Most of the Ireland players may have Six Nations championship medals but claiming the Triple Crown would be "hugely important", according to Simon Easterby.

Following home wins over Scotland and Wales, it's England who stand in the way of Ireland and a 12th crown.

After a disappointing World Cup under Joe Schmidt, Andy Farrell has overseen a steady turnaround using mostly the same set of players and while the championship remains the goal, the achievement of beating the 'home nations' is not to be sniffed at, says the former Ireland flanker, who was part of the teams that won Triple Crowns in 2004, 2006 and 2007.

Easterby (r) and Malcolm O'Kelly with the prize in 2006, the first year a trophy was awarded to the winners

Easterby, now Ireland's forwards coach, said: "I think in my day it [meant a lot].

"We probably didn't have the success that team's had in the last 10 years. So Triple Crowns were precious and I think it's what you have to do to win it.

"They're probably the fiercest rivalries against the three countries you've got to beat to win the Triple Crown.

"For this year, it's two home games and one away and that one away is England here and we've done it in the past in the early 2000s. 

"We came here and won the Triple Crown but in those games, it didn't just happen, there was a huge amount of effort and work that went into receiving that trophy. 

"For me, it's still hugely important...to claim some silverware, it's another step along the way in the progression of this team, which at the moment under Faz is still in its infancy in terms of the way we want to play.

"If there's something up for grabs then it's certainly something that the players will be desperate to not only win the game but, off the back of that, it's something tangible that you can get your hands on."

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