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All Blacks Legends Very Positive About Ireland After Six Nations

All Blacks Legends Very Positive About Ireland After Six Nations
By PJ Browne Updated

All Blacks greats Mils Muliaina, Jeff Wilson and John Kirwan were all impressed by Ireland's performances in the Six Nations. Though, they also hold reservations about Ireland's overreliance on Johnny Sexton.

"I think they’ll be fairly confident about where they’re heading," Muliaina, a World Cup winner in 2011, said on Sky Sports NZ's The Breakdown.

"I guess the one, and it’s not so much of a negative, but their driver (Johnny Sexton) has been around for a wee while. Who is coming through that’s going to take over from Johnny Sexton? That would be the only concern that I would have.

"If he falls over, the next guy that steps in, there’s a massive gap between them. But they’ve evolved. They’re prepared to slow things down, they're very good at slowing the ball down and keeping the guys up.

"But also in terms of the attack game, they’ve evolved in terms of spreading it and keeping the ball alive. So clearly second place, but they’ve still got more to offer in terms of their depth."

Wilson, who won 60 caps for the All Blacks, was impressed by the New Zealand-born Jamison Gibson-Park.

"I would look at what they’ve created with Jamison Gibson-Park at half-back," he said.

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"They’ve moved on from Conor Murray and they’ve seen a different style of player in Gibson-Park, like Dupont’s doing for France.

"They’re the threat, they’re the key players for me, they’re the ones that are testing the defence. Yes, there’s no doubt there’s the leadership and what Jonathan Sexton brings, but they’ve got such confidence in what they’re doing with their front foot ball.

"I just really like what they’ve got. They didn’t quite get it done in the Six Nations, but all the signs are so positive."

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Kirwan loves some aspects of Ireland's attack under Andy Farrell.

"My biggest concern is Sexton," said Kirwan, a World Cup winner in 1987.

"I think he's one of the world's best stand-offs. He's a great organiser. His out of hand kicking is next level from a tactical point of view. There's a big risk for anybody who's selecting to World Cup. Players tend to hang on for World Cups. That's going to be interesting, if he can stay healthy and fit enough because a year is a long time.

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"We shouldn't underestimate the influence Farrell has had. He was assistant to Joe (Schmidt). He's made some changes, has a new coaching staff in the backroom, and I love some of the things they're doing in attack.

"In order of risk for the World Cup, I'm going France, Ireland, England, with a big question mark, and then the other two on their day. France and Ireland are there or thereabouts. "

All Blacks greats on Ireland

Forward to the 14:46 mark below to hear Mils Muliaina, Jeff Wilson and John Kirwan speaking about Ireland's Six Nations campaign.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKH6hcRc2nE

Quiz: How Well Do You Remember The 2022 Six Nations?

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