Friday, February 05, 2010
Former Ireland hooker and captain Keith Wood recently met with Munster and British & Irish Lions player Paul O'Connell to have a chat about what it was like to win the Grand Slam last year, and how Ireland will repeat that success in 2010.
Ireland famously won the Six Nations last time around, for the first time in many years. O'Connell talks about the experience, but also touches on how professionalism these days doesn't allow one to really soak up and savour the victory unfortunately.
The Irish legends chat about everything involved in that historic day when they beat Wales with only a few minutes to go. Stephen Jones famously came up short with that final kick, which if it had gone over, would have changed history and taken the Grand Slam away from Ireland.
O'Connell feels that despite having the challenge of trying to retain the trophy this year, his side are well prepared and have quality players and leaders who can do it once again.
"We're probably not a lot different from last year," says O'Connell.
"Maybe confidence is a lot different now and there's maybe a relaxed confidence about the team now. This time a year ago we'd worked hard in the autumn, but really had a poor autumn coming into the Six Nations and we really needed to produce something special and that's what we did.
"We've a lot of confidence and knowledge of what we're doing now under our belt," he said.
They start the tournament by hosting Italy at Croke Park tomorrow. Can Ireland repeat the success of last year, or will someone else step up and make it their season?