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What Lessons Have Ireland Learned from the RWC for the Upcoming Six Nations?

What Lessons Have Ireland Learned from the RWC for the Upcoming Six Nations?

Last year, Ireland’s quest for Rugby World Cup victory ended in heartbreak. Farrell and Sexton’s team fought bravely until the end, but ultimately lost against three-time winners, New Zealand in the quarter-finals. 

However, Ireland must now pick themselves back up and look to the future, namely, the upcoming 2024 Six Nations and apply the lessons they have learned from such a galling experience.

Adapting to High-Pressure Situations

One of the key takeaways for Ireland was their ability to handle high-pressure situations. The 2023 Rugby World Cup saw some of the most intense matches ever played, and Ireland were often up to the challenge. Their resilience, particularly in the quarter-final against The All Blacks, where they kept the ball for waves in a last-ditch effort to score a winning try with seconds to spare, demonstrated their mental fortitude. 

Let’s also not forget their game against the Springboks in the pool stage. Yes, it doesn’t count for anything now that South Africa have walked away with the World Cup still firmly in their possession, but Ireland won that game and caused numerous problems in the scrum against the best scrummaging side in the world. This was a tight game against the reigning world champions and Ireland came out on top. 

Expanding Tactical Flexibility

Tactical adaptability was another lesson. The World Cup saw Ireland facing a range of opponents with varying styles. This exposure has undoubtedly enhanced the team’s tactical flexibility. Moving into the Six Nations, Ireland must be able to leverage this experience without the aid of Johnny Sexton to overcome the strategic difficulties their opponents will bring. 

Improving Set-Piece Efficiency

Set-pieces were a crucial aspect of the game where Ireland showed both brilliance and areas for improvement. Consistency in scrums and lineouts, pivotal in controlling the game’s tempo, needs to be a focus. The Six Nations will test Ireland’s set-piece efficiency, and improvements here could be a decisive factor in their upcoming campaign.

Enhancing Attack and Defence Balance

Balancing attacking flair with defensive solidity is something Ireland did well in the World Cup. They showed moments of brilliance in their attacking play, but also periods where their defence was stretched. A more balanced approach, ensuring that the attacking ambitions do not compromise defensive structures, will be critical in the Six Nations.

The Competition

Ireland must also keep an eye on the latest rugby news and keep an ear to the ground for potential leaks. After all, a number of national sides are now in flux due to retirements. So keeping up with the latest squad announcements, press conference quotes and selection headaches will help the coaches get a much better idea about potential matchups. Some psychological warfare wouldn’t go amiss, either. 

As always, Wales are a different beast in the Six Nations, and England put up a surprising fight against South Africa, who would go and win the Rugby World Cup the week after — are we seeing the waking of a sleeping giant under the new reign of Steve Borthwick? And finally, France, who endured the same fate as Ireland at the RWC, will no doubt be coming out with a point to prove.


As Ireland finish licking their wounds from the RWC, they must take what they have learned from the experience and prepare for the 2024 Six Nations. Handling pressure, tactical flexibility, set-piece efficiency, balanced play, psychological resilience, and taking on their opponents confidently, but humbly, will be integral in their quest for another Six Nations title. 

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