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The Breakdown | Ireland grand slam and Leinster double make it a green-tinted 2018

While Ireland and Leinster stood out, Saracens re-established themselves as England’s leading club, but Australia and Leicester will be pleased to see the back of this year

This was the year of the Irish, if not London Irish who plunged back into the Championship at the first attempt. Ireland won the grand slam and beat New Zealand at home for the first time and Leinster secured the Pro14 and European Champions Cup double.

Ireland were named team of the year at World Rugby’s awards bash last month and Joe Schmidt and Johnny Sexton won the coach and player categories. It was the cleanest of sweeps and the question to be answered is whether it came a year too early.

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