“That was all good stuff for our friends at SportsJOE.ie, who I’m sure are listening… “
And a big ‘Kia Ora’ to you, too. The Rugby Direct team were spitting off some hot-takes before this Saturday’s quarter final between Ireland and New Zealand, and it was a Tadhg Furlong remark that caught our ear.
The enjoyable Kiwi rugby podcast is gearing up for this weekend’s last eight clash in Paris, and hosts Elliott Smith and Liam Napier provided a comprehensive review, slated Scotland, selected a combined XV and dug in on a couple of Ireland’s key players.
In making up their combined Ireland and All Blacks XV, Napier selected Johnny Sexton ahead of Richie Mo’unga for the 10 jersey. He argued that leading Ireland to a World Cup win ‘would elevate him to the Dan Carter and Jonny Wilkinson echelon’, then added:
“I don’t have a lot of love for Johnny, I’m going to be honest. I think he can be very self-entitled and is very confronting [in] his approach to match officials. He comes across as a guy that can’t be touched, at times, without some kind of reaction, but he is an absolute lynchpin for Ireland.”
While that may be a touch harsh from Napier, some of his points have merit. The comments on Tadhg Furlong, though, stand out even more.
Tadhg Furlong form discussed
From the Rugby Direct discussion on a combined XV, it is clear to see how much respect they have for Ireland. The likes of Will Jordan and Ardie Savea are two of a handful of Kiwi picks but it is an Irish-dominated team.
Tadhg Furlong is one of a clutch of Ireland forwards included, but Elliott Smith feels the Leinster tighthead has dropped off from his peak powers. He commented:
“Tadhg Furlong is a very, very good scrummager – the Irish tighthead – probably not as good as he once was, to be honest.
“There was a period where I genuinely thought he was probably the best in the world, for a period of time. He has probably gone backwards a little bit, but he’s still very, very good – a very good scrummager. Any weaknesses in Ethan de Groot that he can expose, he’ll be absolutely going to the hilt there.”
Tadhg Furlong and Johnny Sexton are both holders of the best winning Test record for any Irish players in rugby history. However, Furlong faced the ABs for the first time in November 2016 so has a better record, in terms of win %.
The Wexford native has faced New Zealand in Test action 11 times [11 starts], won six, drawn once and lost times.
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