Published: Mon, March 19, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Irish rugby team arrive in Dublin for Grand Slam celebration

Irish rugby team arrive in Dublin for Grand Slam celebration

Yet, whilst Ireland's head coach Joe Schmidt and his players have kept their focus on the Six Nations in recent weeks, their attention will soon turn towards the fast-approaching 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

England wing Jonny May says the team will learn from their NatWest 6 Nations campaign and that fans can expect a response. England on the other hand, lost the same amount of ranking points and look dangerously close to dropping to fourth with Australia potentially moving up to third.

It follows their historic win in London yesterday, which saw Ireland complete a clean sweep of victories in this year's tournament and secure just the third Grand Slam win ever.

From momentarily drifting back to New Zealand, Schmidt wandered into praising his players again, stressing that a coach "can't create courage" in their team.

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It's obviously disappointing, but you go through these little runs and the only way you get out of it is by sticking with the process and focusing on what you need to improve.

"It is, unfortunately, something that you have to have because you never find out about yourself unless you have these runs", he said.

His skipper, the grizzled hooker Rory Best, certainly fits into the "experienced guys" group but the 111-times capped 35-year-old wasn't going to make too many long-term predictions either.

"To show the steel and commitment that they did when we went behind to France eight minutes from time in Paris (the first match) was outstanding and rounded off with the exceptional talent Johnny (Sexton) has of putting the ball between the uprights".

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"To be honest, we rely still on the same hub", said Schmidt. Robbie Henshaw, unfortunately, getting that second try [against Italy], I'd rather we were one less try and one more man available but also Jacob Stockdale plucking those couple of intercepts against Wales and Scotland.

"So some of them have come from really proactive defence and others have come from some really nice play that's been put together by the team".

"We weren't happy being the team we were... we knew we weren't good enough to get where we wanted to get".

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