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Winning Triple Crown could be sweet and sour for Irish

DUBLIN (AFP) – Ireland winning the Triple Crown by beating Scotland today will leave the players feeling hollow if France achieve the Six Nations Grand Slam, former Ireland full-back Hugo MacNeill told AFP.

MacNeill said the satisfaction of lifting the first silverware since head coach Andy Farrell took over after the 2019 World Cup will be tempered by missing out on topping the table.

France host England after the Irish have played the Scots with the French tails up to win the title for the first time since 2010.

The odds are it will end the same as the 2004 tournament when the French secured the Grand Slam and the Irish the Triple Crown at home – the last time they won a trophy in Dublin.

“I think the Triple Crown without the championship does not mean that much really,” he told AFP.

“These guys are not going to be overly happy finishing second in a six man race.

“When we won the Triple Crown in 1982 and ‘85 we also won the championship in those two years.”

The 63-year-old 37-times capped MacNeill – who also played three Tests for the British and Irish Lions on the 1983 tour of New Zealand – said though his heart would love Ireland to be champions it would not reflect the present status amongst northern hemisphere nations.