One of the main positives was the performance of loosehead prop Dave Kilcoyne, who had a memorable 45 minutes.
The Munster man came off injured, but not before he made his mark on the game at both scrum time and with the ball in hand.
In fact, OptaJonny shared a stat on Twitter that Irish fans love, which is that on only four occasions has a Tier One prop beaten five or more defenders in one game over the past ten years-and it was both Tadhg Furlong or Kilcoyne who achieved that.
Ireland’s tighthead has achieved the feat twice, against Argentina in 2017 and Australia in 2018, beating six players on that occasion, and Kilcoyne has achieved it twice, against Italy in February and Wales last weekend.
4 – There have been just four instances of a Tier 1 prop beating 5+ defenders in a Test match in the last 10 years:
Tadhg Furlong – 5 v Argentina, Nov 2017
Tadhg Furlong- 6 v Australia, June 2018
Dave Kilcoyne – 5 v Italy, Feb 2019
Dave Kilcoyne – 5 v Wales, Aug 2019
— OptaJonny (@OptaJonny) September 3, 2019
This is a stat that Irish fans are lapping up, as it is not only good to see their industrious props get some recognition for their work, but it highlights the platform in which Ireland build their success.
Schmidt’s style of rugby is dependent on bruising forwards relentlessly battering the opposition, spearheaded by the likes of Furlong. The volume of carries for the forwards and the ground they make is usually a good barometer for how a team performs, but it is particularly significant with Ireland. If the pack are on the front foot, Jonathan Sexton is able to control the game as he pleases.
‘I remember as a kid having vague recollections of police checks and border controls, so the thought of going back there feels as though it's such a step back in time’
– @BrianODriscoll talks to @heagneyl about Brexit, @IrishRugby and @rugbyworldcuphttps://t.co/jHOw9x5HfE
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 1, 2019
With Ireland suffering a bit of a slump in 2019, they need performances like this from Kilcoyne to get them back on track, and it would have certainly helped the prop in a push for a starting berth.
Cian Healy has long been the favoured loosehead in Ireland, and started the week before in a strong team against England. While he is in the World Cup squad, he hobbled off at Twickenham, and may not be at full fitness in Japan. Kilcoyne showed he is the man to step up and replace the British and Irish Lion and he now has the stats to prove it.
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