Six Nations rugby starts this weekend. Ireland face Italy at home and for the first time in years expectations stretch nowhere near a Grand Slam. On the road to England and France, assailed on one side by an increasingly confident and muscular Scotland and on the other by Warren Gatland plus XV, winning three of our five games is at once the bare minimum and also by no means a certainty.
Since the anguish last Autumn, Irish rugby has been in limbo. For want of action on the field we have all fed off the increasingly lean pickings of the World Cup debacle’s carcass. The players have clearly been the most tortured parties, unable to do anything to change the question. They must be thinking “How many times can I attempt to explain why we failed so badly at the World Cup?” There are no new developments. Why would the answer be any different? Why do these journalists keep asking? Because (despite all the column miles and airwaves devoted to the topic) we still do not truly know what has happened to the Irish rugby team.
Saturday is when the real answers can begin.