Wednesday 28 September 2016

Ireland and Wales set the standard again

Johnny O'Connor

Published 12/02/2016 | 02:30

Ireland's Nathan White is tackled by Wales' Samson Lee at the Aviva Stadium last Sunday. Photo: PA
Ireland's Nathan White is tackled by Wales' Samson Lee at the Aviva Stadium last Sunday. Photo: PA

The Irish and Welsh game last weekend really restored my faith in the 2016 Six Nations after the snore-fest that went before, writes Johnny O'Connor.

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I love the game of rugby and it pains me to see matches like what Italy and France, and England and Scotland, served up. It was a poor reflection on the Championship and was nothing like last year's dramatic final day.

But Ireland's 16-16 draw with Wales breathed new life into the Championship, although it is still only the first round. Northern hemisphere rugby is alive and well, and particularly Ireland's performance in the opening quarter, I thought that showed that the European sides can play the free-flowing rugby.

It was a massive change from the World Cup, where Argentina took advantage of our lack of inventiveness.

Ireland looked like a different side with the way the forwards carried into contact, and it wasn't purely ruck-based attack.

Players were instead focused on shifting the point of attack, and given that it was their first game of the Championship it was always going to be difficult to sustain the energy levels, especially against a seasoned Welsh outfit.

Irish Independent

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