If it goes ahead we can take title, says Dawson

Thursday, March 01, 2001
KIERON DAWSON believes Ireland can win this season’s Six Nations, but fears the outbreak of foot and mouth disease could force his side out of the tournament altogether.

Ireland have already seen one game cancelled when the tournament’s organising committee postponed Saturday’s clash with Wales.

And now Dawson declared the Irish team are preparing for the rest of their Six Nations campaign to be condemned to a similar fate.

England head to Dublin on March 24 for what has been billed as the championship showdown and Dawson believes that Six Nations success was a real possibility.

He said: “All the players are absolutely gutted that the match against Wales has been cancelled.

“Everything in Ireland is geared towards the next Six Nations match and we are exceptionally disappointed the game will not take place.

“But we understand that the farming industry is very important to the Irish economy and that no risk can be taken with people’s livelihoods. It would be typical Irish luck if the entire championship was called off as we felt we had a realistic chance of beating England.”

The London Irish flanker, who is currently recovering from injury, expects to be fit for Ireland’s final game with Scotland and feel this season’s championship is his country’s best chance of a first Grand Slam success since 1948.

He added: “The European Cup has proved that home advantage counts for a lot.

“England has a very strong side, but we felt that if we played them at home we could win the match. Unfortunately that might not happen now.

“I remember sitting in the stands in 1993 when Mick Galway scored a try and Ireland beat England. The country went mad for two weeks.

“The current team has a number of outstanding youngsters that do not carry the baggage and hoodoo of losing to France and England every year.

“There is unbelievable confidence running through the team and this is shown by our back to back victories over the French.”