Rugby

O'Driscoll Hails 'Standout' Andrew Conway After Win Over Wales

O'Driscoll Hails 'Standout' Andrew Conway After Win Over Wales

Brian O'Driscoll hailed Andrew Conway as one of Ireland's best players in recent times following the win over Wales on Saturday afternoon.

The Munster winger scored the bonus-point try for Ireland in an impressive performance.

"I remember seeing this guy as a schoolboy in 2009 where he came and trained against Leinster in a Heineken Cup final week and he ripped us apart single-handedly," O'Driscoll said on ITV's coverage of the game.

"I thought, 'If we can't contain a schoolboy, we're in serious trouble at the weekend'. He had to leave Leinster to reach his full potential but now we're seeing it.

"He's changed as a player: Before he had these wicked feet and was a real game-breaker, now he's become a complete player. Aerially, he's very good. Defensively has been supersound today and he knows where the tryline is, as all good wingers need to know. I think he's been a real standout performer for Ireland in the last six to eight months."

O'Driscoll thought Saturday's game was a "real improvement" on Ireland's performance against Scotland.

"They held onto the ball an awful lot more," he said.

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"Defensively, very good; not absolutely perfect - there was a bit of a high penalty count at nine. For the most part, it feels as though they're starting to get into their groove a little bit.

"At times, it was a bit stop-start - there wasn't any huge, great flow to the game. I think five points against Wales at home [is good], you have to remember that they are the World Cup semi-finalists.

"It's taken a huge amount of pressure off Ireland. You win your two opening home games and you'd hope that you beat Italy when they come here in round four. You're going away now to England on a little bit of a freebie where maybe expectations levels are not that high, but they will be high within that squad.

"I thought it was a really impressive physical performance from Ireland. They dominated in the collision zone for large quarters. Their maul defence was very good, scrum was a massive improvement on last week. Everything felt as though it went up a couple of notches, still plenty of room to improve but going in the right direction.

"There's lots to improve on and that's the coach's dream of being able to pick out the negatives of where that team can get to. They're going to need to up their performance, we know how good England are in Twickenham. It's an exciting prospect for these players in a new environment that they're thriving on."

Also on ITV, Johnny Wilkinson said of Ireland:

"That looked like a team that was more comfortable second time out and than first time out. It means, for me anyway, that what they're in the weeks in between [games], the atmosphere in the team is heading somewhere.

"For me, it looked more ruthless, more professional, more complete. Wales did have a couple of chances to turn it but on the whole, that last try that Conway scored in the corner was the result of constant build-up."

Player Ratings: Ireland Impress In Emphatic Victory Over Wales

PJ Browne
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