I will recover but will Ireland

25/02/2020

England 24 Ireland 12

Report by Frank Quinn

I will recover but will Ireland? This is the third consecutive loss in twelve months to England for the same team (The Joe Schmidt selection). The score line does not do justice to England who should have been out of sight at half time with their dominance of possession and territory.

Two scrappy tries from vey well place kicks helped along the way.

We did not recover in 2019 in the 6N or in the following RWC 2019, so why would we do better this year; well for starters we have a new coach with two wins under his belt to motivate the selection.

We play Italy, who scored no points in two 6N games out of three, in two weeks time followed immediately by France who has won 3/3.

So the standout game is in Paris on another Super Saturday 7th March, where they may be playing to scoop the pool of a Grand Slam, Championship and everything that goes with that - a clean up. Les Blues has to negotiate a visit to Edinburgh first to play Scotland who won 1/3, they beat Italy! while England take on Wales.

So to France - and the great Irish pickup to block them out of a championship, we have to assume we can do it - but what will Farrell do. We have the old rugby philosophy of they cannot be as bad again! - so pick the same”lads”.

Not good enough in 2020 for me when you compare the performances man to man against England - we were left floundering. Compare the back three in the backs and the back row three against England’s players; we lost out in both areas and in other key areas.

Our half backs did not perform - including the captain. So unacceptable going forward and please forget RWC 2023 and think about 7th March 2020.

Farrell and Sexton lamented a slow start but this was the third meeting in twelve months for both - how could they be surprised by England’s tactics, kicking and quick start. Also Farrell said post match the replacements all played well from very early on in the second half - so start all of them the next day and maybe against France.

As for Sexton’s off day, you have to wonder if he spent more time talking to his players about what is going on around him on the pitch and in the game instead of arguing about technicalities with the referee.

It would be very much more beneficial to be aware of what is going on with his team on the park and directing and advising his players. The referee is proving a fatal attraction for Johnny Sexton

Time heals, but it is difficult to have any great confidence in going to Paris with the French playing free for all flair rugby, scoring tries and winning three out of three games.

We had a starter squad of 38 to begin the 6N, with twelve new players who did not feature in the 2019 RWC squad, but we ended up with the same match squad - except for few injuries and retirees, that played in the RWC.

Are we that scarce of talent? - are the twelve new players not fit to be selected to start and play international rugby, and if so what are they doing there. Or is the coach stuck with this match squad? And not willing to expand the selection. (For the excellent reason of non performance)

He has the Italy game at home - so does he start all the + EIGHT Replacements from the previous three games and drop the regulars to the bench as insurance policy for any possible failures/injuries. Time to expand our horizons and our selection.