WATCH: Paul O’Connell On The Main Difference Between Ireland & England
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It’s official. Ireland are Six Nations champions. But this championship is far from over. The Grand Slam is in sight, and Ireland will come at England next week with everything they’ve got.
Having watched Eddie Jones’ men yesterday, Ireland will take great confidence. While Joe Schmidt’s men went about their job against Scotland in a professional manner, England were quite the opposite.
They looked a shadow of their former selves yesterday, and Ireland will feel they’re there for the taking. But what separates these two sides, besides nine points in the table, and a World Ranking position?
Paul O’Connell was on punditry duty for BBC yesterday, and he summed it up pretty well.
“What Ireland have is real clarity in how they want to play. Every player, from one to 23 and probably beyond that have real clarity in how they want to play in every part of the pitch from five metres from their own line to five metres from the opposition line.
“When you have clarity in what you’re doing, you can execute with real physicality and aggression.”
“Joe made five changes for the second Test down in South Africa in 2015. When you think of an Irish team doing that in South Africa, they’ve developed great depth.”
“England today, because they are trying to play so much shape with the out-the-back passes, there isn’t a lot of physicality to how they are playing.”
In terms of what Ireland will do against England next week, O’Connell reckons it will be more of the same.
“I don’t think Ireland will change much from what they’ve been doing up to now. They’ll exit from their own half really well – sometimes they will kick with Conor Murray, and sometimes they will run it. They will run little three-phase plays off scrums and line-outs having seen little things that England do, and when they get into the opposition 22, they will keep it really simple, they’ll be very direct and their ruck will be really good.”
“Teams that play really good rugby, there isn’t a whole lot of complication to what they do.”