silverware Ireland wing James Lowe has his eyes set on Triple Crown success on home soil
Ireland are odds-on favourites to win the Triple Crown against Scotland this Saturday, 15-point favourites in most places, but Andy Farrell’s side will be aiming to at least double that advantage as they eye up a potential bonus.
A title is still possible, but only if England defeat France. An unlikely upset; France remain 2/9 to claim a Grand Slam, with Ireland 3/1 outsiders to take advantage of a potential Stade De France slip-up.
A Triple Crown may be devalued currency these days but a tangible trophy outcome would still represent a feather in Andy Farrell’s cap as he plots a path to acquiring a much more substantial piece of tin in 2023.
And it would also represent a considerable boost to the growing connection between his team and its public; Ireland have not clinched a title of any hue on home soil since 2004’s Triple Crown; they last crowned a championship success here in 1985.
Anyone looking for portents need not be reminded that the compliant Scots were the victims in 2004, a season whose pattern was eerily similar to this one.
However in that year, despite losing just once to France, the absence of bonus points meant that, despite a memorable victory against World Cup winners England on the penultimate weekend, their championship chances were remote.
England needed an eight point win to overhaul France; Ireland’s relatively slim 19-3 success against Italy had left them with too much to do, even though they handsomely scorched the whitewashed Scots on the final day.
Since then, Ireland have won Triple Crowns and Grand Slams in Wales and England, as well as another title in Scotland. A Dublin party to end Paddy’s week would do nicely.
“Aw, I would love to get my family over,” says exuberant wing James Lowe, “but unfortunately it’s a bit tough at the moment - I know the world is opening up - I’m hoping to tour New Zealand so they get to watch me play over there.
“But my fiancée’s mother is over at the moment so they’ll be there supporting and there’s a possibility of winning a trophy on Irish soil.
“Apparently, we don’t do it often, you win Grand Slams away, trophies away.
“It’s something we’re obviously very excited for but the challenge is Scotland, the challenge isn’t trophy-focused.
“We know what we need to do and we’re going to treat it like another Test match.”
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