Rugby

Johnny Wilkinson Finds Fault With Lack Of Irish 'Absolute Urgency And Real Desire'

Johnny Wilkinson Finds Fault With Lack Of Irish 'Absolute Urgency And Real Desire'

Ireland notched a bonus point win against France on Sunday afternoon. As with the previous Guinness Six Nations match against Italy, it was a case of objective achieved for Joe Schmidt's side. Though, it was again a performance from which plenty of faults could be highlighted.

Both French tries came in the dying minutes of the game. Up until then, the visiting side had not made a mark on the scoreboard.

Speaking on ITV's coverage, Johnny Wilkinson felt that Ireland lacked the motivation to really put France to the sword.

"One thing that was missing was igniting that spark of absolute urgency and real desire because the game was in danger of petering out. I think they left a few out there in the first and second half - they lost the second half 14-7."

Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray and Rory Best all left the pitch just before the hour mark. Wilkinson could see the effect which their absence had on the team.

Just talking about igniting that spark, they are key in doing that. Especially someone like Johnny Sexton, he plays with that kind of energy. I think he'd be the kind of guy out there, you'd see the frustration bubbling in him as the game goes down; he starts to push things and work this.

I feel that's a massive part of a team's push forward, to not have to wait for things from the outside to align so that you can get going. You have to be able, from the inside, to say, 'Let's make this happen.'

I think that's key in the last ten minutes, to say, 'Why does the concentration have to drop?' They've played a great game and they've deserved to win but they were close to nilling the French team there which would have been a real nice way to sit in the changing room and say, 'Defensively, that is how you do it.'

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Brian O'Driscoll was also part of ITV's coverage. The former Ireland captain felt it was again not another vintage Irish performance.

"It was definitely an improvement on the Italian performance but still lots of errors and lots of things to work on. I would imagine that Wales are watching that probably not quaking in their boots just now - they'll fancy their chances having Ireland back in Wales next week.

"We don't have a history of hockeying France. Over the last six or seven that we've won, the total accumulated margin of victory was 25 - it was 12 today but should have been more."

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PJ Browne
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