Revealed - Independent.ie readers predict Six Nations struggle for Ireland with England to emerge victorious
Following more than 15,000 votes in our Independent.ie Six Nations survey, we can reveal that less than 20pc of our readers believe Joe Schmidt's Ireland will retain their Six Nations title.
Eddie Jones will oversee the fortunes of England following their disastrous World Cup campaign and the majority of voters are backing Dylan Hartley and company to end the campaign in glory.
Ireland begin their title defence at home to Wales this weekend and head coach Joe Schmidt has already attempted to play down expectations among supporters as the Boys in green chase an unprecedented third successive championship crown.
"To be as candid as I can be, I think a top-half finish would be a good Six Nations for us," Schmidt admitted at the tournament launch last week.
In a survey conducted among more than 7,000 readers, 45pc believe that Ireland will finish mid-table, with a quarter of those surveyed backing Ireland to finish as runners-up.
Less than a fifth tipped Ireland to retain their title, with 9pc backing a Grand Slam season.
In a separate survey, readers were asked to vote for who they believe will win the overall competition and Eddie Jones' England coming out on top with 35pc of the vote, followed by Ireland (29pc) and Wales (26pc).