Ireland V France Rugby World Cup 2015

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Ireland Vs France Rugby World Cup 2015 match report  Pool D Game 4

Ireland 24 – France 9

Where once there was creativity and inventiveness there now exists blunt force and brutality and how World Rugby still allows amateurs to play against professionals is completely beyond me.

France V Ireland Rugby World Cup 2015 Vivomed
France V Ireland Rugby World Cup 2015

If soccer is known as the beautiful game then what transpired yesterday in Cardiff between Ireland and France can only be described as ugly with a capital “U”.  It might have been exhilarating viewing but at what cost?

For those of us who are wondering where the game of rugby football is heading it pains me to say that it is all pointing towards catastrophic injuries that will soon end up with someone dying as a result. What can be done to halt the advancement of this is very little but please, please let the amateur game operate on a separate level to that of the pro game.

Allowing teams like Uruguay with only four full time professionals face off against men who are paid to hurt others is completely ludicrous and the sooner somebody in power faces the truth, the safer the game will become for everybody involved.

Ireland’s victory yesterday derived from one simple element that has been missing ever since this campaign commenced and I would include the four warm up games in that statement. The element I am referring to is ruthlessness. It is a word that is carved into the brains of every Olympian, World Champion, Masters winner and World Cup medal holder. How these people go about reaching their goals is vast and varied but the ruthlessness they possess can be found in equal measures in their blood.

To compete against teams like France who have lost their traditional free flowing identity and sadly replaced with the crash, bang and wallop version you need two essential elements to be present. First of all you need to have a complete lack of respect for your body and secondly there has to be an inner belief that no one and I mean no one can interfere with.

Putting your body on the line has long been associated with international rugby and with what we saw yesterday the Irish players were nothing short of Japanese Kamikaze pilots.  To a man, everyone single one of them were prepared to surrender all their functioning joints, ligaments and muscle fibres that god gave them in order to win.

At times the Irish players tackle technique was completely devoid from how they were taught but it was simply a case of, do whatever it takes to halt any advancements made by the French.  Players like Sean O’Brien not only reawakened his bull dozing traits, he also played with a shrewdness that is new to his game. As an open side wing forward you need to live on the edge and play the game with a philosophy of, it’s only cheating if you’re caught, a feature that the Leinster man certainly portrayed yesterday.

Jamie Heaslip also had an incredible game and carried the ball with immense threat and purpose. With the possible demise of Paul O’Connell, Peter O’Mahony and O’Brien, Heaslip’s involvement in the squad suddenly takes on a whole new entity and his years of leadership qualities will be called upon more and more.

The other member of yesterday’s back row Peter O’Mahony was by far the pick of the Irish forwards and right up to the point to when he got injured he resembled a machine who was operating on an everlasting  power supply.

Peter O’Mahony receives treatment at the Millennium Stadium.
Peter O’Mahony receives treatment using a Vivomed ice bag at the Millennium Stadium. Copyright Irish Times

Again, I refer to the kamikaze pilot when simulating his style of play and can only admire his bravery. I recall watching him as a fledgling in Cork Con and saying to myself he will not have a long career if he continues to hurl his body around the park as he does but I guess his insatiable quest for work is what makes him the player he is and trying to knock that out of him would only lesson him as a person and a player.

After last week’s poor and lack lustre display against the Italians, Ireland really focused on hitting the gain line with purpose and the presentation of the ball. There is no point in trying to play progressive rugby if you receive the ball in static positions.

Like a rapidly encroaching tidal wave the Irish ball carriers hit the gain line at full tilt time after time which had the French scrambling to form a worthy defensive line. On top of this, Ireland’s body positioning and ball placement after the tackle was impeccable and the service they afforded Conor Murray was from the top drawer.

Frederic  Michalak and Mathieu Bastareaud were perceived to be Ireland’s biggest worries however; they were impinged by a lack of quality ball and the space they had to unleash their talents was very quickly eliminated. Apart from just one telling snipe by Michalak he was just a passenger and as for Bastareaud, his services would have been better off utilised if he was running as a water boy.

Vivomed IRFU Medical Suppliers

I don’t have enough column space to talk about every player in the team but it is probably the most complete performance by any Irish side that I have ever witnessed. I would even go as far as to say that it eclipses the Grand slam winning year of 2009.

I know we have nothing tangible yet but to cope with the injuries in this game as they unfolded was nothing short of miraculous.  No matter how hard you try to prepare for situations in any sporting context it is impossible to foresee injuries. Joe Schmidt’s game management was calm, calculated and it almost looked as if he was expecting the game to unfurl as it did.

As a coach you look at your squad and try your best to have someone who can either switch position or come off the bench and do a job however, when you forego the services of Sexton (your key play maker), O’Connell (your spiritual leader) and O’Mahony (your go to war man) you would normally start heading for the exit cursing your luck.

None of us know exactly what goes on behind closed doors in team meetings but whatever kind of team environment that Schmidt has created with this bunch of players is really starting to manifest itself at the right time and the strategy he is implementing seems to be one of uniformity where everybody has bought into.

I am almost frightened to look beyond next week at this stage because of the relevance it could mean to Irish sport so for now we will await with bathed breath the news regarding the injuries and possible sighting for Sean O’Brien.

I now know why we have never done well in any of the World Cups we have competed in and it’s because we never had a squad with depth and a management team with so much shrewdness and guile.

A personal overview of the Rugby World Cup (RWC 2015) from Ex Munster and Ireland International David Corkery.

David Corkery

Vivomed Sales Manager – Ireland

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