By Mark Jones
DUBLIN — Ireland goes into Saturday’s final Six Nations game against Wales at Lansdowne Road with a chance of winning four matches in Europe’s premier
rugby competition for the first time in more than 50 years.
True, the addition of Italy to the fold this season has given the traditional five nations an extra game, but that won’t matter too much if this rejuvenated Irish team repeats any of the heroics that produced a remarkable victory in Paris.
Down and out after a dismal World Cup performance and a heavy loss to England, Ireland have bounced back with three victories in succession over Scotland, Italy and France to confound both the critics and many rugby
followers who had become cynical about the national team.
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Coach Warren Gatland’s main decision in advance of Saturday’s game will be who to select at out-half. Ronan O’Gara is on the up, but his replacement in Paris, David Humphreys, kicked the winning penalty and played well when he came on.
Otherwise, John Hayes was the only injury worry, but the Shannon prop is likely to start despite a slight groin strain.
Whether or not Ireland win, Gatland is certain to be offered an extension to his contract.
All Ireland League
Meanwhile, Terenure missed the chance to go to the top of Division One of the All Ireland League when they were beaten 33-18 by Cork Constitution at Temple Hill. The defeat saw Terenure slip to fourth place on points difference and Young Munster took full opportunity to take the lead once again with a 25-15 home win over Dungannon.
St. Mary’s, who didn’t play last weekend, are in second with Garryowen in third after their 10-6 win against Lansdowne. Ballymena move up to fifth on the back of their 41-25 success at Buccaneers, while DLSP pulled off a surprise 23-17 over Shannon.