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Brennan's brief Why there’s a real chance for Sexton and the team to do something famous in Six Nations

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Sexton and the lads can do something special under the new management

Sexton and the lads can do something special under the new management

Sexton and the lads can do something special under the new management

Is it the fact that we’re all stuck in our houses, or that we can’t go to matches, or is it just another part of the doom and gloom as we deal with a winter lockdown?

But there’s just no buzz around for the start of the Six Nations Rugby tournament which gets under way on Saturday in Rome and London and sees Ireland pitched into the action against Wales on Sunday in Cardiff.

Even if the oval ball game isn’t your thing, everyone usually knows that Ireland’s games against England, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy are on. They are a highlight of the annual Irish sporting calendar and they are a staple of our February and March entertainment each year.

But this year, low key doesn’t even cover it. The ‘rubbee’ is so low key it is in danger of falling over. No one is talking about it as you meet people out for a walk, as you buy the paper of a morning. There’s none of the usual heavy advance advertising done by the competition’s sponsors.

And it is all a pity for Andy Farrell’s Irish team, slowly being redrawn in the manner the new coach desires.

For this is the ‘odd’ year when Ireland are at home to the big two of France and England. We should be able to beat Scotland and Italy on their patch and Wales are rebuilding with quite a few of their heroes of the last decade succumbing to injuries or retirement. Sunday’s match is a very winnable one.

There’s a real chance for Johnny Sexton and the team to do something famous in this Six Nations. It will all come down to how we do in Dublin against Les Blues and the Red Rose.

And we might also see young talent such as Ryan Baird of Leinster and Munster’s Gavin Coombes and Craig Casey win their first Irish caps. They are the players who will be a huge part of Ireland’s effort at the 2027 World Cup, never mind the next one in France in two years time.

So this is a big Six Nations for Irish rugby. Let’s hope it drives its way into the public consciousness soon.

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