Friday 30 September 2016

Brian O'Driscoll criticises Ireland's lack of an offload game and approach to line breaks

Published 19/02/2016 | 20:06

Brian O'Driscoll wants more offloading from Ireland
Brian O'Driscoll wants more offloading from Ireland

Ireland had just THREE offloads in the opening two rounds of the RBS Six Nations and Brian O'Driscoll believes it's time for Joe Schmidt's side to adapt their approach.

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Coupled with their lack of offloads, Ireland failed to make any clean line breaks last week in the 10-9 defeat at the hands of France at the Stade de France.

Schmidt's risk-averse style has yielded the last two Six Nations championships but our record tryscorer believes that the time has come for Ireland to begin offloading again.

Speaking on Off The Ball on Newstalk, the Leinster, Ireland and Lions legend suggested that players are not prepared to offload because they know it will result in criticism from their head coach.

He said: "I think there is an aspect that players look back on the video or moments in the game and maybe if Joe wasn't there coach and didn't know that he would pick them up on certain aspects of the video work or throwing an offload...

"I mean Zebo a couple of years ago, against Australia, threw a great offload and it didn't go to hand but it was definitely the right option and they scored up the other end.

"Now I don't know, I wasn't part of that conversation, but Joe's philosophy is that it's the right offload if it goes to hand. Sometimes, that can't be the way, you're going to lose a few offloads here and there but high risk, high reward and even risk, reward.

"I feel as though there is definitely scope to throw a few more."

O'Driscoll also said that the problem of Ireland lack of line breaks was being compounded by the fact that Irish players were not gambling on a break occurring in the first place.

"I wonder as well on our line breaks whether we're expecting players to go through," he added.

"Players should interpret that a break is going to happen and get there and if it doesn't you just back-pedal and realign.

"You don't stay back.

"When a line break is made you have to have the ability to react to that and see it happening in real-time as it transpires."

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