Friday 31 March 2017

Genius in working clothes

Brian O'Driscoll makes the difficult look simple

A match replete with superlatives. Leinster, champions because they beat real champions on the way. A defining contribution from a rugby divinity. This photograph is a study in athletic grace. It has connotations of Michelangelo's iconic image of the hand of God giving life to Adam, captured on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

In the modern game of pressurised stalemate, continuity is the lifeblood of the game. If ever there was an image which caught the fulfilled expression of the skill -- this is it.

Jonny Sexton won the plaudits for the half-time exhortations and two timely tries, but if you study the second half, it was the master who led the way.

This pass led to a score. It is great to be able to freeze time and show the anatomy of something as simple as a pass in and out of contact.

Ben Foden's tackle is sure, but both of his feet are off the ground which means that the tackle was effected on O'Driscoll's terms. He stepped Foden before the contact.

The eyes are everything. Great players have phenomenal peripheral vision -- they see support players tracking behind them even though their eyes are out front.

As he goes to ground, O'Driscoll turns, the move dies if he takes the ball to ground with him, it breathes life if he transfers.

In the meat of the tackle the pass is sympathetic and the support player glides through. Great technique, great execution, a difficult skill made look simple in this photograph.

Genius in its working clothes.

Neil Francis

Sunday Indo Sport

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