Farrell's Ireland on the brink of Six Nations history


With the 2024 Six Nations Championships past the halfway point, there seems no stopping Andy Farrell's Irish juggernaut from clinching a second consecutive grand slam and second straight Six Nations title.

Such is Ireland's dominance in the competition so far, that the best UK online sportsbooks recommended by safestbettingsites.co.uk have the Irish as overwhelming 1/20 favourites for the Six Nations title and are offering 4/11 on an Ireland Grand Slam.

Gregor Townsend and his Scottish Bravehearts may still have a say in preventing an Irish Grand Slam but everything, from the runaway log leader's 81-point positive differential through three rounds of the 2024 Six Nations to its incredible win-loss ratio going back to mid-February 2021's loss to France, says otherwise.

Since that narrow 13-15 Aviva Stadium loss to Les Bleus, Ireland has played 35 more times. Of those, the boys from the Emerald Isle have lost only three, with only New Zealand (twice) and France again, prevailing against a team seemingly growing more dominant with time.

Before Ireland hosts Scotland in the final round of the Six Nations, there's still a visit to Twickenham this weekend to negotiate. Steve Borthwick's England, humbled by the Scots in Glasgow last time out, isn't expected to provide adequate resistance to a free-flowing Ireland playing pristine rugby.

Upsets do happen, though, as Italy showed by earning a hard-fought draw with the French at Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Nord last weekend, so Andy Farrell will have made his squad aware of the dangers of over-confidence during training this week. With the consistency of results already achieved, he likely wouldn't have had to say much on the topic, though.

Farrell and Irish rugby fans know that a bonus point victory against the stuttering English will clinch the 2024 Six Nations title for Ireland with a game to spare. Alternatively, even a tight win at Twickenham would be enough should Scotland only manage four log points against Italy at Rome's Stadio Olimpico in its earlier Saturday encounter.

By the time Peter O'Mahony leads his charges into battle on Saturday, Ireland will know what is needed to leave the hallowed Twickenham turf nearly two hours later with the Six Nations trophy secured. If it's a bonus point that's required, recent history says that the overwhelming favourites will be up to the challenge against an England team that is well below its best.

Even if Ireland achieves the perfect result against England on Saturday and travels back to Dublin as the Six Nations champions, there will be no lack of incentive going into the Centenary Quaich encounter with Scotland on Saturday, March 16.

Since the Six Nations Championship was born in 2000, no nation has negotiated consecutive Grand Slam-winning campaigns. France was the last team to accomplish the feat in the old Five Nations tournaments of 1997 and 1998, while Ireland has never succeeded with consecutive Grand Slams, dating back to the tournament's 1940 formation.

For the Irish, there is much to play for over the next two weekends, with victory over England presently the primary focal point for Andy Farrell, Peter O'Mahony and the Ireland squad. Only after cementing a win at Twickenham will the most in-form team in World Rugby concentrate on rewriting Six Nations rugby history.


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