Sunday 25 February 2018

Adopt different strategy for different opposition

Tony Ward

Tony Ward

Against the Welsh, defensively we got it so clearly and so badly wrong.

By making just the one change to his XV (Keith Earls for Fergus McFadden), when more could certainly have been justified, Kidney has given some of his tried and trusted a 'get out of jail' card they scarcely deserved. They owe him one this afternoon.

Against the Italians at the World Cup, Ireland produced one of the most complete team performances of the Kidney era.

And only Denis Leamy and Brian O'Driscoll are missing from that match-day 22.

By comparison, Italy's new broom Jacques Brunel has made a virtual clean sweep, with just six of the starting XV and two replacements from Dunedin still on board.

It is a massive turnover in such a short space for a nation with resources much more limited than our own.

At the World Cup the performance was clever and complete. We met the juggernaut head on and concentrated on attacking areas where we knew ourselves to be better equipped.

It's common sense rugby, but on that occasion, unlike Rome in the corresponding fixture last February, we dictated tempo and agenda.

Irish Independent

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