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Ireland and Wales enjoy perfect autumn campaign

Both Ireland and Wales achieved an autumn ‘Grand Slam’ and picked up some big victories over the three big southern hemisphere teams. Robert Rees takes a look at who impressed this autumn with a look ahead to next year’s Six Nations and World Cup.

Ireland

Record; Played four, won four.

Bt. Italy 54-7

Bt. Argentina 28-17

Bt. New Zealand 16-9

Bt. USA 57-14

Most promising player

Peter O’Mahoney. An ever present leader in the back row, O’Mahoney was dominant in his displays that saw them defeat the All Blacks yet again under Joe Schmidt. A general in the set piece and stealing ball and causing issues for the opposition at the breakdown, O’Mahoney was one of the biggest influences in their perfect autumn campaign. Shout outs to Jordan Larmour who was such a threat and bagged several tries and to the newly crowned World Rugby player of the year Jonny Sexton, who as usual orchestrated things to a tee.

It’ll be a big year ahead for Ireland who now know that they’ll say goodbye to their head coach after the World Cup.

 

 

 

Wales

Record; Played four, won four.

Bt. Scotland 21-10

Bt. Australia 9-6

Bt. Tonga 74-24

Bt. South Africa 20-11

Most promising player

Ellis Jenkins. The Cardiff Blues flanker has shown some excellent form since entering the Wales squad. Dominating the breakdown, a leader on the field and carrying well in the loose. He’s just the player Wales needed following Sam Warburton’s retirement and Talaupe Faletau’s injury. Despite a serious injury in the closing moments of the South Africa which will rule him out for a number of weeks he impressed throughout the campaign.

Wales will certainly hope he is fit in time for the Six Nations which begins in February. The back row depth once the likes of James Davies and Faletau return to fitness will be strong enough to ensure a chance at success at the World Cup.

2019 Six Nations

Both sides will be hoping for a strong Six Nations following their autumn form. An Ireland Grand Slam would see them rise to number one in the world, but a perfect Wales win could well see them go to second. With all the home nations and France all showing signs of promise in their last international series of 2018 the Six Nations is certain to be an exciting competition.

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