Captain Johnny Sexton says Triple Crown success is just one step on Ireland’s road to next year’s World Cup.
The Irish clinched their first major title of Andy Farrell’s reign after a dominant 26-5 bonus points win over Scotland in Dublin.
But Farrell’s men were denied absolute Guinness Six Nations glory when France later completed the Grand Slam by beating England in Paris.
Attempts from Dan Sheehan, Cian Healy, Josh Van Der Flier and Conor Murray threw down the gauntlet at Les Bleus while Sexton added three conversions.
The veteran Fly-half is encouraged by Ireland’s recent progress and looking to the 2023 tournament in France full of confidence.
He said: “We have great potential, don’t we?
“That’s what we have at the moment and we need to make it a reality and we need to keep building whatever it is over the next 18 months to make sure that when the time comes, we do something Have taken time different approach.
“We’ve already talked about this being the journey, which is a different approach than the previous management I’ve worked under, which I think is the right way to go.
“We are confident in the journey we are on. But for now it’s just an opportunity. We have to keep evolving.”
Loss to champions France in the second round of the championship ultimately denied Ireland the title.
They bounced back from the narrow 24-30 loss at the Stade de France with three straight bonus point wins and made 13 of 14 wins dating back to the end of last year’s Six Nations.
Sexton admitted he was nervous ahead of Scotland’s visit – who scored a consolation goal through Pierre Schoeman – and believes Ireland’s players have shown what it means to don the green jersey.
“I wanted us to have something to show for all our hard work over the past few weeks,” said the 36-year-old, who celebrated the Triple Crown triumph by taking his kids on a lap of honor at the Aviva Stadium.
“It’s an incredible environment. It was more about the squad. That’s it. I wanted us to do our best. We didn’t quite make it but we did good things sometimes and we showed courage and showed everyone in the stadium what it means to us to play for Ireland. That’s the most important.
“Three bonus point wins in a row after recovering from the loss in Paris, so I’m very proud of this team and everyone in it.”
Ireland recorded consecutive third-place finishes in their first two Six Nations seasons under head coach Farrell, who replaced Joe Schmidt after the 2019 World Cup.
They were eliminated within two rounds of the title fight last year and Sexton recognizes how quickly circumstances in the sport can change.
He said: “We come from some low times. It’s only been a few years since we were written off. The coach was written off, the captain was written off and the team was written off.
“It’s pretty volatile, sport, isn’t it? So we’re going to keep our feet on the ground because we know how fickle it is. I’m just proud to be part of this group. Yes, there is a very special atmosphere in here now.”
https://www.independent.ie/sport/johnny-sexton-believes-triple-crown-win-is-one-step-on-irelands-road-to-success-41466547.html Johnny Sexton believes winning the Triple Crown is a step on Ireland’s road to success