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Wednesday 7 December 2016

Ireland have to deny England set-piece superiority

The English are one-dimensional without their set-piece go-forward : Dylan Hartley / PA Wire
The English are one-dimensional without their set-piece go-forward : Dylan Hartley / PA Wire

The mentality of a forward has not yet left retired Leinster and Ireland back rower Kevin McLaughlin.

When it comes to Ireland against England, it is going to be more of the same that went on in Paris.

"It will come down to the scrum again," he said.

"They (England) probably have the best scrum in the competition. If we can get parity there, we will have a really good sniff.

"If we don't do that and we're under huge pressure, I think we will really struggle. Their power game will start to really come into it."

There is no more relentless force in world rugby than England as long as they can establish front-foot ball.

The Italians fared reasonably well for an hour in Rome and then they just got overwhelmed.

When forced to chase the game, they just ended up chasing George Ford, Owen Farrell and Jonathan Joseph.

"You could see the English starting to swag. That won't happen against Ireland," reassured McLaughlin.

The English thrive on their set-piece go-forward. Take that away from them and they can be one-dimensional.

"With (Dylan) Hartley, (Dan) Cole and (Mako) Vunipola or (Joe) Marler, they have some serious units there. We need to break-even at the scrum and in the maul and take it from there.

"That is the way these Six Nations internationals are won these days."

For this to happen, McLaughlin would advise the introduction of Mike Ross and Cian Healy.

"We need to get Cian and Mike back in there. They will make a difference in terms of pure experience against the English scrum because they are going to target us there.

"That is their game at Twickenham. It's a power game."

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