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'The Irish are the new All Blacks... like playing Richie McCaw'

By Josh Raisey
Players tussle during the first test between South Africa and Ireland at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Stormers head coach John Dobson has labelled Ireland the “new All Blacks“, comparing captain Peter O’Mahony to Richie McCaw.


Dobson, who has plenty of experience of facing Irish sides in the United Rugby Championship, outlined how Ireland’s players have become the masters of the dark arts of rugby, as was McCaw.

Joining the Off the Ball podcast recently, the South African gave an insight into the “bar room talk” in his country, and how Andy Farrell’s side have taken over the All Blacks’ mantle of being the wiliest operators in rugby by pushing the laws to the limit.

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Irish defense coach Simon Easterby on selection ahead of Boks showdown

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Irish defense coach Simon Easterby on selection ahead of Boks showdown

“I wouldn’t call them nasty because off the field they’re the nicest people in the world,” he said.

“We feel, and I’ll speak on behalf of myself and the Stormers, and a lot of bar room talk is that the Irish are the new All Blacks.

South Africa
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“The genesis of that was going to number one in the world. After the Chicago win, it’s the best team in the world for a long time.

“That’s where it starts, but just that cleverness around where it’s a short line, a slight elbow to knock someone out of a clean, a slight tug back, Peter O’Mahony at his classic best. That to us felt like playing Richie McCaw and Sam Cane of a few years ago.


“It is a narrative that the Irish are very, very clever and know all the shortcuts now. That’s a big part of their game.”

Ireland fell to a 27-20 loss to South Africa last week at Loftus Versfeld, and head to Durban this Saturday looking for revenge.

While Dobson admitted that there were some pivotal decisions that did not go Ireland’s way in the match, he did highlight instances where they were able to slow the Springboks down at the breakdown  in a semi-legal fashion.

“I think you got a tough time last week, there were some very high-impact decisions that can’t be resolved,” he said.


“But I’d also say that there were many times when Ireland were on the edge of the breakdown and were coached off the ball. And I thought it was very clever. You just roll for one second slightly towards the No9 and then get out the way and make a big show of the ball, the damage is done and the ball’s been slowed.

“Our feeling for a while now, Ireland, whether it’s their phase play, whether it’s their kicking game, have been very, very, very clever. And we think they’re very clever at the breakdown, it’s ideal. And the maul defence, the way they come round and start pulling, it’s very clever.”


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Bryan 8 days ago

Backhanded compliments come across as a little bitter to me, which surprises me from Dobson.

John 9 days ago

Well done to IRL and Frawley. The boks need to school Sacha - should not have kicked and kept possession in 75th min

John 9 days ago

Not true - Richie doesn’t croc-roll ppl like that punk Doris or James Ryan

Patrick 9 days ago

What a load of crap coming from drunks in a bar.

Rugby 9 days ago

Very astute article

Bull Shark 10 days ago

On a serious note though: why would Andy (who’s a sh1t Joe Schmidt) drop his captain for the important one to level the series?

Seems like a bad idea.

Does it say something about POMs leadership, reading too much into it? Or is it just about giving Doris the experience?

Barry 10 days ago

As if South Africa wouldn’t throw a little elbow here, or a sneaky foot trip there if it would help them win a game.

Nickers 10 days ago

SA, France, and Ireland are excellent at these aspects of the game. The ABs have been naive for a number of years. After being labelled “cheats” for so many years it’s like Hansen took it to heart in around 2016 and there was a massive drop off in these tactics from NZ, only for all the other teams to start doing it better.

ABs got schooled against France in the WC opener last year, and again by SA in the final. I don’t think they even knew it was happening to them. Need to get Richie in as a Dark Arts consultant.

Thomas 10 days ago

Certified clickbait.
Ireland aren’t the new ABs, and I’m not an ABs supporter.
This is just silly pot-stirring.

Ben 10 days ago

No one is SA apart from Dobbo thinks Ireland is the new ABs and Peter O is the like Richie. They don’t even scratch the surface of the AB’s or Richie. I guess Dobbo only mentioned that on OTB because anything else will put the OTB pundits into whining mode again…..thats all they good for anyway…. Whine whine whine…. Ireland new Ab’s - Pfft!!…..

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Wonton 2 hours ago
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One game against Fiji is not enough to show that a player is ready to play the likes of South Africa. Spreading the ball wide too much increases the risk of turnovers and we turned the ball over 20 times against Fiji which is a lot more than what we did in the two England tests. We actually turned the ball over the same amount of times (20) against England in the 2019 semi final which we lost. Fiji didn’t make us pay for those turnovers but other teams will. In the 2nd test against England this year we had 100% success rate on attacking rucks. That’s the first time the AB’s have achieved this since the 2019 opening game of the RWC against South Africa. South Africa won last years RWC and Jesse Kriel did not pass once. The days of the Conrad Smith type centre might be over. Also Conrad Smith debuted in 2004 but he did not become an incumbent until Nonu did also in 2008. As for Rieko Ioane he and Jordie Barrett put in some very strong midfield hits in the 2nd test forcing turnovers several times. Rieko Ioane hasn’t played wing in years. If Proctor is moved to 13 then the best I think Ioane can hope for is an impact player off the bench. He does not have the aerial game of Caleb Clarke or the workrate of Tele’a for 11 and going to be selected over Jordan at 14. However its much too early to replace Rieko with Proctor. Rieko was excellent in the knock out rounds of the RWC. All Proctor has to show on his test CV is a good game against Fiji.

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Nick 4 hours ago
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