FOUR DOWN, ONE to go.
But Rory Best knows Ireland will need to save their best performance of this championship until last as they face into the unenviable task of beating Eddie Jones’ England at their Twickenham citadel.
That’s the challenge awaiting Ireland after sealing a third Six Nations title in five years with a bonus-point win over Scotland at the Aviva Stadium yesterday, but one the whole squad is relishing.
“It’s going to be a big game for us now,” the Ireland captain said. “Whenever you put yourself in a position to win everything effectively it becomes massive.
“The key for us at the same time is to make sure we approach it as we do every game. Never get too ahead of ourselves. We’ve chipped off each game as it comes, another five points tonight.
“It becomes a big game for us because of what we’ve done previously and we have to stick to that.”
After three consecutive bonus-point victories in Dublin, Best knows Ireland will need to up their game again next weekend if they are to end England’s formidable unbeaten run at home and mark St Patrick’s Day with a first Grand Slam in nine years.
“We’re going to have to probably save the best for last, and that’s what it’s going to take to win everything next week,” the hooker continued. “It would be special for every member of the squad. It is a squad thing.
“Joe touched on the guys coming off the bench, the impact they made, that’s what it’s all about. There will be moments next week when we need to dig deep, and we’ve a lot of big leaders in that squad.
“At times when we were under pressure and they were trying to play chaotic rugby, we were able to get a breath back and get control through the spine of our team.”
Best and Rob Kearney are the only two members of the squad which were involved in Ireland’s last Grand Slam in 2009, but the Ulster man says they won’t need to underline the significance of it to the rest of the players this week.
“I think by and large we’re in a bubble and when things aren’t going well you’re shielded a bit from it,” he added.
“It’s the same when a massive game comes up. Everyone knows the size of the challenge. They haven’t lost there under Eddie Jones.
“It is about as much as possible trying to treat it like another game. We know what works for us.”