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Rob Kearney Explains Why This Ireland Team Haven't Peaked Too Early Like They Did In 2018

Rob Kearney Explains Why This Ireland Team Haven't Peaked Too Early Like They Did In 2018
By Gary Connaughton
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Ireland have defeated world champions South Africa at the Aviva Stadium, and you certainly couldn't argue that they didn't deserve the result.

This was a very different game in comparison to the last time The Springboks visited Dublin, even if the result was the same. Whereas the home side blew away the visitors and racked up a huge score back in 2017, Andy Farrell's were forced to grind out a tight game on this occasion.

That is massively encouraging. South Africa have a habit of overpowering teams, especially in the second half of games as energy levels begin to drop. The fact that the Irish did not wilt under such pressure is a hugely promising sign moving forward.

Having beaten both New Zealand and South Africa over the last few months, there is no doubting that they are in the conversation for the most in-form team in world rugby at the moment.


Of course, with the World Cup still 12 months away, some may believe that this is yet another example of the team peaking too early.

Rob Kearney rubbishes claims that Ireland have peaked too early

On the face of it, you could say that Ireland are in a similar position to the one they found themselves in 2018.  On that occasion, the team reached their apex a year out from the World Cup, only to then completely flop at the tournament in Japan.

Some will worry that we could see a repeat of those circumstances in 2023, but Rob Kearney believes that will not be the case.


Speaking on Virgin Media after the game, he explained why this side were better prepared to avoid such a fate in comparison to himself and the group of players that flopped last time out.

I don't think that's fair. We played a completely different type of game tonight than we have done in the last few years. The French game was one where we came up against big men, nearly pulled that away at the end.

The really encouraging thing about today's game is that we can adapt to different styles of play depending on the opposition that we play against.

In 2018, we just had the one style, we played it, and we thought it was going to help us beat everyone in the world.

That's part the growth mindset that this team has. That was really important, to get exposure against South Africa a year out from the World Cup...

I don't think Ireland necessarily played really good rugby today. It's not as if they had this unbelievable performance, they just ground out a tough, physical test match.

The variance in Ireland's game plan is certainly a big difference in comparison to 2018. Whereas that team had only way to play the game and struggled when other sides countered that approach, this Irish side seem to be able to adapt well to the various challenges presented to them by different opposition.

Andy Farrell will now be hoping that the players can replicate that for the next 12 months. If they do so, the team will be in a very healthy place heading off to France.

SEE ALSO: Simon Zebo Calls For Harsher Punishments After Cheslin Kolbe Avoids Ireland Red Card

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