Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby Six Nations

Trimble fears there will be a repeat of 2007 heartbreak

By Jonathan Bradley

Having both won and lost a Six Nations title on points difference, Andrew Trimble is well versed in the range of emotions that Ireland's players will be experiencing throughout today's tense conclusion to the championship.

The Ulster wing - currently missing with a toe ligament problem suffered in October but re-injured last month - played a hugely important role in last season's title charge but remembers all too well the feeling of helplessness as the 2007 edition slipped from his grasp.

That year Ireland, playing first so unsure of the necessary margin of victory, racked up a big win in Italy but conceded an avoidable late score that would prove defining when, in the following game, France's Elvis Vermeulen crossed the whitewash in the final moments of their win over Scotland.

Trimble can still recall the scene in the Eternal City as he and his teammates watched on via an unreliable television as they agonisingly missed out on ending a Championship drought that then stretched back to 1985.

"All the boys were back at the hotel watching the France-Scotland game on the TV, and when Euan Murray went over in the corner we thought he'd done us a favour.

"We lost the TV feed and were all just sitting there not knowing whether we'd won the Six Nations or not. In the end it was very difficult to take."

While hoping that Joe Schmidt's men can land back-to-back titles for the first time since the Jack Kyle-inspired squads of 1948 and '49, Trimble fears that Ireland could once again lose out by fine margins.

"It's going to be tough," he admitted.

"I think we'll beat Scotland but they're tough to break down.

"Nobody hammers Scotland, especially at Murrayfield, and at the same time I can see England hammering France.

"It's about taking care of your own job, dealing with Scotland and hoping that the France who turned up for the last game of last season turns up again."

Starting today in one of the wing slots will be Luke Fitzgerald, the Leinster man's first time wearing the green 11 jersey in almost four years after he was promoted to the starting line-up at the expense of Simon Zebo.

"Zebo is maybe unfortunate.

"Test match rugby is all about doing basics well, and he's been doing them, but someone like Luke is going to come in and perform.

"He deserves his chance and I'm sure he's going to have a blinder."

Andrew Trimble was speaking at the launch of the Guinness Carrick Sevens. Preparing for its 43rd edition, the tournament will this year take place the weekend beginning Friday May 1 with over 50 teams set to tcompete.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph