"Ireland could put 25, 30 points on Scotland" - Ugo Monye backing Irish win at Murrayfield
"They're pretty good. They're pretty good."
"You know what's wild?" Ugo Monye asked, before going on to lay out just how good he believes this Ireland team, under the guidance of Andy Farrell and Johnny Sexton, are.
We are three rounds into the 2023 Six Nations and while four times are still in with a title chance, only Ireland can still chase the Grand Slam. They are away to Scotland, next, before hosting England at Aviva Stadium on March 18.
On the BBC's Rugby Union Daily, former Scotland star John Barclay joined Monye, Jonathan Davies and Chris Jones, recently, to pore over some of the championship's biggest storylines and performances. On Ireland, Barclay reflected:
"With [the] bonus points wins, it's their's to lose... they are essentially a Leinster team with just a few others to come in, it's amazing to watch. They play on a different level, right now, to any other team in the world."
High praise indeed, but Monye had something to add. The former England and Lions star had some portentous comments for Scotland supporters that are targeting a Murrayfield win that will keep them in the title hunt.
Ugo Monye talks up Ireland
Ireland are clear atop the World Rugby rankings, won a Test Series away to New Zealand and have beaten the likes of Wales, France, Australia and world champions South Africa on their eight-game winning streak.
It is hardly ground-breaking to talk up this Ireland team, right now, but Ugo Monye went further than even some of the most optimistic Irish rugby writers and pundits would dare. He said:
"Do you know what's wild with Ireland? We're all agreed that Scotland are pretty good, right? They've played very well in their last few matches. I think Ireland could put 25, 30 points on Scotland.
"We're talking about ball-in-play time. How many opportunities did Ireland waste [against France]? Wasted a few and still got a bonus point win over the number two team in the world, comfortable. There wasn't a time when things got tight and you thought, 'Jeez, this might get close'. Thomas Ramos got his drop goal, then Ireland went up and scored a try.
"This is not me being [against Scotland and] being a bitter England supporter, it's just that Ireland are at a stage where if you give them opportunities - and they also create their own - they will take everything away from you."
All John Barclay could manage was asking Monye that if Ireland could beat Scotland with 25 or 30 points to spare, what could they do to England in Dublin. "Oh my gosh!" Monye exclaimed.
That Ireland vs. Scotland clash was also discussed by myself and Jason Hennessy in the RugbyJOE Six Nations Corner, with both of us siding with a tight Ireland win at Murrayfield. Since losing 32-20 to France, on Sunday, Scotland remain second but five points adrift of Ireland.
The biggest variable for Ireland, we argued, is how many senior stars come straight back into the starting XV now that Andy Farrell has declared them fit and back training, from Wednesday, again.
WATCH RUGBYJOE's SIX NATIONS CORNER:
- Ireland vs Italy: All the big talking points, moments and player ratings
- Two big calls in our Ireland team that needs to start against Scotland
- The winners and losers from Ireland's Italian job
- "Apologies for the language" - Bundee Aki frustrations picked up on ref microphone during Italy win
- Lawrence Dallaglio makes seismic Ireland claim as Brian O’Driscoll praises Caelan Doris