Rugby

Horgan And Williams Offer Mitigating Circumstances For Poor Ireland Performance

Horgan And Williams Offer Mitigating Circumstances For Poor Ireland Performance

Shane Horgan was standing pitchside for as Ireland ground out a win against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday.

The former Ireland international felt while the result was positive, the quality of rugby was not what we have come to expect from Joe Schmidt's side.

Speaking on Virgin Media One on Sunday, Horgan said he thought Ireland had played with a less complicated game plan against Scotland.

"You've got to separate the result from the quality of rugby," said Horgan.

The result was fantastic and really necessary and Ireland had to put themselves in a position like that. The quality of rugby was poor, particularly in the second half. Although we did retain the ball for periods, we had great possession, great territory but we didn't look very smart or sophisticated in the way we were playing.

Our structure wasn't particularly good, especially in the opposition 22. Given the shock of the performance before this, to some degree it was understandable why they started playing a much more reduced game plan. They made their lives harder by doing that but I can understand why.

Matt Williams also offered some mitigating circumstances for the far from spectacular Irish performance.

"We've got to acknowledge that there's no Ringrose, no Henshaw, they had Chris Farrell come in; you lost Johnny Sexton during the game, Joey came in. It was a very disrupted backline," said Williams.

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"They probably lost a little bit of leadership and a general around the field; Joey, maybe that's something he has to work on - where Johnny Sexton would be demanding.

"Henshaw at 12 is more demanding than Bundee Aki; he's more of a power athlete. When they get Bundee Aki into being a ball player - a second-five as they call it in New Zealand - that's not his game. Yesterday, while he didn't play badly, it was his least effective performance for Ireland. When your 12's not going forward, that really affects your go-forward [ball] for the whole team.

"Job done. I did think that the lack of a bonus point will come back to be a real pain in the future."

Horgan also showed how a lack of structure from Ireland in attack made them less potent.

See Also: The British Media Reaction To Ireland's Victory Against Scotland

PJ Browne
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