Despite winning the Grand Slam, Jeremy Guscott argues the Irish don't have any world class players.
Guscott: “Ireland Don Not Have Any World Class Players”
“Ireland, arguably, do not have any world class players in their Grand Slam-winning squad.”
Considering Ireland have just won a Grand Slam in the 2018 Six Nations, proving themselves to be the best team in the northern hemisphere by some margin, this is a bold statement from the 65-cap England international turned pundit, Jeremy Guscott.
Ireland beat England 24-15 last weekend in a contest which Ireland controlled from the start, and the end scoreline flattered Eddie Jones’ men. Behind Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton, the Irish never looked like losing at Twickenham, but despite this, Guscott argued both men would struggle to get into a world XV.
“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.”
“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.”
Published in an online BBC piece, Guscott has caused quite a stir online with the majority of responses questioning how on earth Murray and Sexton are not classed as world greats in the eyes of the analyst.
Many would argue, the only nine and ten that are better than the Irish pair are Aaron Smith and Beauden Barrett, who play for the All Blacks.
Nevertheless what cannot be denied is Ireland are Grand Slam Six Nations champions and are building towards the World Cup nicely. Traditionally Ireland under-achieve in the tournament having never got passed the quarter finals so proof will be in the pudding net year in Japan.
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