When it comes to picking the greatest year in the history of Irish rugby, it'll be hard to top 2018. Sure, we also won a Grand Slam in 1948 and 2009 but neither of these successes had the icing on the cake that is a victory over the All Blacks.
Throw in a series win down in Australia and Leinster's Champions Cup success and it's a year that will be pretty difficult to beat. Unless, of course, we finally get our mitts on the Webb Ellis trophy in Japan in 2019.
In the past, it has been noted that the Six Nations is somewhat diluted in a World Cup year as managers and players set their sights on bigger prizes ahead. Well, if anyone thinks this is an attitude that will be adopted by Joe Schmidt and his men then they've got another thing coming.
Especially not with the strength of this squad that was picked for the first two matches...
Here's the Ireland squad for the opening rounds of @SixNationsRugby
3 uncapped players and several 'tight calls' says Head Coach Joe Scmidt.#TeamOfUs #Ireland #ShoulderToShoulder #GuinnessSixNations pic.twitter.com/FbfH3jNS2G
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) January 16, 2019
As usual, Ireland will be fully focused on taking down their near neighbours in the hope of being crowned kings of the Six Nations once more and if the games allow Schmidt to sharpen some game plans ahead of traveling to the Far East then that'll be a bonus.
It all gets underway on Saturday February 2 against the Old Enemy of England and with all matches being shown on Virgin Media, none of us will miss a minute.
— Irish Rugby (@IrishRugby) January 11, 2019
Here are the all important dates and times to make sure you've got nothing else on. 'Mon Ireland!
Saturday February 2 - 4.45pm England (H)
Saturday February 9 - 2.15pm Scotland (A)
Sunday February 24 - 3pm Italy (A)
Sunday March 10 - 3pm France (H)
Saturday March 16 - 2.45pm Wales (A)