Sunday 25 June 2017

The Left Wing talking points: Reckless Fekitoa should have seen red

'No doubt, New Zealand were up for the game but they crossed the line, especially with Malakai Fekitoa’s high hit on Simon Zebo which merited a red card in my book' Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
'No doubt, New Zealand were up for the game but they crossed the line, especially with Malakai Fekitoa’s high hit on Simon Zebo which merited a red card in my book' Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Watching Ireland's defeat to New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, I was really, really disappointed in referee Jaco Peyper's performance.

I thought that some of the penalties that New Zealand racked up when Ireland were in good positions, he didn't really act upon bar the Aaron Smith yellow card.

The high tackling too. No doubt, New Zealand were up for the game but they crossed the line, especially with Malakai Fekitoa's high hit on Simon Zebo which merited a red card in my book, no doubt.

Joe Schmidt is very meticulous, he's probably the best coach in the world and he doesn't leave a stone un-turned.

There were times I came into Leinster on a Sunday after games and he'd have four or five A4 pages prepared of notes on the referee.

I'd expect there to be some sort of repercussions, because even from an unbiased stand-point there were a couple of decisions that were really, really poor.

Ireland are well set up in defence, with four attackers on an initial Ireland two, with Conor Murray coming across to support and Rob Kearney coming up to mark Julian Savea as Johnny Sexton sweeps across to cover.
Ireland are well set up in defence, with four attackers on an initial Ireland two, with Conor Murray coming across to support and Rob Kearney coming up to mark Julian Savea as Johnny Sexton sweeps across to cover.

It will be interesting to see what transpires for Peyper, and for Sam Cane and Fekitoa, who have been cited.

Pace makes Barrett a class apart

Beauden Barrett has been spectacular all year.

The one thing that stands out for me - and I don't think it's very evident when you look at the All Black No 10 - is he is so strong. We saw that for his tackle on Sean O'Brien when he held him up and prevented a try.

His pace is electric, he's so quick off the mark and has really good high-end pace; he's like a winger. He's probably quicker than most international wingers and we saw that with New Zealand's second try. That was a great example of the world champions doing the basics well and getting a reward.

Ireland are well set up in defence, with four attackers on an initial Ireland two, with Conor Murray coming across to support and Rob Kearney coming up to mark Julian Savea as Johnny Sexton sweeps across to cover.

New Zealand back their handling and the individual's physical prowess.

They're really, really good one on one and they're hard to stop.

Barrett wants Jared Payne, who is standing outside Murray, to make a decision. He keeps the ball in two hands, so Payne has to respect the pass.

Ideally, Payne wants to get out to Anton Lienert-Brown, so Barrett backs his pace against Conor Murray, who usually is one of Ireland's best defenders. It just shows you how good Barrett is.

Ruaidhri O’Connor and Luke Fitzgerald in The Left Wing studio
Ruaidhri O’Connor and Luke Fitzgerald in The Left Wing studio

Back-row battle will be crucial

The back-row were outstanding all day against New Zealand, whether it be in the tackle or at the breakdown, which is such a strength for the All Blacks.

You have to be at the top of your game at ruck-time and the boys were brilliant there.

They carried really well, which is absolutely essential against the world champions, you can't allow them have too much momentum. If you're defending all day, they have the players to make you pay, as they showed.

Sean O'Brien coming back having not played an international for such a long time, it was a Trojan effort; losing CJ Stander early in the game and the way Josh van der Flier stepped up and then there was Jamie Heaslip who had a mammoth performance. He's going through a rich vein of form.

The Australia game will see another huge battle at the breakdown, with Michael Hooper and David Pocock it's always a huge fight.

Often against Australia if you can get parity on that part of the pitch against those guys, you'll be in a good position.

Irish Independent

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport