Andy Farrell insisted continuity in Ireland team selection would not come at the expense of creativity as he kept changes to a minimum for Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations second-round visit of Wales to Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.
Don’t mention the war? It would be nice not to have to but Ireland’s Six Nations opener takes place in the engorging shadow of last autumn’s ill-starred Asian campaign. Yes, we won’t be forgetting the debacle in Vietnam – sorry, I mean Japan – any time soon. The horror, the horror remains fresh in the memory.
May I be the amongst the first to prematurely wish you a happy New Year? All the happier for United’s win at Burnley on Saturday night, of course, which left us occupying the dizzying heights of fifth place.
The song lyrics famously remind us that Spurs always win when the year ends in one but, as Mauricio Pochettino’s side face their north London derby rivals at the Emirates this weekend, Arsenal’s lucky nine could carry just as much weight.