Can Ireland win the 2016 Six Nations?

Ireland have won the last two Six Nations competitions and will be chasing down a third consecutive success in the tournament. Although they have lost a number of key personalities, Joe Schmidt’s side is still extremely talented and the Irish will be quietly confident of achieving their ultimate goal in 2016. We take a look at their chances of success in spring’s competition.

2015 Player of the Tournament Paul O’Connell hung up his boots after Ireland’s disappointing exit in October’s World Cup. The Irish lock suffered a tournament-ending injury that cost him the opportunity to lead his team out against Argentina and they missed his presence as they fell to the Pumas at the quarter-final stage of the competition.

Ireland will be one of the leading candidates to win the tournament but the likes of England and Wales will also fancy their chances of success. Punters will have to compare odds from various bookmakers via Bookies’ website to ensure they get the best odds on Ireland to succeed. If they perform like they did last year, they will be very hard to beat.

Despite losing O’Connell, Ireland still have plenty of experience in their ranks. Jamie Heaslip has taken over as captain and Jonathan Sexton has an abundance of quality and knowledge to advise the younger members of Ireland’s squad. Schmidt will try to keep the bulk of the squad the same, however he must give some players the opportunity to prove their worth.

Ireland may have suffered a disappointing defeat to Argentina, however they can still hold their heads high after a decent tournament. They weren’t the most exciting side in the competition but managed to secure some impressive victories throughout the group stages.

If Ireland perform at their very best, they should cruise to a third successive Six Nations title and many who are confident enough should already head to Bookies and check out their odds with various bookmakers – full listings are available here and their price will only shorten as the tournament approaches.

England may be a threat but are currently undergoing a transitional period after appointing Eddie Jones as their new manager. Stuart Lancaster lost his job after a difficult World Cup and Ireland will believe they are capable of beating England at Twickenham.

Meanwhile, they will host Wales – arguably Ireland’s closest rivals for the crown – in the opening fixture of the tournament. Warren Gatland’s men are perhaps the most complete side in the competition. They will have a number of players back from injury and will fancy their chances of going all the way and lifting the title.

Despite losing their rock O’Connell, it is incredibly difficult to back against Ireland. Three home games will help Schmidt’s side but you have to feel that the away fixture against England will be the crucial one. Win that, and Ireland will secure the title. Anything else and the Irish may struggle to win a third straight crown.