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O’Driscoll backs Six Nations relegation/promotion

After Georgia pushed Wales close it’s only a matter of time says Ireland legend

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Brian O’Driscoll
Gulf News

Dubai: Ireland 15s legend Brian O’Driscoll says it’s only a matter of time before the Six Nations embraces relegation and promotion after top tier-two side Georgia pushed Wales close in recent autumn internationals.

Georgia lost just 13-6 to the Welsh in Cardiff last month with victories over Canada 54-22 and the USA 21-20 either side.

“They are a side to be reckoned with and it’s only a matter of time before they’ll have to be brought into the mix in some capacity,” said O’Driscoll, speaking on the sidelines of the Dubai Rugby Sevens at a HSBC screening of his ‘Death Zone’ documentary, which profiled the difficulty of sevens training for the Irishman.

“Just because you’re in (the Six Nations) it shouldn’t mean you remain,” he said of the current tournament between England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy, which is held every February across Europe.

“Like all things in life and business, you have to be progressive and have an adaptability to change with time, otherwise it just stagnates.

“If something positive comes through and features for the betterment of the sport you’ve got to have open arms for it and give it an opportunity.

“The only way they’ll grow is if they get the opportunity to play against better teams, it’s like Argentina in the Rugby Championship (formerly known as the Tri-Nations when it was just between New Zealand, Australia and South Africa) they had to adapt their game, and that will happen with Georgia too.

“You get confidence from playing lower ranked teams but it’s not until you play great sides and learn how to break them down that you grow.

“The thing is you have to be careful what you wish for,” added O’Driscoll, who scored 245 points in 133 appearances for Ireland, winning two Six Nations in 2009 and 2014, the first of which was a Grand Slam.

“With the exception of England everyone in the Six Nations has probably finished bottom. But personally I would back it (relegation and promotion) because you’ve got to back yourself to finish at least — worst case — second from last. I don’t think there’s any harm in having a play-off with the winner of tier two.”

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