Ireland 2017 and the closing of the gap.
There’s no doubting that Ireland 2017 will be fight worth watching. Coming to the Six Nations after an eventful Autumn season will put Ireland front and centre for a slice of the trophies in this year’s Six Nations. That said, Ireland weren’t the only ones with an impressive Autumn show.
The Southern Hemisphere campaign showcased a change in the dominance of European Rugby. Which means that there are no easy games in the Six Nations competition. Starting the 2017 campaign away to Scotland is not going to be the walk through Murrayfield that they hope for.
Beating the All Blacks last season is one thing, but getting the first two games out of the way unscathed will be key to Ireland’s success. Especially if they are to take on the French for a shot at finishing in the top two.
Rory Best dons the Captain mantle to lead Ireland in 2017, but Matt Healy is the man to watch this Six Nations as he gets his call up to the 2017 squad. His season at Connacht has been nothing short of outstanding. With Healy on the wing, Ireland could be a force to recon with.
Young and impressive Jack O’Donoghue is the potential star in the making. An under 20’s captain that has a natural leader and flanker ability that Munster relish. Bringing Jack to the team gives depth to a squad that isn’t short on depth.
Joe Schmidt on Ireland 2017’s chances: “It’s very hard for anyone to rank one to six, I think a lot of people will struggle to get it right, it’s going to be hard for anyone to get on top. A top two finish (for us) would be great.”
Ireland 2017 Squad
Ireland call fewer uncapped players to the team this season. Débuts from Quinn Roux, Sean Reidy, Jack O’Donoghue, and Matt Healy add speed to Schmidt’s line up.
Experience is still leading the charge as Devin Toner, Jonathan Sexton, Sean Cronin, Keith Earls, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip, Rob Kearney, Fergus McFadden, Conor Murray and Eoin Reddan back their captain in making the Ireland 2017 campaign one of their best.