Tuesday 19 February 2019

The All Blacks pay a massive compliment to Johnny Sexton, Joe Schmidt and Robbie Henshaw

Robbie Henshaw of Ireland touches down the ball to score the opening try despite the efforts of Alex Goode of England during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium on March 1, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland
Robbie Henshaw of Ireland touches down the ball to score the opening try despite the efforts of Alex Goode of England during the RBS Six Nations match between Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium on March 1, 2015 in Dublin, Ireland

The official All Blacks website has lavished praise on Irish coach Joe Schmidt and attacking duo Johnny Sexton and Robbie Henshaw.

Ireland are now on a record-equalling run after 10 wins on the bounce and the feat has not gone unnoticed in the land of the world number ones.

It isn't any secret that Johnny Sexton is a sensation but that doesn't mean that we tire of hearing it.

In an article entitled 'nine things the All Blacks might have noticed in the Six Nations', James Mortimer wrote: "If Ireland is becoming – or has become – the biggest local threat ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, then the most dangerous man among the squad is Jonathan Sexton.

"Hailed in the old continent as the best number ten operating in the game, his performance against England showed why he is held is such esteem.

"First five-eighths in the Southern Hemisphere might bristle at this tag but won’t deny the perils the 29-year-old can bring to an opposition defence."

They are equally as impressed with Joe Schmidt: "Joe Schmidt is working his magic. The one time Ranfurly Shield coach has now matched Ireland’s greatest ever winning streak (10).

"This victory comes after England ruined their Grand Slam dream last year - their last loss - and now Argentina (twice), Australia and South Africa have been conquered.

"Keeping a lid on expectations will be key. If the mighty feat of a Slam is achieved, it will be difficult for the Irish to keep their craic under control heading into the Rugby World Cup."

They drew comparisons with Connacht's Robbie Henshaw and New Zealand legend Ma'a Nonu.

"The weight of a player, like any human being, can be a fickle thing, but most guides agree that 21-year-old Athlone born Robbie Henshaw, weighs just over 16 stone in the old language (102kg)," he added.

"They may not have the hands that throw passes like silk rain in the midfield (BOD), but the Irish now have a raw power that looks at home in chaos of an international centre channel.

"The athletic back scored what was, considering England’s fight back in the back end, the match winning try.

"More importantly it has ensured that Ireland need only pay their respects to Brian O’Driscoll. They need not mourn his absence with the likes of the Connacht wunderkind stepping into the midfield."

They also credit Greg Feek for Ireland's strong performance in the 'supposed' weakness... the scrum.

"England said they would be coming at Ireland with all they had at the set piece and they weren’t wrong, but while the English front row had successfully bent many opposition front rows over so they could see their own behinds, the Irish pack is now made of sterner stuff.

"With Greg Feek overseeing the scrum doctrines for the Emerald Isle, the so called vulnerability of Ireland’s set piece is exactly that - so called. It might not be an area of the game the defending Six Nations champion’s target, but it is an area will they will not be beaten."

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