| 1.8°C Dublin

'The kicking strategy was the more concerning part for me. I didn't see any change. I didn't see anything new'

Close

Conor Murray's box-kick has been a regular tactic for Ireland over the last number of years. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Conor Murray's box-kick has been a regular tactic for Ireland over the last number of years. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

Conor Murray's box-kick has been a regular tactic for Ireland over the last number of years. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Luke Fitzgerald has expressed his disappointment at the lack of change in approach shown by Ireland in Andy Farrell’s first game in charge.

Although Ireland got their Six Nations campaign off to a winning start after Saturday’s 19-12 victory over Scotland, it was a scrappy affair. Indeed had Scotland’s momentum not been stalled when captain Stuart Hogg inexplicably dropped the ball instead of grounding it with the score at 13-6, things could have been even worse.

And it was the lack of variation along with the flaws that derailed Ireland’s World Cup bid that jumped out at the former Ireland and Leinster star.

"The kicking strategy was probably the more concerning part for me. I didn't see any change in that. I didn't see them trying anything new," Fitzgerald told The Left Wing, Independent.ie’s rugby podcast in association with Land Rover.

"I didn't see them varying it and making it challenging for people in the back-field or other teams to know what they're going to do. It looked really stagnant and very samey.

"As soon as they lost any kind of momentum, I just saw them go to that box-kick from Connor Murray. And for the most part, they had that blocked out bar that stupid penalty Scotland gave away against Andrew Conway.

"I saw one really good grubber from a winger down the line throughout the whole game and otherwise didn’t see that employed. And I thought there were lots of opportunities to do that.

"They chose to run a few of them but I didn't really see them breaking them down. There were loads of really good opportunities to kick from those positions.

"Jordan Larmour Is actually a really good kicker of the ball and so is Stockdale. They're parts of the game that I’d love to see some growth in. Maybe a few chipping strategies where they say we're going to do more of this or even more from Johnny Sexton.

"Because it looked like they hadn't put much thought into that and they hadn't changed anything. I just want to see something different. I'm sick of seeing the same thing."

While it was what he witnessed in the defence that worried him most, Fitzgerald clarified that he was prepared to give the attacking side of Ireland’s game more time to gell under the new boss.

But with the quick turnaround before a huge game against Wales this weekend, whether there's enough time to implement the level of change needed remains to be seen.

"You always have to temper it because it's quite rare that you get off to a blistering start in an attacking sense consistently for 80 minutes. You might get a few flurries in the game, but generally speaking, it's more difficult to get that part of your game aligned," he continued.

"Getting everyone working together and understanding what's expected and all the different roles in an attacking set-up is just hard to organize because there are more nuances. There’s just more to absorb in a very short space of time. Some of these people were only 10 days together and that's not a lot of training time

"From a defensive perspective, it's usually easier to get organized there. It doesn't change massively from province to province or even from country to country and there's not as much to learn defensively. So that's always easier than to get organized, that and your kicking game, your strategy.

"I suppose that was probably a more concerning part than the attack. I'll judge the attack a bit more as the championship evolves and we get into the later rounds and see if they can have a big impact there.”

Online Editors