Sunday 17 December 2017


Hugh Farrelly

Against South Africa, Ireland conceded 11 penalties which, considering the pressure they were under for the majority of the game, was not a bad return.

Keith Brown arrives with a different mindset to Nigel Owens, however, and his Super 14 attitude to the breakdown places a prerogative on the Irish to stay on the right side of the Kiwi.

The bigger discipline issue could be the Samoans and their propensity for monster hits. While kamikaze tackling has always been a crowd-pleaser and one of the defining characteristics of Samoan rugby (who can forget Brian 'The Chiropractor' Lima?), it is also an activity that invites yellow cards. Lima is no longer around, but in English Premiership powerhouses Seilala Mapusua and Alessana Tuilagi (pictured), Samoa have two beasts who relish physical confrontation. Boylesports are offering 3/1 on two Samoans spending time in the bin today and that looks like a tasty bet, although, hopefully, with no injury consequences. If Samoa's discipline deserts them, it will play into the hands of Ronan O'Gara, who will be desperate to hold his hand up for retention against New Zealand with as a big a points haul as possible.

Irish Independent

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