herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

D'Arcy: Joe to build on 2013

Carbery, Ringrose and McGrath all on the cusp of Ireland debuts

Former Ireland and Leinster centre Gordon D’Arcy. Pic: Inpho/Dan Sheridan
Former Ireland and Leinster centre Gordon D’Arcy. Pic: Inpho/Dan Sheridan

Gordon D'Arcy has been there, not done that.

The retired centre had seven chances from his 82 Ireland caps to be part of history against the All Blacks.

They came as close as a Gillette razor blade.

There was Hamilton in 2006. There was Christchurch in 2012. There was Dublin in November 2013.

"We spent the best part of a decade going down to New Zealand. You try to beat them by playing at them.

"If you sit back and defend, you'll get absolutely steam-rolled," he said.

"We put ourselves in a position to beat the All Blacks three times and composure let us down at the end."

Joe Schmidt's Ireland will take the 29th and 30th shots at breaking new ground against New Zealand in the next three weeks.

They will have to do so without the know-how of Peter O'Mahony, Seán O'Brien, Iain Henderson and Paddy Jackson, the latter for personal reasons.

They have all been omitted from the reduced squad (27), meaning Joey Carbery is on the verge of his first cap.

The rookie joins Garry Ringrose, Luke McGrath, John Ryan and Billy Holland as a quality quintet working towards their debuts.

"Joe is definitely the master of getting the best out of his squad," said D'Arcy about his former coach.

"I mean look at those three games in South Africa, the way he moved and balanced the squad."

New Zealand are there, not necessarily for the taking. The Irish have to devise and carry out a plan that South Africa, Australia or Argentina could not manage.

It is difficult to know what, if any, influence the heartbreak of 2013 will have.

"There will be a couple of pillars to build on," noted the Wexford man.

"A lot of that would be about the individuals doing their roles correctly in real intense pressure.

"That was never better highlighted than in the last three minutes of that game where a couple of decisions under real intense pressure were not the correct ones.

"The only way to test New Zealand is to put them into a place where you are starting to question the integrity of their defence, the stress points to find a fracture or a pivot point in their defensive line.

"Can you get them into a place where they are so tired or so worked that they just look at a space and can't get there?

"That's largely what happens when New Zealand do that to teams."

IRELAND EXTENDED SQUAD

for New Zealand games

F Bealham, R Best (capt), J Carbery*, S Cronin, U Dillane, T Furlong, C Gilroy, C Healy, J Heaslip, R Henshaw, B Holland*, R Kearney, K Marmion, J McGrath, L McGrath*, J Murphy, C Murray, J Payne, G Ringrose*, D Ryan, J Ryan*, J Sexton, CJ Stander, D Toner, A Trimble, J van der Flier, S Zebo.

*Denotes uncapped player

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