Circle the wagons, as Eddie would say. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO
DEFEAT IN THE Millennium Stadium has complicated Ireland’s defence of the Six Nations title — and removed the Triple Crown and Grand Slam from this year’s Championship equation.
Though their fate is not exactly in their own hands, Paul O’Connell’s side remain in an excellent position to lift the trophy next Saturday.
For that to happen, here’s what Ireland need to go their way.
Above, you can see the table as it stood after Saturday’s fixtures. France would need the bottom three sides in the table to beat the top three sides next weekend, so we’re going to go out on a limb and rule them out of a dramatic late storm into the winner’s circle.
Currently, England lead the Championship on points difference with 37 points. That’s just four points better off than Ireland, but 25 ahead of Wales.
To win back the title, Ireland first and foremost must beat Scotland in Edinburgh. Though Vern Cotter’s men will be hell-bent on avoiding a pointless finish in this campaign, Ireland must keep the points difference in mind and run up as large a winning margin as they can manage. The foot can not come off the pedal at any stage.
If they do that, presuming England and Wales both win too, then Schmidt will win another title if…
Ireland beat Scotland by a margin that is more than four points larger than England’s margin of victory over France.
Wales do not beat Italy by a margin that is more than 21 points larger than Ireland’s margin of victory over Scotland.