Sport Rugby

Thursday 22 February 2018

Prop experts sought out to develop Irish scrum

Hugh Farrelly

FORWARDS coach Gert Smal has been seeking the advice of scrummaging experts Paul McCarthy and Reggie Corrigan as work continues on improving the scrum and bringing through Irish props.

Last week in the Irish Independent, ex-Ireland prop Emmet Byrne suggested McCarthy and Corrigan as possible 'mentors' to help develop props at provincial and national level and it has been confirmed that both men are being used in this regard.

The Ireland scrum has been consistently targeted by opponents and this step is in keeping with the Ireland management's desire to work with the provinces in relation to Irish-qualified players such as Tony Buckley, John Hayes, Mike Ross, Cian Healy and Tom Court.

McCarthy won five caps for Ireland and was part of the Munster scrum that forced world champions Australia into the concession of a penalty-try in the famous 1992 victory at Musgrave Park. He also worked with Buckley, Hayes and Marcus Horan during his time as Munster scrum coach under Declan Kidney while ex-international Corrigan is currently looking after the Leinster scrum, which includes Healy and Ross, and worked with Court during his previous role with Ulster.

Last Saturday, Ireland were penalised in the scrum close to their line and Wales opted for another put-in believing they had the upper hand. Instead, Ireland shunted Wales off the ball and won a turnover described by both camps as a turning point.

Last week, Smal said he was far more encouraged by the propping depth than when he came on board with Ireland in 2008.

Irish Independent

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