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The prop stat that Ireland fans are lapping up

Joe Schmidt and Ireland fans had a lot of positives to take from their victory over Wales at the weekend, particularly a week after a humbling loss to England at Twickenham.

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.

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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.

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.

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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The prop stat that Ireland fans are lapping up