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Gordon D'Arcy Reveals Why All Was Not As It Seemed In The World Cup Warm Ups

Gordon D'Arcy Reveals Why All Was Not As It Seemed In The World Cup Warm Ups
By Conor O'Leary
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We probably shouldn't be surprised at this, but Gordon D'Arcy looks like he is going to be a very good read with his columns in the Irish Times.

From last week's anecdote about Trevor Brennan, to this week's analysis on rugby upbringing - D'Arcy's articles are informative and thought-provoking.

Ireland's game plan under Schmidt is always the source of scrutiny - with naysayers continually pointing at the lack of offloads in Joe Schmidt's Ireland teams as a point of contention.

D'Arcy tackles that subject head on - pointing to an offloading upbringing that Irish players lack. We are used to playing rugby on a damp and soggy pitch in November - where it is much more profitable to hold on to the ball instead of attempting an "unnatural" skill.

The head coach merely identified this when moulding a game plan these past two years. Common sense prevails. There’s no point conceding a try by risking a skill set that feels unnatural to our best players.

D'Arcy points to a promising young future for Irish offloading - highlighting Ulster's Stuart McCloskey, and Leinster front row twins Ed and Bryan Byrne as extremely proficient offloaders. It will come, but until we have the players to do so, we need to play the Irish way:

Quick ball is the historical option for successful Irish teams as opposed to the unnecessary offload. It’s a logical approach by a team that is smaller than most of its rivals.

D'Arcy uses the point that Ireland need to be smarter than our opponents to segue into his next point - Schmidt will have new attacking elements to outsmart defences to get Ireland on top.


D'Arcy cites the example of O'Driscoll's wonderful try for Leinster against Cardiff in the 2012 Heineken Cup quarter final.



We had been using a variation of that move all season so it was the ultimate double bluff.

All in all, we've got to get used to more variation according to D'Arcy. We know how often Johnny Sexton uses the wrap around for Leinster and Ireland, but the players know that there are several options at every stage of the move that can confuse defences.

Schmidt has a basis of a game plan, which D'Arcy says has been the sole purpose of the warm up games. The key thing that nervous Ireland fans may want to take away from D'Arcy's article is that all of Joe Schmidt's's intelligent variations have been held back, with getting a basic game plan nailed down much more important than the results against Wales and England.


The French will analyse our bread-and-butter moves so Joe and Johnny will try to use that against them.

We know Joe has this in his locker. We know Ireland can bounce back from bad performances - we saw it against New Zealand in 2013 after the lows of Australia the previous week. That was the game that proved to Ireland that we can beat New Zealand. We know there is more to come from this team.

[Irish Times]

See Also: Gordon D'Arcy Sums Up How Rugby Has Changed With Glorious Trevor Brennan Story
See Also: Gordon D'Arcy's RWC Exclusion Doesn't Diminish 'A Remarkable Career'
See Also: When Gordon D'Arcy Scored One Of Irish Rugby's Most Important Tries

Picture credit: Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE

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