Rugby | 4 months ago
WATCH: One scary sequence of English play that will give Joe Schmidt sleepless nights
We really need to watch out for this

Joe Schmidt will have taken note of one backline move on Saturday night that did for Wales and could cause Ireland a hell of a lot of problems next month.

Ireland's defence is either rock solid or leaks like a sieve.

For every France, South Africa [Jo'burg] and Italy game, the Irish defence gets badly punctured. Even in November victories over Canada and New Zealand, Ireland conceded too many tries for their liking.

Two games in the past 18 months have been worrying in terms of how Ireland have been cut apart out wide. Argentina tore Ireland apart by spreading it wide at pace and, at Murrayfield earlier this month, so did Scotland.

Skip passes, quick hands, wingers and fullbacks that backed themselves - bang, bang, bang.

With England arriving in Dublin on March 18 for a potential Grand Slam decider, it was downright scary to see George Ford and Owen Farrell tee up Elliot Daly with one rapid move, and two bullet passes.

On The Hard Yards rugby podcast, former Ireland international Donncha O'Callaghan said:

"There was unbelievable pressure put on the kicker [Wales centre] Jonathan Davies that made him fluff that clearing kick and I think Ford and Farrell - to be fair - those two passes are probably the best you'll see in international rugby.

"That's the beauty of having two first receivers on the pitch. For them to move the ball and get that width... I mean Farrell's pass was unbelievable but Daly still had a lot to do."


The whole sequence will be an eye-opener for Irish rugby fans.

However, playing Farrell and Ford together is not a sure-fire solution. McLaughlin noted how Rhys Webb and Liam Williams exploited Farrell's lack of midfield nous to shaft through for Wales' opening try. McLaughlin said:

"Farrell, Ford and Jack Clifford were bunched [when set up for Wales' attacking scrum] and that meant Farrell turned his shoulders in and Jonathan Joseph stayed out, [which created the gap].

"There were a few errors there - they were way too tight and Joseph should have hit in because you should never let a team get inside you. What made it tough for him is that there was two Welsh players out the back and he was cognisant of it."

McLaughlin, being a complete spoil-sport, warns that England are unlikely to make the same mistake again, either against Italy, Scotland or when they come to Dublin on March 18.

Read more about:

Ireland, Six Nations 2017, England Rugby