Ben Arous, their scrum fails to dominate the Scots. Without a set piece platform, the French bosh merchants have scant bosh with which to merchant, as Scotland offer a display of potent running rugby to beat the French at the game they once mastered. Ben Arous is replaced by Camille Chat, who endures a torrid afternoon. The Leicester Mercury cover the game by leading with Chat's scrum struggles under the headline Chat: Shit, Poor Bind.
Round 5: Wales trounce Italy; Ireland edge Scotland; France beat England
With the tournament likely to be decided on points difference, it's an incredibly exciting day with five sides in with a chance of winning the title (even Scotland), with England's destiny in their own hands.
Wales would win the title if they beat Scotland, England lost to France and make up a thirty-one points difference on Ireland.
Warren Gatland's side are first out the gate and hold up their part, dutifully massacring Italy by forty-five points.
With Scotland now out of the running, Ireland need to beat the Scots, making up a fourteen points differential in the process. Ireland do it, with Mike Ross crossing the whitewash in the final minute to secure a sixteen-point victory.
For the second year in a row, England and France complete the tournament. England need only win in Paris to top the table on eight points, but staggeringly they collapse. Following Dylan Hartley's red card in the thirteenth minute, England's scrum implodes against a French set-piece spearheaded by the returning Eddie Ben Arous, as France end the tournament with a morale-boosting win.
Ireland, therefore, are champions. They top the table on seven points, with a points differential of plus fifty-two. Warren Gatland's facial expression reaches new levels of glumness as Wales finish second, level on points with Ireland but with a points differential of plus fifty. France end up third on six points, ahead of England on points difference. Scotland finish fifth, on four points, whilst the wooden spoon is once again handed to the Italians.
There you have it. That's how we imagine Ireland winning the tournament. You may call us dreamers, but we are willing to bet we are not the only ones.