RUGBY LEGENDS SHARE INSIGHT ON THEIR NATIONS TEAM AHEAD OF THIS WEEKEND’S SIX NATIONS MATCHES
Speaking at an event hosted by business insurance specialist, QBE, former England lock Simon Shaw and ex-Ireland international, Conor O’Shea discussed the Six Nations performances so far and looked forward to the clash between England and Ireland this weekend.
Simon Shaw said, “Despite the disruption to the side from injuries leading up to the Six Nations, we have seen a strong start from an England side who have certainly stepped up to the mark. I think the winners of this game will go on and win the title. Ireland were favourites at the start of the tournament, but England are looking strong and might upset the odds. Ireland will look to impose themselves on the England team in the first 20 minutes, especially with England’s slow starts to the previous two games in mind; Ireland will look to get a lead and then push on through”
Speaking about the two captains, Shaw said, “Paul O’Connell is the heartbeat of the Ireland team; he has lots of enthusiasm and is a leader of men. Chris Robshaw is similar; he has grown more confident over the past few years and stated his authority. Chris has shown a steely determination and strong work ethic that Stuart Lancaster has installed in the whole England team.”
Shaw continued, “With the England side you have to understand that we have a pool of incredibly talented players throughout the Premiership, who are all on an even level and knocking on the doors of the England squad. Stuart Lancaster has the choice of so many players who he can pick and be confident that they will perform on the international stage. The game this weekend against Ireland is building to be a spectacle, with both sides vying for the Grand Slam; it’s there for either team to grab.”
From an Irish point of view, O’Shea said “The expectation levels for this Ireland side have risen greatly; the players are in a good place at the moment, especially having Sexton back in the team and fit. I’m hoping to see the players free themselves up and have a game that provides some physicality, but also a bit of magic.”
“Despite all the injury problems England faced pre-tournament, the wins against Wales and Italy have given them a lot of confidence. Mentally they are in a great place. If England put in a mighty performance against us this weekend and win, they will only be two games from the Grand Slam and likely to go onto win the tournament. It’s going to be a mouth-watering contest; it’s probably too tight too call, but I never bet against the home side in close games.”
These quotes have been taken from an exclusive interview with QBErugby.com.
Simon Shaw and Conor O’Shea were speaking on behalf of QBE, the Business Insurance Specialist, official insurance partner of England Rugby.
For more information about QBE and the QBE Coaching Club, please visit www.QBErugby.com