Sunday 17 December 2017

Sean O'Brien back to his best in nick of time

Ireland's Sean O'Brien
Ireland's Sean O'Brien

It has all been worth the 15-month wait for Seán O'Brien to shed his injuries and his rustiness.

The Tullow Tank fired off a volley of explosive moments in Murrayfield to show he is right back to his best.

It was always going to happen. The same went for loose-head Cian Healy.

But, when? Would Ireland just sow what Leinster would reap?

Scotland were on the receiving end of O'Brien's thirteen carries for seven defenders swatted aside and 76 metres made, not to forget his two tries.

"I felt good out there," he said simply.

The defeat to Wales was the last thing Ireland wanted last week. The intense and relentless nature of the game had O'Brien and Healy - the prop made eleven thunderous tackles - 'spot on.'

"I felt strong again and how tough that test match was last week stood to us fitness-wise," said O'Brien.

Ireland needed life on the far side of the gain line more than ever on Saturday in light of the target set by Wales' demolition of Italy and, as it would happen, ahead of England's game-for-the-ages against France at Twickenham later in the evening.

It was time for Ireland to break out of their shell of pragmatism to produce the 40 points to defend their title.

"There has been a lot of talk about the style of play the last few weeks but defences in this competition are very strong," he said.

"You have really good players playing against you. You have to bring them to a place where they are under a lot of pressure and maybe we haven't done that in the last few weeks."


It was no coincidence Ireland's best attacking output came just as O'Brien and the powerful Healy regained their full match sharpness.

"If we approach the game like we did there, for instance, make sure everyone is going 100 miles an hour, we know we are never too far away."

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