Kick-off at the Aviva Stadium is 2.15pm
IT IS a Six Nations ritual at this stage. The camera pans across the line of Irish players during 'Amhrán na bhFiann' and lingers on Peter O'Mahony's face, contorted and puce as he displays his passion by belting out the anthem as loudly as possible.
IN THE course of his mid-match commentary one of our more balanced pundits – an ex-international whose insight and opinion I respect – was heard to mutter under his breath (or so he thought) "not another f*****g box-kick".
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When time was called on their warm-up before last Saturday's game with Scotland, Johnny Sexton signalled to the players and led them off the pitch towards the tunnel. This final run to the dressing-room before the start of a big rugby game is a dog-whistle for support and the volume is an indicator of the level of jeopardy involved in the upcoming 80-plus minutes.