Gordon D’Arcy Has The Perfect Solution To Ireland’s Back-Row Conundrum

Rotation is key.

Gordon D’Arcy has the perfect solution to Ireland’s back-row embarrassment of riches. Peter O’Mahony stepped in for the injured Jamie Heaslip on Saturday, putting in a match-winning performance, leading for many people to call for Jamie Heaslip to lose his place in the starting line-up.

In order to compete with the very best, Ireland must have strength in depth, and be able to field the right side depending on the opposition and task in front of them. D’Arcy believes, four does go into three as Schmidt can implement a rotation policy.

The Ireland boss has used O’Mahony as an impact sub in recent weeks, but D’Arcy believes its time to start swapping the back-row around, allowing all the candidates a rest when needed, given the physicality and demands of the international game.

Rotation now looks like Irish rugby’s ideal companion. Jamie Heaslip is far from finished as an international number eight. He is having one of his best ever seasons. He got injured and the door was opened for Peter O’Mahony to produce a fantastic performance at six. But could Pete produce that level of brutal physicality for five games in a row without getting injured? Could anyone?
CJ and Jamie are physical anomalies to the theory but even they need rest to play better.
People look at the current Ireland backrow conundrum and say four into three simply does not go.
Actually, it does or could.
A rotation policy is currently working at loosehead prop with a balance being struck between Jack McGrath starting and Cian Healy coming off the bench. Or vice versa, depending on the opposition or shape of both men on any given week.
That’s the key. The scientific advancements to check the fitness and energy levels of players provides Joe and all coaches with important information. They can also see who is shaping up well at training on the Tuesday.

Give the amount of players Ireland has in the back-row department, why not have O’Mahony/O’Brien/Stander one week and Stander or O’Mahony/Van der Flier/Heaslip another week? There are plenty of options there but the point is Schmidt needs to mix things up and give out more starts as opposed to relying on the extras as impact subs.

What do you think?

[Irish Times]

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