Schmidt's Ireland set for pre-Six Nations camp at Portuguese resort

The national squad had a successful camp in Spain before last year’s Grand Slam.

JOE SCHMIDT’S IRELAND will jet out to Portugal for a pre-Six Nations training camp, after the success of last year’s venture to Spain.

2018 was the first time Schmidt had opted to bring his squad abroad in the build-up to the Six Nations and, though Ireland were unfortunately met with some rain, the trip proved rewarding.

Joe Schmidt before the game Billy Stickland / INPHO Schmidt's Ireland are coming off the back of a November clean sweep. Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

An excellent week of training at Oliva Nova in southern Spain set Ireland up for their Grand Slam-winning campaign and Schmidt will be hoping for similarly positive preparations ahead of this year’s championship.

The Ireland boss is understood to have appreciated the under-the-radar build-up to last season’s Six Nations.

Ireland will travel out to the Algarve area of southern Portugal on Monday – staying and training at the Quinta do Lago resort, which boasts state-of-the-art sports facilities including a high-quality Desso pitch – and return on Friday.

The squad will then be based at their usual Carton House home for the week’s build-up to their opening Six Nations clash with England at the Aviva Stadium on 2 February.

Schmidt is set to name his Six Nations squad this afternoon, with a group of just under 40 players expected to be announced.

The Grand Slam champions have a demanding task at home to Eddie Jones’ England in round one, before a visit to Scotland on the second weekend.

A rest week follows before a trip to Italy, with another rest weekend thereafter, then France come to Dublin on 10 March and Ireland finish their campaign away to Wales on 16 March.

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