Former England international Jeremy Guscott believes that although Ireland work very well as a team, they don’t possess any world class players.
Joe Schmidt’s side defeated England 24-15 at Twickenham on Saturday to win the 6 Nations grand slam, moving to second place in the World Rugby rankings as a result of the campaign, but, writing in his BBC Sport column to reflect on the 2018 championship, Guscott believes that there probably isn’t one Irish player that would get into a world xv – but what they do have is a full squad playing very well:
“The brains of Ireland’s team from their back-to-back titles are still there this season, but they’ve brought in additions like Jacob Stockdale, Tadhg Furlong and Garry Ringrose. They’ve also played with huge accuracy – in the past two seasons, their penalty and error count has gone down and at the moment, England are failing on those counts.
“Ireland, arguably, do not have any world class players in their Grand Slam-winning squad. You could argue there are better scrum-halves and fly-halves than Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton who would get into a world XV. Tadhg Furlong is one you would argue less about. But what they do have are 23 players playing very well.”
Ireland’s dominance in the 6 Nations was reflected in many ‘Teams of the Tournament’ (including our own) dominated by Irish players. England, meanwhile, finished fifth as Eddie Jones must now take stock with the World Cup taking place in Japan in 18 months’ time.