Brian O’Driscoll Highlights The Areas Of Ireland’s Game That Need To Improve
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Ireland’s win against Scotland on Saturday saw them ensure favourable seeding for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
Speaking on Off The Ball last night, former captain Brian O’Driscoll said that Ireland’s Six Nations, despite finishing a mediocre third was not a complete failure based on the number of injuries and loss of key leaders in recent months.
I think we’re in reasonable shape all things considered. It’s been a very different tournament. We lost one of the biggest leaders the country’s ever seen. That was obviously going to have a big impact, not only from the playing point of view but also from a captaincy point of view. And then we lost a number of leading figures within that team.
O’Driscoll did however point out some key areas that Ireland need to improve on going forward, in particular their skill levels in the front five.
With regards to the evolution of the game. I don’t think it’s about anyone in the backs or anyone in the particular. We, as a full side, need to evolve. What I mean about that evolution, we have to have front row forwards, and particularly tight five forwards comfortable throwing five and ten metre passes.
And I hate comparing like for like. But when you look at the World Cup final and the calibre of player that were there. You saw Brodie Retallick, you saw Joe Moody coming off the bench. These guys are just comfortable with the ball in hand. And I don’t see that in Ireland. I don’t really see it that much in the Northern hemisphere. And, for me, that’s actually where we fall down. Our skill level is not at the same degree.
As a result, I don’t think we can play that game that Liam is talking about, that wider game, besdies also being able to hit it up, we’ve got to have an ability to be able move the ball with skill level wide.
I thought our skill levels, particularly in the backs, against Scotland, was very good. But we were given time and space I just don’t see, with the greatest respect to our front row, I don’t see them seamlessly throwing passes while also running forward.
I think a lot of our phase play that we’ve tried to incorporate. It looks very obvious when we’re going out the back door or when we’re going to hit up