at the ground

The players, teams , issues involved with the Rugby World Cup 2015

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What should Ireland do after their disappointment in Cardiff

Ireland need to learn from their loss to Wales in the Six Nations Championship then they stand a chance to win the Rugby World Cup.

The standard of rugby played in the match at the Millennium Stadium was very high. If the Southern Hemisphere Giants of New Zealand, South Africa and Australia don’t sit up and take notice then they are fools.


The match was a statement that Ireland have the level of skill to compete with the best. They can play to the required intensity, physicality and focus but can they make the correct decisions on the field at that level to change or adapt when things are not working.

The big moment of the match was when Wales successfully defended their line after Ireland had taken play through 32 phases. This highlighted Ireland’s ability and skill to hold onto the ball and recycle it so many times. To keep your nerve and not make a mistake shows excellent temperament and patience. To not get penalized through this prolonged attack shows focus and discipline.


Structure is no longer an issue for Ireland ¬†because taking the ball through 32 phases doesn’t happen by accident. It comes from players knowing where they need to be and what they need to do.

So in a sense it’s to much structure that’s the problem, it may have required more spontaneity to breach such resolute defence. Ireland never went the aerial route like they did so successfully against England the week before. Which was wise as the Welsh are excellent in the air.

Ireland never put width on their game at the crucial stage of being a metre or less out. Instinct tells you to pick and go but width gives you space and space will bring out spontaneity. Any one of Simon Zebo, Rob Kearney or Jared Payne can create magic given the room.

I know Ireland play rugby with incredible passion. It means a lot to be wearing that green top, that you can see from watching them play but there are levels of passion.


Belt it out boys!


When Ireland so heartbreakingly lost to the All Blacks in November 2013 they had got to probably there highest level of passion ever. That is the level you aim to get to every time the green top goes over your head whether it be New Zealand or Japan that are your opponents.

The Passion gives you that energy and assists the belief. In the Wales loss Ireland seemed to lack just that 0.01% of energy. Having that extra tiny bit might be the difference between scoring after 32 phases and not scoring



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Ireland are now definite World cup contenders

Ireland need to win their next two difficult encounters to win the Grand slam. If they achieve this then they must then be serious contenders for the World Cup later this year.

If your team beat two Southern Hemisphere giants and England and France all within the last four months, you would feel your side has a chance of getting their hands on the Webb Ellis trophy.

It’s not just the results that you take into account it is the performances, the squad, the four proud provinces.

RBS 6 Nations Championship, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland vs England - 1 Mar 2015

Johnny Sexton tackling George Ford

Ireland’s victory over England in the 2015 Six Nations was a big one. A true test if they were championship worthy.

It was won on numerous fronts, Mike Ross getting the better of Joe Marler, Devon Toner stealing crucial lineout ball, Johnny Sexton tackling George Ford, Robbie Henshaw winning the aerial contest against Alex Goode.

What is good about this team is we are talking about guys like Robbie Henshaw,Jared Payne, Simon Zebo, Jordi Murphy, Peter O’Mahony, Devon Toner and Jack Mcgrath instead of Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’arcy, Ronan O’gara and John Hayes. Jamie Heaslip was not there due to injury and Cian Healy only entered the fray in the 59th minute.¬† It’s about the new generation.

Ireland v England - RBS Six Nations Championship 2015

Outstanding try from an outstanding kick, Robbie Henshaw touching down

Paul O’Connell said as much in his post match interview attributing their 10 match winning run to the strength of the squad and significantly to the strength of the four provinces.

Having only four teams to pick from simplifies things a bit but the true strength of the provinces is they have an identity that each player plays for even outsiders coming in soon fall in line with that culture. These players really do represent the province they play for and the province fully support them.


Centres of excellence, Jared Payne and Robbie Henshaw celebrate

Where as in 2007 Ireland would pick predominantly from Munster and Leinster with the occasional Ulster selection. Ulster has become a bigger player and Connacht is on the rise.

Good depth and good foundations with real talent and an excellent coach add a bit of Irish passion and you have a side that could win the World Cup.

Only two major hurdles. Ireland have forever been the underdogs, how will they fare if they are not? The other hurdle is the All Blacks.

My brother asked me for a prediction 5 minutes before kick-off and I said England would win by 5 points. Lucky I’m not a betting man.