Friday 9 December 2016

Flexible Irish can test the Scots' form

David Wallace

Published 18/03/2016 | 02:30

Ireland's Fergus McFadden on his way to scoring his side's ninth try against Italy last week Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
Ireland's Fergus McFadden on his way to scoring his side's ninth try against Italy last week Photo: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

It wasn't a case of Italy being that bad last weekend, I just thought Ireland were a class above and they played with a clear ambitious plan which was executed excellently.

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Ireland weren't sauntering through gaps in the middle of the field by any means. They had to work for their opportunities and they got the ball wide when the opportunities presented themselves.

It was the obvious tactic when we saw what England and Scotland did to Italy; they spread the ball every time and eventually the gaps came. Ireland were even attacking off a scrum deep in their own 22. It's good to see them having played with such a contrasting style in this game.

The Irish tactics are often very rigid, and this may have led to the downfall in the World Cup. But they can mix it too, and after the game against Wales it was obvious they had a threat in those wide channels.

Ireland got a lot of joy from it too against Italy, Jamie Heaslip's try was arguably the best we have seen in the tournament this year.

And if they can re-create that style against Scotland, they will find the gaps - even against a much tougher defence.

Irish Independent

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