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'Gap-Toothed Irish Wing Forwards' - Nice To See The English Media Taking Their Defeat Well

'Gap-Toothed Irish Wing Forwards' - Nice To See The English Media Taking Their Defeat Well
By Gary Reilly
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The narrative heading in to the game was that the high ball would be where things were won and lost. We'd put it up and it was down to them to deal with it, if they did then it would be very close. They didn't. As has happened repeatedly over the past ten games, Joe Schmidt analysed England's weaknesses and his team exploited them superbly.

We've all had our say about how good we were but what of the English response? Was it merely a case of Ireland were the better team and move on, or was there excuses to be made.

Robert Kitson's match report in the Guardian seemed to suggest that Ireland's victory was primarily down to our innate ability to get down and dirty when conditions get tough. Why that would favour Ireland and not England is anyone's guess.

Torrential rain, hail, snow and blustery winds all swept across the city before kick-off and, while it was dry for the game, conditions were chilly and raw. Despite the pale sunshine which belatedly emerged, it was the kind of day traditionally beloved of rampaging, gap-toothed Irish wing forwards and hip-flask manufacturers.

Not to be indignant for no reason but that would seem to suggest that Jordi Murphy, Tommy O'Donnell and Sean O'Brien are neanderthal like beings who thrive on destruction and little else.


Elsewhere in the Guardian, Andy Bull, credited Ireland's win to Johnny Sexton's dominance over the previously heralded George Ford.

Even when the winter sun was out in the second half it was so cold in the shadows of the stadium that it felt as though someone had handed you a big block of ice and said “Here, hold this” and then never come back. Foul conditions then, and fit only for those with clear thoughts, sure feet and a strong grip. Step forward Johnny Sexton, the finest fly-half in Europe.

Where would we have been without this weather? By the sounds of things, Joe Schmidt will be practicing his rain (and snow) dance before every game from now on.

Mick Cleary in the Telegraph managed to look away from the weather in, what we would naturally say, was a more rounded analysis of the game.

Ireland used to swamp opponents in Dublin with unbridled passion. Under Joe Schmidt, they drain the life out of the opposition through the precision of their play, the turning of the screw, the slow death. The Aviva was turned into a medieval torture chamber. It was painful to endure if you were wearing white.

The Independent's Chris Jones was also effusive in his praise of Johnny Sexton.

They (England) were outmuscled on the floor, finished a distant second at the line-out at the most important moments and were not even that close when it came to the kicking strategy, all of which led to costly breakdowns in discipline. Only when Sexton, the international game’s  finest practitioner of the outside-half’s art, left the field midway through the third quarter with a hamstring injury did the balance of the contest shift towards the visitors.

Apart from some grumbles about the weather, the overall reaction from the rugby press across the water has been one of respect for everything that Joe Schmidt has brought to Irish rugby. Owen Slot in The Times summed it up best with his summing up of the Irish performance as 'majestic'.


England were a distant second here. Ireland were a majestic first. They looked very much like a team who had taken nine scalps in a row and were in no doubt that England would be their tenth, so confident were they in their game, so accurate in their execution.

H/T - Andrew Yates

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