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Willie John tips Ireland for another big finish

By Jonathan Bradley

This year's edition of the Six Nations has been criticised by many but Irish legend Willie John McBride does not necessarily subscribe to the idea that the championship is exhibiting a series of diminishing returns.

While last week's contest between Italy and France entertained few, and only England have managed more than six tries in their four games, McBride and many others were enthralled by Ireland's defeat to Wales in the Millennium Stadium.

Speaking at the launch of the Guinness Carrick Sevens, an event that will once again benefit his associated Wooden Spoon charity, McBride said: "It's certainly changed a lot since the days that I played.

"We don't have the Gareth Edwards, the Barry Johns, the Mike Gibsons, the Phil Bennetts anymore but it's always been a game for the players, and they've tried very hard to make it a supporters' game, but the feeling and the fervour, the atmosphere and everything else is still there.

"I think we should be happy that Ireland have played in certainly the best game I've seen this year against Wales and hopefully it will be another good one against Scotland."

With McBride's career occurring before the advent of points difference - resulting in the 1973 Five Nations being shared by every team - the Lions hero believes it remains an imperfect method of deciding the championship but will certainly not be complaining should Ireland rack up a big enough margin of victory against Scotland this afternoon to secure a second consecutive title.

"It's maybe not the fairest way to do it but there has to be some way of deciding," he said.

"At the end of the day, you have to have a champion but let's hope that we can win it outright.

"My gut feeling is that we'll win but by how much I don't know."

Belfast Telegraph


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