Wednesday 20 September 2017

People react too harshly - expect a backlash

Ireland captain Rory Best, right, with team-mates, from left, Sean O'Brien, CJ Stander, Jack McGrath, and Peter O'Mahony during squad training at Carton House, Maynooth, Co Kildare. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Ireland captain Rory Best, right, with team-mates, from left, Sean O'Brien, CJ Stander, Jack McGrath, and Peter O'Mahony during squad training at Carton House, Maynooth, Co Kildare. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Fiona Coghlan

I'm not surprised that Joe Schmidt has kept faith with the players who didn't perform last week, writes Fiona Coghlan.

He has dropped Devin Toner but I don't think that's based on just one game. Our lineout has had problems and the coach is probably also looking for more abrasiveness at the breakdown from Iain Henderson.

England will be delighted that Conor Murray is out. Kieran Marmion did well when he came on against Wales but he hasn't had much experience at this level and that's an area they'll target.

Jared Payne brings something different at full-back, and although he hasn't played at this level for a while, I'd expect him to slot in easily.

People expecting Ireland to suddenly change their style makes no sense. They beat New Zealand playing this way!

We could have beaten Scotland and Wales, we had enough possession. It was our execution that let us down and I expect that to improve tomorrow.

England were sensational against Scotland but Scotland got an early card and then a HIA and which messed up their momentum and let England get on the front foot.

England scrapped wins against France and Wales and haven't really performed consistently for 80 minutes.

Questions were raised about Rory Best and Jamie Heaslip's leadership last weekend but not prior to that. People really can be too reactionary sometimes.

I expect an Irish backlash.

Prediction: Ireland 16 England 13.

Irish Independent

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