All Blacks legend: England loss ‘proves’ that Ireland’s World Cup disappointment was ‘not a fluke’

Colin Newboult
Ireland players dejected following their Six Nations defeat to England in 2024.

Ireland players dejected following their Six Nations defeat to England in 2024.

Former All Blacks winger Jeff Wilson has appeared to question Ireland’s mentality following their defeat to England at the weekend.

Andy Farrell’s men had dominated the competition going into the clash at Twickenham, winning 38-17, 36-0 and 31-7 against France, Italy and Wales respectively.

They were expected to continue that fine form in London, but a fired-up England shocked the visitors 23-22.

Title still on the line

That ended their chances of claiming back-to-back Grand Slams and gave the Red Rose a sniff of winning the Six Nations title on ‘Super Saturday.’

For Wilson, it reminded him of Ireland’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final loss to New Zealand in October, where they failed to get on the right side of scoreline during a tight match.

“This proves to me that last year’s World Cup was not a fluke, it wasn’t a fluke,” he told The Breakdown. “Once again, when the tournament was on the line, guess who didn’t perform? Ireland.

“Ireland now have presented an opportunity to both England and Scotland next weekend. It’s a massive weekend.

“It’s actually unfortunate Scotland lost to Italy because they would have had a massive chance to win the Six Nations. England are relying on Scotland beating Ireland but England have got a shot.”

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Wilson also looked ahead to England’s two-Test tour of New Zealand, with the All Blacks legend expecting them to be a “serious threat” in July.

“If they get to play the way they want to play, when they come down here in the middle of the year, they’re going to be dangerous,” he added.

‘Fantastic’ weekend

England’s clash with Ireland was one of several excellent games last weekend in both the Six Nations and Super Rugby.

Wilson’s fellow New Zealand great, Sir John Kirwan, was impressed by what he saw around the world and provided a theory as to why that was the case.

“I’ve been talking to some of the players afterwards and they’re talking about how hard it is, how much fatigue there is in the game now,” Kirwan said.

“I think there’s been a real turnaround in the referees. The ‘Super Round’ was fantastic, just really good rugby, and in the Six Nations, they seem to be playing a whole lot more.

“There’s obviously been some meetings behind closed doors with the referees because, besides the odd ref not taking control of the scrum and penalising early, it’s been fantastic.”

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