Ireland powerhouse Sean O’Brien is already targeting a trophy at next year’s Championship after missing out on his country’s “incredible campaign” at the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations.
Joe Schmidt’s Ireland took the Championship title just three weeks ago and did so in perfect style, sealing a famous first Grand Slam since 2009.
O’Brien, 31, is one of Ireland and Leinster Rugby’s leading players and was impressive on The British & Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand last summer.
The flanker has been beset by a shoulder problem in recent months but clearly has unfinished business with Ireland and enjoyed the efforts of his countrymen.
“When you miss the likes of a Grand Slam year like this year, it does hurt a little bit,” said the Leinster flanker.
“But I always try to look at the positives. Next year is a World Cup year and there’s a Championship to play for, so there’s two massive opportunities to go and win two more trophies.
“I watched it (Ireland’s final 2018 NatWest 6 Nations fixture against England) in a local pub beside my brother-in-law’s house with my best friend and about 10 others.
“There were a few moments in the game where I don’t know if I was a fan or not.
“The frustration would come out when England were getting a bit of ascendancy at different times but I was shouting and roaring at the telly like anyone else and delighted at the end of it all!
“You can only be delighted for the way they (Ireland) went about their business. They were always in control – that was an incredible campaign.”
O’Brien is nearing full fitness and hopes to make his return for Leinster this month, with a Champions Cup semi-final against Scarlets to come on Saturday 21 April.
The likes of fellow Ireland and Leinster players Dan Leavy and James Ryan enjoyed excellent campaigns themselves in the 2018 NatWest 6 Nations, and O’Brien was full of praise for his young teammates.
“He’s playing unbelievably well (Leavy), but all the young lads are like that,” added O’Brien.
“They’ve no fear and that’s the thing about them. And they haven’t felt that losing feeling either. Hopefully, it stays that way.”