Ollie Barrett: Shoulder to shoulder ... why heroic Ireland needs to rethink the smother tackle
SO close and Ireland gave it their all. There is no doubt about that. But the ruck needs to be addressed in terms of what is the most effective way to clear out players. And this business of the smother tackle of going for the ball is not a good defensive technique when the attacking player has plenty of support. Even if he hadn't any support, its still not the way to impede the attacking teams progress.
Whether it’s coaching or a cop-out on the part of the players, the way to clear out a ruck is with the good old shoulder coupled with a torso parallel to the ground. On top of that add in plenty of velocity having picked the target area of impact. All too often the Irish enter the ruck and try to wrestle away the interfering player by using their arms. A far more effective tool is the shoulder and the 18 plus stones of energy transferred through it. They don't utilise their body weight near enough.
Again Ireland stop when over the ball and consider their work in the ruck to be complete. The job is done when the way is cleared and the ball presented to the scrum half for quick distribution. Speed is the name of the game. Speed and quick hands...and the old adage, let the ball do the work.