Paul O’Connell On How He Plans On Improving Ireland’s Lineout In The Six Nations

Jason Hennessy

Jason Hennessy

Jason is the editor here at RugbyLAD and a proud Limerick man.
Jason Hennessy

The master.

Over the years Irish teams have generally been renowned for their prowess in the lineout. Excellent hookers, brilliant lifters and world-class jumpers.

But in more recent times it’s an area that Ireland have struggled in, and as we all know – if you don’t have a strong set-piece in rugby, you make things very difficult for yourself.

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One man who played a key role in building that lineout reputation for Ireland over the years is former captain Paul O’Connell, who was last month named as Ireland’s new forwards coach.

O’Connell is one of the most respected figures in the game and one of the finest lineout operators we have ever seen. Time and time again the former lock secured the ball for the men in green and now he’ll be hoping to pass on some of his knowledge to the new breed.

Speaking this week, O’Connell went into some detail on how he plans on improving Ireland come lineout time in this year’s Six Nations.

“To be able to see pictures and have the feel of what’s going to happen before it happens [is important],” O’Connell said.

“You need to be there a lot, you need to see it, you probably need to have a few bad days and learn from them.

“I think the Ireland lineout has been pretty good; there’s been a few high-profile losses right on the opposition line and they are very expensive.

“You can lose a lineout on the halfway that you haven’t had an amazing chance to score from but if you’ve a lineout five metres out it’s an important lineout.

“There has been high-profile losses for the lineout. It’s been a big learning curve for players. I would have gone through that as a player as well.

“You can do all the analysis and put all the systems in place, there is a feel and there is a bit of experience that allows you to see the pictures quickly so that’s important for the players.

“It’s an area I’ve an interest in, I’m familiar with the system that we would use. It’s evolved from when I’ve played but I suppose there are little bits and pieces in all the provinces that we steal and poach off each other.

“I’d like to think I can offer value there. It takes a bit of pressure off Simon, obviously, as well. That was a big part for me to be able to come in and know there’d be a good handover because he was moving to defence and you have that.”