Sam Warburton Picks His Winner Between Ireland & The All Blacks

Tactically astute.

Former British and Irish Lions Sam Warburton reckons Ireland will defeat world champions the All Black in their huge Test match at the Aviva Stadium later this evening.

Warburton played alongside a number of Irish players last summer with the Lions as they managed to defeat and draw with the All Blacks in their backyard, securing a series draw.

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The recently retired flanker says Ireland are so “tactically astute” and have a “nasty edge” when needed. Writing in a column for The Times, Warburton also highlights how ”well coached” Ireland are.

“Why do I think that Ireland will win? It is because they are so tactically astute. They are well coached too.” Warburton writes

“They analyse teams well and then break them down accordingly because of that. They go into great detail. And they have very intelligent players to execute their plans, as well as a nasty edge when needed.”

Warburton says Ireland’s front five will play a big role today, highlighting Tadhg Furlong in particular, who he describes as the “best tighthead” he’s ever seen.

“Ireland’s front five are superb. Take the tight-head prop Tadhg Furlong. He is just so good. He is intelligent, he can scrummage. He can basically do everything. He is the best tighthead that I ever played with.” Warburton says

You play with and against a lot of big guys who are athletically brilliant, they tick all the boxes, but they don’t have that toughness that you really need. Tadhg has that. And some. He is a lovely bloke but, when he is on a rugby field, he is a real competitor.

The former Cardiff Blues back-row also says Ireland are the “hardest team in the Six Nations to play against.”

“I always found Ireland to be the hardest team in the Six Nations to play against. It is because they are so good at keeping the ball.” Warburton added

“I remember playing them once on a Saturday and we were playing Italy the following Saturday. On the Friday we were doing lineouts for the Italy game and my shoulders were still sore because we had had to make so many tackles against Ireland six days before.”