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Kearney, Williams, & Horgan Identify Ireland's One Glaring Weakness After Scotland Win

Kearney, Williams, & Horgan Identify Ireland's One Glaring Weakness After Scotland Win
By Colman Stanley

The Virgin Media TV panel of Rob Kearney, Matt Williams, and Shane Horgan, gave their views on what they believe to be Ireland's biggest weakness, following Ireland's 26-5 Six Nations win over Scotland this evening.

All three of the panel focused in on Ireland's replacement front-row, who they believe are not performing well enough at the scrum to be ready for Ireland's tour to New Zealand this summer. The team struggled in this area both this evening and in last week's win over England.

Williams brought up the penalties which Ireland gave away at the end of tonight's game at scrum time, and was adamant Wayne Barnes was correct in his calls.

Unfortunately the bench when they came on did struggle.They were getting moved and twisted, there was one scrum where Conor (Murray) should have got the ball out quicker, and eventually the scrum moved.

But we’ve just got to say this, I think those penalties from Wayne Barnes against Ireland were fair penalties, and our bench scrum players, we’re certainly going to need better from them if we have any hope in New Zealand because they did get a torrid time from the Scots there.

19 March 2022; Cian Healy of Ireland celebrates after scoring his side's second try with teammate Mack Hansen during the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between Ireland and Scotland at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Rob Kearney was in agreement and made an interesting point on Ireland not wanting to get a reputation among referees as a side with weak front-row replacements.

"Given the quality of Porter and Furlong, we’re judging second in command at that level," noted Kearney. "The scrum has been a little bit of a worry over the last few weeks and that’s something that you’d imagine they’ll work very hard on because you do not want to get yourself a reputation with referees around the world that your replacement scrum is way off the pace in comparison to your starting scrum.

"You get into those real big minutes, sixty, seventy minutes in tight games, and subconsciously the referee thinks this second front row can’t do the business as good as the first front row, things can go wrong then."

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Shane Horgan echoed Kearney's views and brought up last week's scrum struggles against England as an example of a referee being particularly harsh on one side.

You get a dominant scrum or a dominant scrum against you that can get into a referee’s head. There’s really no way back from that, it’s very difficult.

Even aside from the second string that come on. If that happens in a game and it happened against England, you saw in the referee’s mind’s eye, Ireland’s scrum is in trouble, so every scrum was in trouble.

This is certainly an area Ireland will need to improve in moving forward, starting with this summer's tour to New Zealand.

SEE ALSO: Six NationsIreland Player Ratings After Bonus Point Hammering Of Scotland

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