Monday 20 November 2017

'It's a move Joe has liked for a long time' - Luke Fitzgerald explains how Johnny Sexton's wraparound ripped France open

Will Slattery

Will Slattery

Johnny Sexton wreaking havoc on the end of a loop play has become a familiar sight for Irish fans over the course of his career, but rarely has the number ten done as much damage to an opposition defence with it as he did last weekend.

The French were bamboozled by a first half wraparound, leading to Sexton galloping into the opposition half in the build-up to Conor Murray's try.

Many fans looking on may have wondered how a move Sexton runs so often made such significant inroads into the opposition rearguard. As Luke Fitzgerald explained on this week's episode of The Left Wing, there was a new wrinkle to the Ireland star's favourite backline play which may have confused the French .

Every Monday during the Six Nations, The Left Wing features Luke's unique blend of analysis and opinion as he takes you inside the game to give an honest and informed assessment of the performance of the Ireland team and the four provinces.

This week, Luke showed how Ireland opted to run the play using outside centre Garry Ringrose and fullback Rob Kearney, with inside centre Robbie Henshaw used as a decoy.

Usually, Sexton would pass to 12 and then receive the ball back after looping outside the 13.

"They run it a bit differently," Fitzgerald said.

"It's a move Joe Schmidt has liked for a long time. They run it in training a lot but I don't think they have split too many teams as open as they have done here. With Leinster it usually runs 10 to 12, with 13 coming short, around the back to Johnny.

"In this scenario he has decided to use Robbie Henshaw short here and it condenses [the defence]. They end up in the same situation but instead use Garry Ringrose and Rob Kearney here."

Six Nations coverage on The Left Wing, in association with Aer Lingus, the Official Airline to the Irish Rugby Team

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