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This squad out-fought everyone else two seasons ago. The dog is in there, it just seems to have lost its bite

Alan Quinlan


Dominant tackle’ stats paint grim picture of regression since winning Grand Slam at Twickenham two years ago

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Australia’s Michael Hooper executes a dominant tackle on Fergus McFadden at the Aviva Stadium in 2013. Photo: Sportsfile

Australia’s Michael Hooper executes a dominant tackle on Fergus McFadden at the Aviva Stadium in 2013. Photo: Sportsfile

Australia’s Michael Hooper executes a dominant tackle on Fergus McFadden at the Aviva Stadium in 2013. Photo: Sportsfile

"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog." Mark Twain

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For all of its complexities, deepening analysis and almost annual law alterations, the blueprint for winning rugby matches hasn't changed that much since Webb Ellis supposedly first picked up the ball and ran with it.