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'No mathematical sense': Ireland's decision to take points on offer scrutinised

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

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Despite being down 22-7 at one stage in the first half, Andy Farrell’s side came back in Paris to make a contest of their clash against France by climbing back to a 27-21 deficit.


With seven minutes remaining and Ireland camped in France’s 22, captain James Ryan pointed to the posts to close the gap to 27-24 instead of kicking to the corner.

Head coach Andy Farrell defended the call to go for three points, saying there is no doubt it was ‘the right decision’ in the moment. However, fans and pundits alike were not happy with the call.

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Former Ireland great Brian O’Driscoll was critical of the decision in the post-match coverage on ITV, saying it seemed like the ‘obvious route’ to kick for the corner and attempt to get another maul try.

“Of course it’s not the right call because they haven’t won the game, but it’s easy to look back retrospectively,” O’Driscoll said.

“In real time, all of us were discussing it and deliberating it here. Because they had success from the previous maul and van der Flier scored a try from it, it seemed like the obvious route to go.

“They were six behind so were going to have to score at least another penalty to only draw the game, whereas seven points would have put them into the lead if they scored the try and knocked over the conversion.


What surprised the former outside centre was that they changed tactic from the aggressive intent they have showed recently, shying away from going for the try.

“I’m just surprised with this team’s mentality. They go to the corner so often, but yet when it got tight like this they didn’t back themselves.”

Fans alike questioned the call, saying the ‘shambolic’ call ‘made no mathematical sense’ and lacked ‘ambition to win’.


Head coach Andy Farrell and captain James Ryan were adamant that the right decision was made on the field, with enough time remaining to still win the game after taking the three points.

“It’s the right decision, there is no doubt about that,” Farrell said in the post-match press conference.

“They feel the game, they are in the moment, they understand what is happening. There is plenty of time left, we have a lineout after that when we was a couple of points down.

Captain James Ryan also was unwavering in his belief saying ‘it was the right decision at the time’ when Ireland were on top of France.

“It just felt like it was the right decision at the time,” a disappointed Ryan said after Ireland came up short 30-24 to a powerful French outfit.

“We were imposing our game on them in that period. We felt confident in our attack and we thought we could bring the game to three points and we backed ourselves to go and win the game then off the back of that.”


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