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The central message to come out of the now completed Six Nations and the early stages of Super Rugby is surely that the six months that remain until the start of the Rugby World Cup is still a sod of a long time. Just a few months ago there were many who considered Ireland to be favourites. I never went along with that because the perception was based on one game. Beating the All Blacks can create a mirage effect, particularly when that victory is on your home ground against clearly fatigued opponents. In fact, England were as good against the Kiwis a week earlier. They just didn’t get the result. England, who were never at full strength in November, were always going to be strong World Cup contenders. And they remain so even though Wales emerged as deserved Six Nations champions. Wales need to be taken seriously. They are on a long winning streak which has created confidence and assurance in Warren Gatland’s team, and let’s not forget their strong challenge for the World Cup in 201...

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