Tuesday 27 September 2016

David Wallace: Time for Ireland to change philosophy and leave percentages behind

David Wallace

Published 23/10/2015 | 02:30

Christian Cullen
Christian Cullen

This World Cup has really highlighted the need for a change of mindset in the Northern Hemisphere, and hopefully Ireland can lead the way with a new style of play.

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I remember when Christian Cullen joined Munster - he was a fantastic player, and would always be on the shoulder looking for that pass, but we didn't have the rugby nous to exploit his skills. So he wouldn't get the pass and then would be ten metres ahead of the play and the chance would have gone with him.

It certainly looks like Ireland would benefit from playing a more heads-up style of rugby.

Playing the percentages, keeping it tight and being slightly conservative has earned them back-to-back Six Nations championships, but the adventurous teams from the southern hemisphere have taken over at this World Cup.

Argentina taught Ireland a lesson last weekend in how they played the game - they spread the ball wide at every opportunity, and they were still able to implement a structure that didn't leave them open in defence.

It's difficult to match up the two, swashbuckling attack with defensive solidity, but Ireland have four years to do it. Argentina seem to have been able to achieve great results with that kind of timeline.

It's something that needs to be introduced at underage levels around the provinces, and if Ireland can crack that and develop a new style, the talent is there to challenge the likes of New Zealand and Australia.

But it needs to come from the top too.

The times are changing and Ireland need to catch up.

Irish Independent

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