Friday 15 December 2017

Anchorman Ross is Ireland's Ron Burgundy when the cameras roll

Mike Ross
Mike Ross

Mike Ross is the 'Ron Burgundy' of the Irish scrum, their real live Anchorman.

If Ireland thought the French scrum was something, they ain't seen nothing yet.

There were promises eternal made about what Les Bleus would do to Ireland. .

As it turned out, Ross, Rory Best and Cian Healy were more than a match for the formidable unit of Rabah Slimani, Guilhem Guirado and Eddy Ben Arous when it came to the heavyweight engagement.

In fact, the introduction of Nathan White, Richardt Strauss and Jack McGrath made sure Ireland had scrum impact as they drove straight through the French in the last quarter.

It was the most impressive piece of 80-minute scrummaging from Ireland in living memory.

While the game changes, the foundations remain the same and the veteran anchor Ross is a student of the game, but particularly of this law onto itself.

Argentina had the dominant scrum in The Rugby Championship, mincing the meat of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

It is at the core of a macho nation for which going forward at scrum time has always taken precedence over scintillating play.

Until now.

Coach Daniel Hourcade has overhauled their strategy to embroider beautiful patterns, all stitched together on the back of a pack that goes forward.

Ireland assistant coach Greg Feek views Leicester Tigers loose-head Marcos Ayerza as "their big rock" of the scrum.

"Since coming back to the new laws, I think he has come back to the fore," mentioned Feek.

The main positive for Ireland, in terms of what Ayerza does, is that the Irish provinces know him well enough to turn him inside-out.

"The World Cup has shown that if you don't get it quite right, anyone can hit you.

"It's a real mental thing now and with Argentina, they look really good.

"I think the combinations that Argentina have got have been together a bit longer than France in the front-row.

"They seem to be a bit more used to each other," continued Feek.

"I think the French were still dangerous, you saw that.

"Argentina really know what they want to do. It is going to be a really tough challenge."

It will take all six front rowers to stand the test.

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