Ian McGeechan is adamant Ireland are not a side on the wane
Lions legend Ian McGeechan insists Ireland have no reason to hit the panic button as the dust settles on their 2010 RBS 6 Nations campaign.
Declan Kidney's side started the championship with their sights set on becoming the first team in Six Nations history to claim back-to-back Grand Slams.
But that dream was shattered in Paris as Ireland crashed to a 33-10 defeat at the hands of France in only their second outing of the championship.
Victories over England and Wales followed but a fifth Triple Crown in seven years didn't as Dan Parks' last-gasp penalty saw Scotland claim their first win of the tournament 23-20 at Croke Park on matchday five.
But despite the ultimately disappointing campaign McGeechan - who took charge of the likes of Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll and Paul O'Driscoll on the Lions tour to South Africa - is adamant Ireland have a stability most other countries dream of.
"Declan Kidney has worked his players very well," said McGeechan, who is currently working as rugby consultant at Gloucester.
"The World Cup is still more than 12 months away and Ireland are settled: you could probably select a team without a lot of trouble. That's the sort of stability that all coaches would like.
"They responded to the defeat in Paris very well and they will look hard at what happened in the last game against Scotland but, in general, they have got stability.
"I don't think there's any question of a waning team - you just have to give credit to Scotland for being pretty astute."
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.