Ian Madigan Offers Intriguing Insight Into Where Ireland Fell Short Against Scotland

Ian Madigan Offers Intriguing Insight Into Where Ireland Fell Short Against Scotland

Exiled Ireland international Ian Madigan maintains there's no need for Joe Schmidt to rip up his blueprint and start again after Saturday's disappointing defeat to Scotland.

The 27-year-old Bordeaux-Bégles fly-half wrote in his RTÉ column - which will be published every Monday during the Six Nations - that Ireland can take solace from the strength of their scrum, which he felt they were unfortunate not to reap more rewards from at Murrayfield.

Madigan also praised the mental strength displayed in clawing back a 21-5 deficit, but pinpointed Ireland's lineout, which struggled throughout, as the root of the problem in Edinburgh.

Ireland lost two of their 14 lineouts, but on at least two occasions knocked the ball on after taking clean possession in ideal attacking positions - most notably in the 70th minute when leading by a point. Add to this a couple of Rory Best's throws which were fumbled backwards due to Scottish pressure, putting paid to go-forward momentum from Ireland's most potent set piece, and the lineout in general was a bit of a mess on Saturday afternoon.

Madigan worked under Schmidt for both Leinster and Ireland, and is of the belief that so much of Schmidt's offensive gameplan is lineout-based, inconsistency from Irish throw-ins put a kibosh on much of their attacking threat.

On the other side of the ledger, apart from the slow start which put us severely on the back-foot, our lineout let us down badly. There were two or three opportunities from five-metre lineouts to maul over and, ultimately, one of them would have been enough to win the game.

Joe is such a good strategist and a lot of his one, two, three, four - sometimes five - phase patterns are often most effective coming from lineouts, and so clean ball is very important.

When that’s not happening it takes away from so much good work on the training pitch.

An interesting insight from a man in the know, with the obvious concern being Ireland are potentially left somewhat rudderless if defending teams simply contest Irish ball in the lineout.


The relative lack of imagination to Ireland's back play, too, didn't escape Madigan's evaluation. He suggests Schmidt will work on the 'animation' of Ireland's centres and outside backs in the lead-up to Rome, while Schmidt's ball-carrying forwards may have to take one step backwards before taking two in the opposite direction.

I definitely think Joe will work on the animation of the other players surrounding the ball carriers. He will look for a bit more deception, hoping it won’t be as clear who will receive the ball off the number 10 and 9. He will be driving that all week and will have forwards working on their footwork, trying to find soft shoulders, ultimately trying to suck more defenders into the ruck.

It's an interesting tactical observation from Madigan, and you can read his RTÉ column in full here.

SEE ALSO: Stephen Jones Tips "Superb" Rob Kearney As Lions Starter After Murrayfield Performance

Gavan Casey
Article written by
Former handwriting champion. Was violently bitten by a pelican at Fota Wildlife Park in 2001.

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