Thursday 13 December 2018

'Ireland don't have any world class players' - Former England star's controversial claim after Grand Slam glory

Ireland celebrate Gland Slam glory and (inset) Jeremy Guscott
Ireland celebrate Gland Slam glory and (inset) Jeremy Guscott

Jeremy Guscott has claimed that Ireland don't have any world class players after a weekend that saw Joe Schmidt's men thump England in their own back yard and win the Grand Slam.

Ireland completed the clean sweep with a 24-15 win over England in Twickenham on St Patrick's Day - a scoreline that, in truth, flattered Eddie Jones' men.

Ireland's utter dominance to win the Six Nations by 11 points is reflected in our Team of the Tournament, with 11 of Joe Schmidt's men making the 15.

But, writing for the BBC, Guscott- who played 65 times for England - argues that Ireland don't have world class players.

"Ireland, arguably, do not have any world class players in their Grand Slam-winning squad," he wrote.

"You could argue there are better scrum-halves and fly-halves than Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton who would get into a world XV. Tadhg Furlong is one you would argue less about. But what they do have are 23 players playing very well."

Guscott also highlighted Ireland's new boys as being key while holding on to the 'brains" of their back-to-back titles in 2014/15.

"The brains of Ireland's team from their back-to-back titles are still there this season, but they've brought in additions like Jacob Stockdale, Tadhg Furlong and Garry Ringrose.

"They've also played with huge accuracy - in the past two seasons, their penalty and error count has gone down and at the moment, England are failing on those counts."

Subscribe to The Left Wing, Independent.ie's Rugby podcast in association with Laya Healthcare, with Luke Fitzgerald and Will Slattery for the best discussion and analysis each week. From in depth interviews with some of Irish rugby's biggest stars to unmatched insights into the provinces and the national team, The Left Wing has all your rugby needs covered.

Listen and subscribe to The Left Wing on iTunes and Soundcloud

Who is your sportstar of the year?

Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.

Prizes include, a trip to Old Trafford to watch Man United take on Liverpool in the Premier League, tickets to Ireland's home games in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.

Simply click here to register your vote

Online Editors

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport