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Tindall: Ireland won't win World Cup playing with such a strict structure


World wary: Mike Tindall

World wary: Mike Tindall

World wary: Mike Tindall

Former England captain Mike Tindall doesn't see how Ireland can win the 2019 Rugby World Cup, as currently constituted.

He isn't even open to changing his mind if Ireland can topple New Zealand at the Aviva on Saturday (KO 7.0, RTÉ 2).

"It won't change my mind on where they are now," he said, on the Guinness-sponsored House of Rugby.

"I don't think they can win the World Cup playing the way they play at the moment."

In fairness, the reasons behind Tindall's opinion are valid enough and shared by many on this side of the Irish sea.

"What they are getting done is getting wins," he said.

"What I would add is that under Schmidt they have developed so much.

"I am not saying in a year they can't develop," he said.

The 2003 World Cup winner is open to being convinced by seeing Ireland expand their game.

The grinding style used by Joe Schmidt is too narrow, too restricted to work over the course of the World Cup.

"I think they did around 400 passes (it was 240) at the weekend.

"How many of them were to a forward, two men either side of him, and they run into a brick wall?

"Why did Argentina have a lot of success? Because they stopped them on the gain line.

"Now, Argentina made nine (6 actually)line-breaks to their one, or something like that.

"I'm not saying Ireland can't develop that," he stated.

"At the moment, they are relying heavily on their forwards to do that job, who are doing an amazing job.

"I would probably say they are the form pack in the world.

"I just think they need to add a few more strings.

"You can see when you watch Ireland play, they have a very strict structure that they play to."

The omission of Ireland's first choice scrum-half this month has removed the box-kicking brilliance that is usually a major part of their strategy.

"One of the reasons they got into trouble on the weekend (against Argentina)is that they didn't have Conor Murray.

"Their exits weren't quite as good for going up for high ball, which is normally their strength.

"They had enough control with 65-70 per cent of possession and territory.

"There is just that question mark. Now, I hope to be proved wrong. They just need a little bit more."

No doubt, the Irish will have to be sharper to cut down space and time and show more bite in the tackle to prevent the All Blacks from streaming beyond the gain line.

For example, New Zealand could barely escape their own half for 35 minutes in Twickenham.

Once they earned a scrum inside the 22, Ryan Crotty shot forward and Damian McKenzie took Beauden Barrett's inside ball sliding to the house.

"If New Zealand get nine line-breaks against them, they will convert most of them because that's what they do," Tindall noted.

This was not just a bashing exercise of Ireland by the former centre, stressing how his strong opinion is based on what he is seeing now, not what he will see in Japan.

"Again, it showed how good Ireland are. They all came off the field saying they didn't play well. And they won.

"That's, ultimately, what I have to bow down to. They win test matches," he admitted.

"Just because I don't like the style that they play doesn't mean they're not getting the job done.

"That's what they did at Soldier Field and that's what they will try and do this Saturday.

"A massive thing for them is they're comfortable winning big games.

"They have a big game mentality where they can raise their game 20 pre cent.

"They have that ability to step their game up and, I'd imagine, they will this weekend."

"Can they win? Yes, they can. I just think New Zealand will be too clinical for them."