Gerry Thornley on fickle Irish rugby fans, Liverpool edge West Ham

The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Robert Lewandowski and Bayern Munich take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night. Photograph: Philipp Guelland/EPA

Robert Lewandowski and Bayern Munich take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night. Photograph: Philipp Guelland/EPA

Ireland headed into last weekend on the back of a fine win over Wales and with dreams of a Triple Crown and potentially the Grand Slam. Now they are licking their wounds after another bruising 24-12 defeat to England at Twickenham. And in his column this morning Gerry Thornley has reflected on the fickle nature of Irish rugby supporters, who either deify or discard their team depending on each result. He writes: “So it was that the 2018 Irish team was the greatest of all time (and it was certainly the highest achieving of all time, whether or not it was the most talented) whereas the 2019 version was the worst ever. Likewise, the squad may as well have been sent home after losing to Japan at the World Cup, only for them to be given a serious chance of beating the All Blacks in the quarter-final, whereupon it was back to being an all-time low. Reactions to every Irish win and Irish defeat appear to be almost as fickle as the wind.”

The Six Nations takes another week’s break now before Italy visit Dublin in the fourth round on Saturday March 7th, however there are fears that game could be called off due to concerns over the spread of coronavirus. Reviews of mass gatherings are set to take place in the coming days, including the clash at the Aviva Stadium. Ireland coach Andy Farrell is likely to ring the changes for the visit of the Azzurri, with both Caelan Doris and Ronan Kelleher in line for starts. And he insists his side can still challenge for the Championship despite suffering the first defeat of his tenure: “One hundred per cent, I definitely do. We are in the same position as a few other teams and we need to be disappointed with this. Some might say the scoreline flattered us, but at the end of the day it is a 12-point margin. We could have rolled over against a side that were desperate [for a win]in England, but we didn’t and we gave ourselves as good a chance as any.”

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