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Twickenham slip sees greatness elude Ireland again

Twickenham slip sees greatness elude Ireland again


There is a strong case to be made about Andy Farrell’s Ireland team being the best in the country’s history and one of the greatest international sides of the modern era. However, it is an opinion that might grow weaker over time given that the record books won’t make the same argument on account of a lack of meaningful accomplishments.

A familiar tale with greatness at Ireland’s grasp

It is a statement that many might understandably disagree with as Ireland stands on the brink of winning back-to-back Six Nations titles. Yet, they were only a minute away from recording consecutive Grand Slam wins in the Six Nations for the first time in the competition’s history.

This means that Farrell’s side would have become the only team to have ever gone unbeaten in successive Six Nations campaigns.

Being able to achieve an accomplishment of this magnitude would have ensured Ireland’s current group of players a place in the history books but carelessly giving away possession with a minute left on the clock while leading England 22-20 at Twickenham enabled the hosts to spoil the party with the last kick of the game.

Indeed, Marcus Smith’s drop goal from point-blank range denied Ireland an honour that they might never get the chance of winning again.

Whether one can call this performance a choke is up for debate given that the Irish will, in all likelihood, still finish at the top of the 2024 Six Nations table. Still, there are uncomfortable comparisons to be drawn just five months after Ireland stumbled in the first knockout game of the World Cup when they lost to New Zealand.

Before kick-off against the All Blacks, Ireland was the bookies’ favourite to win the World Cup – and for good reason. They had already beaten eventual champions South Africa in the pool stage and looked far and away like the best team in France.

When it mattered though, they wilted under the pressure of the occasion; a surprising and painful 28-24 defeat ensued against New Zealand.

Once again, Ireland was unable to climb the steps to eternal greatness.

The costly consequences of passing up opportunities

While hope always springs eternal in sports in terms of avenging an outcome, the other inescapable reality is that the going isn’t always plentiful. When it is, great teams make the most of the opportunities handed to them. In Ireland’s case, they might not get a better chance of capitalising on the momentum they had built up at a World Cup.

For a better example of this, keep in mind that Farrell’s charges were at odds of evens to go all the way in 2023 and now find themselves as high as 5/1 to win the 2027 World Cup in Australia. In other words, there is a mountain to climb again despite almost touching the summit in 2023.

For the hopeful Irish fans who think that invaluable lessons will have been learned by the 2027 World Cup, this list of the best online betting sites in the United Kingdom is offering generous sign-up bonuses that can be used on the outright market to back Ireland.

Bookmakers such as William Hill and BetMGM are offering as much as £60 in welcome bonuses to new customers in time for the spectacle Down Under.

Time waits for no man

Of course, the narrative around this incredibly talented Ireland team being regarded as nearly men can still change. However, history is written by the victors and time is beginning to tick for a team that should have already left a far bigger mark on this era.

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