French Rugby Writer: 'Ireland's Six Nations wins irrelevant without World Cup success'

French Rugby Writer: 'Ireland's Six Nations wins irrelevant without World Cup success'

A French-based rugby writer by the name of Gavin Mortimer has claimed that Ireland potentially winning another Six Nations and Grand Slam again won't mean anything because of their poor record at Rugby World Cups.

The Irish team has become one of the best teams in the world and the undisputed best in the northern hemisphere under Andy Farrell. Under his leadership, they have beaten every single side they have faced to become where they are.

A first home Grand Slam came last year, and this year it looks like they will become the first side ever to win back-to-back Six Nations Grand Slam titles.

Ireland take on England this weekend in what is being billed as a potential Slam decider in Twickenham. On paper, this is Ireland's hardest game, and if they win, they will then potentially have a chance to win another Slam against Scotland in Dublin in the last round.

However, Ireland's expectations and goals have changed since they became what they are.

Ireland is forever known as the team that bottles it at Rugby World Cups. The side has never made it past the quarterfinals in their history and was eliminated by New Zealand at the same stage last year, despite being so eager to get past the quarterfinal.

The joke around Ireland never getting past the quarter-final continues to do the rounds in rugby circles and will continue to haunt Ireland until they break their hoodoo.

English-born scribe Gavin Mortimer, who writes about French rugby, believes that Ireland can win as many Slams as they like but claims their achievement in the "irrelevant Six Nations" won't matter until Ireland does manage to overcome their World Cup demons once and for all.

Aaron Smith #9 of New Zealand breaks out with the ball during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Quarter Final match between Ireland and New Zealand at Stade de France on October 14, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images)

"As it is, this is a largely irrelevant Six Nations. Ireland is on course for another Grand Slam—richly deserved—but surely even their most fanatical supporters will feel a little hollow if they complete the clean sweep on March 16," said Mortimer in an article on Rugby Pass.

"Ireland blew the big one in October, losing to New Zealand in the World Cup quarterfinal and extending their baffling record of never reaching the last four of the tournament. The Irish can win as many Grand Slams as they want, but they’re all meaningless if they can’t make an impression at the World Cup."

It is true that Ireland is a serial underachiever when it comes to World Cups. England, on the other hand, is the polar opposite. The red rose has a poor Six Nations record but has fared better in World Cups, winning one and making it to the final on three more occasions throughout the years.

Mortimer added that England being the only northern hemisphere nation to have won the World Cup matters more than any Six Nations achievement that comes their way.

"When Clive Woodward was appointed England coach in 1997, he told the press that he wanted to be judged on the World Cup," he added.

"The first one, 1999, came a little too early for him, but his squad was physically and mentally at their peak in 2003. That was also the year England won their only Grand Slam under Woodward. One Grand Slam in seven attempts could be considered an under-achievement, but what England fan cares when they are still the only northern hemisphere nation to have won the World Cup?"

Ireland vs. England kicks off at 4.45 on Saturday. The game will be broadcast live on ITV (UK) and RTÉ (ROI).