Thursday 14 December 2017

Ireland need to add more strings to their Bowe

It was heads-down rugby working under a heads-up coach that cost Ireland so dearly.

The individuals were so focussed in on what they needed to do to make a differencethat the wider picture was forgotten at The Millennium Stadium.

It had been five minutes since Tommy Bowe had made an uncharacteristic defensive mistake to have Scott Williams' try put Ireland in an 11-point hole in the 61st.

The character of the Irish had shown through in how they bounced back to come within a metre of the line.

When it mattered most, Ireland's the focus of the forwards narrowed, spurning the clear and obvious two-man overlap.

Scrum-half Eoin Reddan's quick tap penalty took him into contact and Jonathan Sexton followed him into the trenches to clear out in the shadow of the posts.

The call had to come from the outside. But, the first receiver position, that of Sexton's, was taken up by forwards, not a barking out-half or inside centre.

"We were screaming for it out wide," said wing Bowe.

"But, with the noise and the atmosphere in that stadium, it is very hard to hear anything.

"Our scrum-half was in the ruck, so for the forwards to have to throw a pass out, well, it is something we will work on.

"Whenever you are that close to the line, I'm sure what's going through their heads is that they want to get over and score.

"Whenever we give a 12-point lead to a team with such class as Wales, playing catch up, you need to take your chances when you get them."

There was always the possibility, given what was at stake, Wales would produce the best version of themselves.

The memory of how the Welsh dismantled England to win The Championship in 2013 was a benchmark of where they had to get back to.

"It was probably going to take one of our best performances for a few years to win," said captain Sam Warburton.

"I think that was up there with the performance against South Africa, maybe go back to 2013 when we beat England. It was up there with that.

"We knew exactly how good Ireland, were, won ten games in a row, the form side in the northern hemisphere and thoroughly deserved to be ranked third in the world."

Better this happened now than at the World Cup.

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