New England boss Martin Johnson believes Declan Kidney can lead Ireland to a first Six Nations championship this season - but he still wants to spoil the party in Dublin this Saturday. Six years after he insulted President Mary McAleese and the nation at Lansdowne Road, Johnson will be back in town again with an English rugby team. Captain in 2003 when he refused to move the England team down the red carpet and stood his ground in Dublin 4, Johnson will doubtless come in for stick from the home crowd this weekend. Even his statement to Star Sunday outlining Ireland's credentials as potential Six Nations champions won't spare Johnson from that sort of welcome come Saturday. But the former England and Lions star is adamant that table toppers Ireland have what it takes to win a first title even if his side will put it up to them on their return to Croker. "I like Declan Kidney as a coach and I believe he has a side at his disposal now that will fancy their chances to have a go at this tournament," Johnson said. "Declan is a good coach and he is a winner which is vital at this level. He proved that with Munster and from what we have seen of Ireland so far in this competition he has brought that winning mentality with him to the national team. "Looking at it from the outside Declan has a well balanced squad now with lots of experience and some very good young players now coming through and into the team. "That mixture is working well for Ireland and they are right to feel good about themselves in this championship." England were so strong six years ago that Johnson could afford to be arrogant to the point of being rude in the pre-match build-up at Lansdowne Road. There will be no such cockiness about the visitors this time around as they return to the scene of a Croke Park annihilation two years ago when Ireland scored a record 43-13 win. "We have to be honest and admit that Ireland totally outplayed England that day," added Johnson. "It is always difficult to win in Dublin, but I think the 2007 game proved that Croke Park is a particularly passionate stadium and I will expect nothing less next weekend. "It is clearly a hard place to win as our last experience taught us, but at least we know what we are facing now, both in terms of the venue and the challenge that Ireland will present to us as the championship leaders."
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