Belfast Telegraph

Let's roar the Irish on to another Six Nations success

Editor's Viewpoint

Tomorrow the new Irish rugby captain Rory Best will lead out the team in Dublin to try to win a third successive Six Nations' Championship, after two previous outstanding seasons.

It will be a tall order to win tomorrow against the powerful Welsh who have so often dashed Irish hopes.

Another downside might be the loss through retirement of former captain, colossus Paul O'Connell.

On the bright side, the Irish camp has players of proven quality, including Ulster's Andrew Trimble who has rightly fought his way back into the squad.

The redoubtable new captain Rory Best has shown time and again what a stalwart he is, and he has all the qualities to fill this major role with distinction.

Wales will provide formidable opposition tomorrow but, if the Irish win this game, they will have the momentum to take on the unpredictable but often dangerous French side in Parisnext week.

However, the French and the English have much to prove after lacklustre World Cup campaigns, dominated by sides from the southern hemisphere, and Scotland will want to heal the raw wound of a wrong refereeing decision in their match against Australia which robbed them of a well deserved place in the semi-finals.

The beauty of sport is its unpredictability, and the outcome in rugby at this level is always difficult to forecast.

It is certain, however, that the games will be fiercely competitive but, almost without exception, played fairly and with sporting integrity.

Rugby has a great unifying factor, with players and supporters alike respecting one another and the finer points of the game.

Seamus Heaney once noted that one of the few times a Dubliner and a Ballymena supporter stand shoulder to shoulder in Dublin is to roar on the Ireland team.

Let's hope those roars help to bring an Irish victory this weekend but, in the true spirit of rugby, may the best teams win.

Belfast Telegraph


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