Wednesday 23 January 2019

Eric Miller: Ireland still need to use the boot

Ireland may feel they are caught between a rock and a hard place at the moment.

To their credit, they are trying to please a watching public, but are probably doing it with a tinge of naivety.

I may be wrong but I cannot help but feel that this team are forcing their game in order to appease the outside world.

One thing Tiger Woods was taught by his parents was never to try to live up to other people's expectations. Despite his shortcomings, he certainly lives his own life by living up to his own expectations.


Last weekend, Ireland, on a number of occasions, probably threw one too many risky passes instead of gaining field position.

Ronan O'Gara's entrance into the game and what followed demonstrated what Ireland had been lacking throughout the match.

He must have been watching with a lot of frustration what was happening before his own introduction.

My own instinct as a player was to play a running game, and goodness knows I would be one of the biggest advocates of where Ireland are trying to go as a team.

But they have to do it at a pace that ties in with their development and, most of all, they have to do it their way.

The garryowen and kicking to the corners will always be part and parcel of this game, no matter where the rules may take us.

As much as I dislike kicking away ball that could be kept in hand, I have only recently managed to convince myself of this reality.

This game, more than any other, will be scrutinised by the Irish management, but they should take solace in the fact that the will of the players seems to be there, which means that the squad is not far off, despite the apparent slow progress.

They will know that they were right to take the game to a fallible looking French defence.

However, a bit more variety on how we place pressure on teams in relation to a tactical kicking game, without shying too far from an open approach, should be the order of the day.

Somehow I feel if this message is conveyed in the right way then the likes of Jonny Sexton will be able to control things with a lot more clarity.

Declan Kidney has most probably adapted his coaching approach with the advent of the new laws, but he may come to the conclusion that there is no harm in implementing certain aspects of the game that worked so well for his Munster team in their successful Heineken Cup years.

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