Even with the disappointing show in France I believe that Ireland will be there or thereabouts in this tournament. The opening game against Italy will be crucial as a means to restoring confidence. A win there allows the side to build and I don't feel we should have anything to fear from playing anyone, even England.
Some of our key players have got back into form and Ronan O'Gara has played very well for Munster in Europe - which was the first opportunity he has had to show people that the World Cup was not a true representation of him as a player. I'm sure he will continue that fine form in the RBS 6 Nations.
If I had to pick a winner I would go for France. There are a number of unfamiliar names in their squad but I cannot recall the French selecting many players who have flopped at international level and there are some excellent young players in there. They have a strength in depth that a lot of other teams simply do not have.