Sexton savours Irish Six Nations title win


It's still another 18 months before next year's World Cup but winning a Grand Slam will provide a springboard as Ireland harbour a goal of challenging the All Blacks in Japan next September.

In the lead up to the match on Saturday, there was a lot of nay-sayers saying nay, that Scotland definitely had a chance to come out on top.

Ireland next face England at Twickenham on Saturday, March 17 (local time), where a St Patrick's Day victory would add this group of players to the Grand Slam-winners of 1948 and 2009. He said: "I'd be lying if I said otherwise". "I thought we had improved but not as much as we needed to", the Australian told a news conference. But after missing France's first two Six Nations matches this year - both lost - due to a ban for uttering a homophobic slur in a club game, his return has given the team a huge boost.

Writing on the Sport 360 website, Niall McCague said: "What makes Schmidt great is his high standards and attention to detail - a reductive phrase - but one that elevates his players to such a meteoric level".

The wary Kiwi fired a cautionary message to his players however, conceding England are "wounded but far from dead and buried" after two defeats.

And while working at a school and coaching a team may seem words apart, Schmidt draws comparisons between the two professions and is now on the cusp of delivering a stunning Grand Slam success.

Brunel added: "There were a lot of good things today".

"There's kids like that who need to understand what Johnny (Sexton) said, they need to understand that this doesn't happen very often". The players have worked hard to get a medal for Josh, the players have worked hard to get a medal for Robbie (Henshaw) and for Chris (Farrell).

"But, as I know, it doesn't work out like that".

"There are periods in the game where we are delivering and where we are stringing phases together and playing error-free rugby but I can't honestly say that we have done that enough in any one game, yet we have won all four".

Scotland showed glimpses of the form that saw them beat England in the previous round of matches, with Blair Kinghorn's try keeping them just about in the hunt, but a lack of accuracy at crucial moments proved costly.

"We know what we want - we want to win this game. When you put yourselves in position to win effectively everything in this Six Nations, it becomes massive".

'They will be incredibly keen to make sure that they deny us what we denied them past year'.

England will be outclassed by newly-crowned Six Nations champions Ireland at Twickenham if they fail to deal with their repeated disciplinary issues, former captain Lawrence Dallaglio said. I think we made twice as many line-breaks as them, so I don't think the result should tip the other way but I do think they were very close to getting right away a couple of times.