Pundits across the board were singling out praise for Ireland’s pack after their 29-7 victory over Wales in the Six Nations last Saturday.
Ireland’s starting pack was made up of seven Leinster men plus Munster’s Tadhg Beirne. Connacht’s Finlay Bealham and Munster’s Peter O’Mahony were also on the bench.
Ireland vs Wales Six Nations Pundit Reaction
Speaking on BBC’s Rugby Union Daily podcast, ex-England winger Ugo Monye believes that this familiarity and chemistry are evident on the pitch and is part of their success.
“This Ireland team have been in camp before they’ve been in camp,” Monye pointed out. “Because when you’ve got eleven out of the fifteen that are from Leinster, that level of cohesion which we see...”
His co-host Chris Jones interjected and added that the coaching set-up of Farrell and Catt also adds cohesion given that they both worked with Lancaster as part of the English set-up.
“It’s just brilliant,” Monye continued, “hence why you have players who are playing with confidence, when you’ve got Tadhg Furlong no-look passing, and everyone looks really comfortable, on the same tideline, that level of movement on the gain line, and execution at the gain line. I just thought they were brilliant.
“It was as ruthless a game across the 80 minutes as I’ve seen in a long while. And Andy Farrell got asked the question do you think you’ll be able to pick up where you left off in the Autumn and that was the result against New Zealand and my word didn’t they hit the ground running. “
We wrote earlier about Matt Dawson's praise for Ireland's Six Nations performance against Wales, and the pundits of the The Ringer’s The Rugby Pod had similar views. Ex-internationals Jim Hamilton and Andy Goode were both impressed by Ireland’s physicality and execution.
“What we thought was going to happen was exactly what happened,” said Hamilton.
“Ireland were dominant from start to finish. Their forwards my goodness me, on the front foot, physical, Caelan Doris, Tadhg Beirne two friends of the show. I mean everyone, all of them they look frighteningly good on the front foot.”
Goode echoed these thoughts as well, exclaiming that Ireland “were ridiculous.”
“You talk about Ireland’s forwards but what about their props,” Goode exclaimed.
“O my porter and o my Tadhg Furlong, absolutely world-class in every facet of the game. And the forwards their ball-handling, their ball-carrying.
“I remember you go back a few years, very similar players in that Ireland team were getting absolutely blitzed by England in the games that we played against them, in terms of power.
“Now, this Ireland team, their handling, their ball carrying, their metres after contact, their ruck speed. Because technically they’re flying into those rucks like you wouldn’t believe, they’re winning those collisions. I think 71 percent of Ireland’s rucks were under three seconds.”
High praise from players who have been there and done that in the Six Nations, however, Ireland may have to raise their game again for their meeting with France on Saturday in the next round of this intriguing 2022 Six Nations Championship.