The guys from the-coal-face.co.uk give us their thoughts on Ireland's win over on Saturday.
First of all guys, massive congratulations. Ireland played error-free rugby on Saturday and thoroughly deserved the comprehensive win. In this sort of form, Joe Schmidt’s side could well lift their first Six Nations title since 2009.
Where the game was won and lost
Quite simply, Ireland won the game up front. If you read my pre match article you’ll have noted that I suggested that Wales would have an advantage at the breakdown, and as the match unfolded I was proved completely and totally incorrect. Wales were bossed in the contact area, with Peter O’Mahony in particular having a blinder of a game.
We’ve always been rubbish at defending the maul…
Most of Ireland’s points came from a brilliant utilised driving maul, and having seen the ease with which the Irish forwards mauled the Welsh, one has to ask the question of why it has taken teams so long to get that Wales are rubbish at defending driving mauls.
To be fair to South Africa, they do it to us all the time, but Ireland’s win on Saturday will have been particularly instructive for the other Six Nations teams: keep the ball tight and drive them and you’ve got a great chance of winning.
Gatland/O’Driscoll subplot barely registered
Whilst there’s no doubt that BOD will be delighted with the win, I was expecting him to play a far more starring role in the game. Both sets of backs barely got a look in, with the ball rarely getting beyond the 10s
How will Wales react?
There are those who have suggested that this performance was an anomaly. I am not one of those people. I think this result has been coming and is borne out of a refusal from Gatland to accept that his gameplan is not infallible. Joe Schmidt had clearly studied Gatland’s gameplan and worked out how to counteract it and the result was an absolute shoeing for our boys.
My concern is that we saw quite clearly on Saturday that Wales don’t have a Plan B. Therefore I think we’ll see the same style played against France and most likely another loss.
What should Wales be doing?
I’ve been saying for a while that we really need to develop a more expansive gameplan that utilises our backs more. Currently we pretty much just use our backs to crash up, but when that fails to bear fruit, we don’t change our approach. We need more creativity in our backline to help us become a little less predictable. I’d definitely bring James Hook into the team next week; either at 10 or in the centre. The fact that he didn’t get on against Ireland even though Scott Williams was injured was totally bizarre.
Can Ireland win the whole thing?
I believe that Ireland have got a brilliant chance of winning the whole thing. With a more than competitive pack and the best 10 in the northern hemisphere, I think you boys have got every chance. Pob Iwc!