Sunday 20 May 2018

'They'll be very quiet tonight' - Ireland are Six Nations champions for 2018 but focus now on Grand Slam

Johnny Sexton (with son Luca), CJ Stander (with wife Jean Marie) and Conor Murray celebrate after the game
Johnny Sexton (with son Luca), CJ Stander (with wife Jean Marie) and Conor Murray celebrate after the game
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

For the first time in three years, Ireland are the NatWest Six Nations champions.

Joe Schmidt's side had 10 points to spare over England after securing a 28-8 bonus point victory over Gregor Townsend's Scots at the Aviva today.

The result meant that Eddie Jones' England needed a five-point haul from their trip to Paris to have any chance of reeling Ireland in but they slumped to a 22-16 defeat at the Stade de France.

It is a third Six Nations title for Schmidt in his five years at the helm with Ireland and he achieved it with a game to spare.

10 March 2018; Keith Earls of Ireland with his daughters Ella May, left, and Laurie after the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
10 March 2018; Keith Earls of Ireland with his daughters Ella May, left, and Laurie after the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
10 March 2018; Devin Toner of Ireland with with his son Max, age 5 months, and wife Mary following the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
10 March 2018; Devin Toner of Ireland with with his son Max, age 5 months, and wife Mary following the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
10 March 2018; Devin Toner of Ireland with with his son Max, age 5 months, and wife Mary following the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
10 March 2018; Conor Murray of Ireland following the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
10 March 2018; Jonathan Sexton of Ireland with his son Luca following the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
10 March 2018; Jonathan Sexton of Ireland with his son Luca following the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
10 March 2018; Keith Earls of Ireland with his daughters Ella May, left, and Laurie after the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
10 March 2018; Keith Earls of Ireland with his daughters Laurie and Ella May after the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
10 March 2018; Sean Cronin of Ireland with his children Cillian and Finn following the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
10 March 2018: Jonathan Sexton of Ireland with his son Luca after the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
10 March 2018: CJ Stander of Ireland with his wife Jean Marié following the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
10 March 2018; Keith Earls of Munster with his daughters Laurie, right, and Ella May following the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
10 March 2018: Keith Earls of Ireland with his daughters Ella May, left, and Laurie after the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
10 March 2018: Peter O’Mahony of Ireland walks alongside his daughter Indie after the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
10 March 2018; Keith Earls of Munster with his daughters Laurie, right, and Ella May following the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
10 March 2018: Conor Murray of Ireland reacts while wathcing the final moments of the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
10 March 2018: Peter O’Mahony of Ireland walks alongside his daughter Indie after the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
10 March 2018; Jess Redden, girlfriend of Rob Kearney of Ireland, during the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
10 March 2018; Sean Cronin of Ireland with his sons Cillian and Finn after the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
10 March 2018: Garry Ringrose, left, and Jordan Larmour of Ireland celebrate after the NatWest Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

The focus now switches to the St Patrick's Day showdown with England where a victory would see Ireland secure only a third Grand Slam in their history.

Ireland completed the clean sweep in 1948 and in 2009.

"Again we were watching the game in our suits," Schmidt told TV3 after the tournament win was confirmed referring to Ireland's 2015 Championship win.

"We didn't have any control over it but we managed to control things we were involved in to get the 19 points on the table we needed.

"A great performance from France. I thought they made it very tough for England to get any fluidity.

"We'll take a look at England now and try to strike out again this week.

"I'm just really going to enjoy tonight. I've given the players the day off tomorrow to recover. There were over 300 tackles made in this game today. They are pretty fatigued.

"They'll be very quiet tonight and quiet tomorrow and we'll be excited to get to Twickenham and have the chance we have. You don't get it very often so we certainly won't be holding back."

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