Former Ireland rugby international Mick Quinn believes Ireland can be hopeful of winning the Six Nations for the first time since 2018, but that England will prove too strong for the challengers to their title.
Speaking to KCLR’s Saturday Scoreline, Quinn was of the opinion that Ireland will get off to the perfect start against Wales in Cardiff on February 7. However, he did reiterate his stance that England are the rightful favourites to retain the championship that they won in October.
“England will be favourites but we (Ireland) can upset the apple cart.
“I fancy us to beat Wales and then we’re in with a really good chance of winning the whole thing out,” said Quinn.
A shock omission from Andy Farrell’s squad was that of Ulster half-back John Cooney who has been in tremendous form for the northern province as of late. Quinn, who played in the half-back position for both Leinster and Ireland throughout the course of his illustrious playing career, thinks that it is simply a case of Andy Farrell not being particularly fond of the in-form Cooney.
“It’s a lack of favour for John Cooney rather than a lack of form.
“I’m surprised that he’s not at least in the squad considering his place kicking is so good.”
Leinster man Quinn thinks that new head coach Andy Farrell will want to imprint his style on the team as soon as possible, starting next weekend when Ireland travel to Cardiff.
Quinn said: “Farrell is going to put down a marker as to what his team looks like and he will want to get a couple of wins under his belt so that he can build confidence from there.”
Tadhg Furlong was included in the Ireland squad for the annual northern hemisphere competition despite struggling with long term back and calf injuries that have sidelined him since February. However, Quinn is of the opinion that his inclusion was a matter of needs must considering his status as one of Ireland’s few truly world-class players.
“I think Furlong will start off the bench for the Wales game considering he hasn’t played in over a year. But when you talk about a player like Furlong you’re talking about a world-class player and that’s why he’s in the squad,” said Quinn.