Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Intimations of Immortality

This year's Six Nations Rugby campaign is last chance saloon for a number of the Ireland team. They should have achieved more than a few paltry Triple Crowns - and they know it. They certainly played with an intensity against France that suggested serious motivation. They out muscled and out played a good French team and on this form will go all the way to Cardiff for a Grand Slam denoument with Wales. The media is full of stories about a new found harmony in the dressing room and freedom of expression on the field. Images of Munster and Leinster players leaving training hand in hand. However, I noticed O'Connell going over to embrace O'Driscoll at the end and receiving a very perfunctory response. Maybe I'm reading too much into a small incident. I still think O'Connell is a better bet to be Lions captain, and maybe O'Driscoll knows he's a political appointment.

Wales may not of course beat France in Paris so we may be even be looking at the possibility of a three-way tie for the championship should we lose to Wales. So we need lots of tries in the intervening matches. Scotland and Italy were woeful and England were not much better in their matches. Discount them all. If the Lions were picked tomorrow it would be hard to see many Scottish or English players on the team. Wales would supply the bulk but Ireland could have O'Driscoll, O'Connell, O'Gara, Kearney, David Wallace, O'Callaghan, O'Leary (maybe - there's lots of good scrum halves about), Flannery, and Ferris. Ireland, Wales and France will all win this weekend of course.