Sport Rugby

Wednesday 17 January 2018

Try time

Although the conditions were a major factor, Ireland never looked like putting a try-scoring move together against South Africa until Peter Stringer and Ronan O'Gara's tempo-increasing substitutions coincided with a Springbok loss of focus.

Two touchdowns -- both the products of intelligent, offensive play -- followed and today we should see a pronounced upsurge in Ireland's attacking ambition.

Against New Zealand and the Maori last summer, the Irish showed they had the skill and the verve to play a fast-paced off-loading game and we need to see that again this afternoon. Andrew Trimble was impressive in that regard against the All Blacks and is on hand again but the greatest anticipation will be to see how Luke Fitzgerald (pictured) hits the line from full-back.

After his nine-month injury absence, the Leinster man is in electric form and was Ireland's most dangerous outside-back last weekend, despite being starved of possession.

Samoa have plenty of attacking capacity also, and Tommy Bowe will be geared up for the challenge of stopping the bullocking runs of Alesana Tuilagi at source. However, if the Irish dominate possession, as they are expected to do, the focus will be on how well they put that ball to use ahead of the All Blacks' visit.

Irish Independent

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