Hard to beat the Six Nations as a spectacle
Hard to believe that it's Six Nations time again. Where did that year go?
For some reason for the non rugby faithful, tickets for these matches always seem hard to come by, which must be a great place for the IRFU to be. Just not enough tickets to meet demand.
There has been a lot of discussion about doping, feeder clubs and foreign recruits in the lead up to this championship, but all that will be parked as the nation rallies behind Joe Schmidt's troops.
Ireland v England it's always massive. Especially if the chariot is derailed on home turf.
Was there anything as sweet as this touchdown?
Team management in all sports are always in a difficult position standing between internal squad goals and containing supporter hype.
Twelve months ago all optimism was eroded as Ireland began with a deflating defeat in Murrayfield.
It did end with an impressive win over England which could augur well for the weeks ahead.
Gas to see the mind games underway already with England boss Eddie Jones talking us up ahead of kick off.
But it's hard to argue against a side that retained their Six Nations title and equalled New Zealand’s 18-match unbeaten record at Test level.
Eddie Jones has made no secret that the 2019 World Cup is the target and depending how results go you might find a lot of coaches talking in those terms as the tournament unfolds and they decide to plan for the future rather than the present.
No better buachaill than Joe Schmidt to deal with whatever the baying press throw at him.
Eddie Jones has proven himself to be a master of winding lads up though!
Ireland look to be in a great place.
Joe has proven himself to be a master of preparing youngsters for the big occasion and squeezing great performances out of shall we say 'more established players'.
Many Munster fans still find it hard to get their heads around Simon Zebos exclusion but all that will be forgotten if Ireland build up some winning momentum as we expect them to (as always!).
A stretch in the evenings, spring in the air, games to savour in prospect lie ahead.
Whatever about winning the Six Nations, getting a result in Twickenham is a must!