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Ireland's Chances Of Winning The Six Nations Have Increased After The First Day's Action

Ireland's Chances Of Winning The Six Nations Have Increased After The First Day's Action
By Conor O'Leary

Even when we shouldn't have been so excited, Ireland have never been as pessimistic about a Six Nations campaign as they are going into 2016's edition. Ireland aren't a bad team overnight, and while we all possibly got ahead of ourselves at World Cup time, Joe Schmidt will ensure that Ireland are serious contenders for the tournament this time around.

Ireland should be feeling confident. The first day's action merely confirmed that should Ireland beat Wales tomorrow, they will have a wonderful chance to make Six Nations history. Nothing that was on show today should frighten us, and there is every reason to think that Ireland are better than every team that played today.

Here's what we learned from today's action:

France Are Better Than I Gave Them Credit For

Guy Noves has France finally looking like they will do things in attack. The addition of Fijian born Virimi Vakatawa was very threatening - but it was the pace that France were looking to play that has the potential to frighten.

It could just be because they were playing Italy but...

But They Are Much More Vulnerable In Defense

There are still a lot of weaknesses to France. They don't have a goalkicker, struggled to beat Italy. But the big problem with France was how easily Italy were able to cut through them. Their defensive positioning, and tackling was all over the place - and if Schmidt allows the Irish backs to play, they should cut through the France time after time.

Italy Are Also Much Improved, But Can't Kick Points To Save Their Lives

Italy were not as bad as people thought they would be.


I mean, they still lost - but Michele Campagnaro regained his amazing form from 2014 as the Italians ran France close. They look like they will cause some teams some problems - but at the same time, an organised defense will be able to minimise their effect.

Ireland get Italy in the final two games, when they traditionally fade off and ship a lot of points - that will be a good thing.

Scotland Get In Their Own Way Too Much

Everyone and their aunt were tipping Scotland yet again. Vern Cotter had instilled a belief up north, and had them scoring tries for fun in the World Cup.


So what went wrong? Scotland had moments against England, and bossed the breakdown at times. But they were no match for England's power game, which strangled the game and made it as boring as the Southern Hemisphere say the Six Nations is.

England Are Very One-Dimensional, And Need More Time

There were some positives from England. Jack Nowell's try was good heads-up rugby featuring nice interplay between the backs. They were strong all over the park, and suffocated Scotland into submission.

But it was very one dimensional as the players try to get used to what Eddie Jones wants them to do. They are a team still learning what to do, and Ireland will get them at a good time. Based on this performance, Ireland have nothing to fear.


The only thing that remains is for Ireland to beat Wales tomorrow, which should provide their toughest challenge. Want some reasons to be cheerful? Wales usually start the competition badly before gaining momentum. Ireland are favourites because of their home advantage, and will be looking to exploit the third choice Welsh fullback in the air.

See Also: Ireland Captain Rory Best Revealed The 'Humiliation' Which Transformed Him As A Rugby Player

Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE

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