In light of Ireland’s loss to England at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday, fans have taken to Twitter to criticise the tactics adopted by the home side.
Joe Schmidt’s team have had a very clear and precise game plan over the past year, which they have executed to perfection. Their Grand Slam, series win in Australia and Autumn victory over the All Blacks last year are an indication of how successful they have been. It is a tactic reliant on Conor Murray’s box-kicking supremacy, allowing the likes of Rob Kearney and Keith Earls a chance to compete. This is combined with a relentless physical bombardment from their forwards who slowly grind the opposition down.
However, the strings came undone against Eddie Jones’ men on Saturday, as England’s rushing and brutal defence prevented Ireland from ever gaining any momentum, and forced a number of errors. In addition, England’s back three were able to negate Murray’s kicking, with Jonny May defusing the aerial threat time and time again. What’s worse is that Ben Youngs was able to control the game with his own kicking masterclass, often allowing his own players to compete in the air.
This has caused former Ireland fly-half Tony Ward to demand his country to change their ‘cavemen tactics’ for the rest of the Six Nations. This has been echoed by a large number of fans on Twitter, who have not necessarily called for a change of tactics, but have conceded that England were much more astute in Dublin.
This was perhaps the first time that Ireland’s approach had been dismantled in this manner, and Schmidt will have his work cut out this week as he seeks to remedy the problem. But there is little doubt that the meticulous manager will be able to resolve the problem ahead of the trip to Edinburgh this coming weekend.
This is what the fans had to say:
Tactics and selection were questionable, but the lack of composure when the players needed to stay on script was disappointing. You'd question the leadership on and off the field on how things ended up happening. #IREvENG
— Thomas Moroney (@tmoroney4697) February 2, 2019
The worry for Ireland is how comprehensive that defeat was. 12 point loss flattered them. Our tactics are too structured & pre planned to chase a deficit. Murray, Earls & Back row poor. Murrayfield & Cardiff still to come. World cup prep doesn’t look so good now
— Sam Noone (@SamNoone45) February 2, 2019
All of them had a great game. Eddie Jones tactics, game plan was obvious from start, he did a sterling job for his homework on Ireland, which was from what I can make out “just contest everything”. England really put Ireland under pressure everywhere, great game #IREvENG
— george (@george55838120) February 3, 2019
Tactics and game play England had, they must have studied us religiously. Anyway bring it back Ireland ???? #VMTVRugby
— Ní Mhaoilbhríde (@mhaoilbhride) February 2, 2019
Ireland well and truly beaten. England wanted it more with superior tactics; and indeed good defence wins games. #IREvENG
— Tavua Rugby Union (@TavuaRugby) February 2, 2019
Hats off to England today, fabulous performance from the start. Only one side really wanted it. Sexton’s worst show in an Ireland jersey. Too many individual errors. Joe didn’t get tactics right after the break. Lots of serious questions to be answered. Onwards.
— Tom Cotter (@tompcotter) February 2, 2019
England were magnificent in all departments especially defensively. Ireland weren’t allowed any margin in any facet of play. Kicking tactics were off the chart.
— SteveEdwards (@steveedwardsz) February 3, 2019
Ah lads. Very poor form. Referee was assertive and got he big decisions right today. England got their tactics right. Ireland were rudderless and just didn’t challenge the English. We lost. England did well and won. Referee had no influence on that
— Eoin Tighe (@eointighe) February 2, 2019
Gotta say, England were superb. Sharpest I’ve seen them in years.
Ireland are always poor in the opening game of the 6Nations but concerning the lack of a plan B.
— Mark Coughlan (@MarkCoughlan) February 3, 2019
Ireland relies heavily on a scripted game plan, they are always in danger of losing to an opponent who can crack that plan, and will struggle to adapt. Without individual brilliance to change a game, a plan is only as good as the opponent are poor at figuring it out.
— Chris Traynor (@PerformTraynor) February 3, 2019
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