Former Eire star backs URC league after Andy Farrell’s aspect retain Six Nations title | Rugby | Sport

Former Irish worldwide Andrew Conway has backed the United Rugby Championship after Andy Farrell’s group made it back-to-back Six Nations titles. Conway, who received 32 caps for his nation earlier than being pressured to retire in November final yr with a knee harm, spent his total membership profession within the competitors, taking part in for Leinster from 2010 to 2013 earlier than spending a decade at Munster.

The competitors has undergone quite a few alterations since Irish provinces had been first launched into the then-named Celtic League in 2001, with Leinster (eight), Munster (4), Connaught and Ulster having claimed 14 of the 22 titles on provide since. And in Wales specifically, the league has turn into maligned with the 4 skilled sides stricken by a lack of funding and the wrestle to compete with their counterparts.

However Conway argued that the introduction of the South African groups into the competitors in 2017/18 had added a brand new dimension, and helped put together gamers stepping as much as their nationwide sides. “Leinster high the desk however will not be dominating,” he mentioned, by way of

“The Welsh sides are having a troublesome interval however Glasgow and Edinburgh are each difficult. And the journeys to South Africa are robust, however assist get gamers into the mode of getting to journey away and carry out.

“So right here in Eire there hasn’t been many criticisms over the usual or the competitiveness of the league. Though the depth of the European competitions is clearly better, the URC nonetheless supplies an actual check for our groups.”

Conway, 32, received two league crowns in his profession and was additionally pivotal to Eire’s Triple Crown success in 2022. His former aspect appeared odds-on to turn into the primary aspect within the Six Nations period to win consecutive Grand Slams, however regardless of retaining the Championship a last-ditch loss to England at Twickenham scuppered that dream.

The competitors adopted an agonising World Cup quarter-final defeat to New Zealand, with many having tipped Farrell’s males to go all the way in which in France. However Conway additionally argued there had been no hangover from the match following the retirements of icons equivalent to Jonny Sexton and Keith Earls.

“Shedding Jonny (Sexton) after he’s been so necessary to so lengthy clearly takes some getting used to,” he added. “Nevertheless it’s given the prospect for contemporary blood to return in and there’s nonetheless loads of expertise within the group and competitors for locations.”

Eire’s subsequent problem will are available in July on a two-test tour of South Africa. In November, Farrell’s aspect will then host New Zealand, Argentina, Fiji and Australia of their Autumn Worldwide Collection matches.

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