It’s been a cause for concern for most of this year’s Six Nations Championship and today Ireland’s lack of invention and ability to score tries was ultimately their downfall in Cardiff.
Joe Schmidt’s men have relied on the right boot of Johnny Sexton in the crucial tight games against France and England and today that right boot misfired and Ireland lost.
“I think Ireland made four times as many metres as Wales, four times as many runs, twice as much possession, twice as much territory,” said The Independent’s David Kelly.
“In any sporting contest there is something in those figures and the main figure on the scoreline also tells the story. They didn’t maximise the pressure on the scoreboard.
“They had chances, they spurned overlaps, they spurned two attacking lineouts, they had an attacking scrum, they had oceans of chances to score. Wales took their only scoring chance to increase their lead to seven points and after the early penalties, that’s all they needed.
“Johnny Sexton didn’t have that nine or ten out of ten that we expected from him and outside him Simon Zebo didn’t show any spark and had his poorest game in quite a while and there just wasn’t any invention from the midfield.
“There is a lot of intensity and honesty of effort but sometimes at this level to win a Grand Slam, to win possibly another Championship, that’s probably not enough.”
Ruaidhri O’Connor pinpointed Ireland’s lineout as one area where the game was lost.
“I thought Paul O’Connell had a good game in open play but himself and Simon Easterby need to have an inquest as to what went wrong with that lineout. You can’t win Test matches losing that much of your own ball,” said O’Connor.
“I thought Rory Best’s throwing was a bit off but Wales really seemed to know where the Irish ball was going all the time. Warren Gatland came in for a bit of criticism this week and he and his coaching staff put together a game plan and a set-piece that really did a job on Ireland today.”