Ireland love building moves and structures around lineouts. They provide the perfect foundation for the computer-like chess moves that Joe Schmidt like to coach. And during Ireland v France, both the good and bad aspects of the Irish lineouts were on full display.

In this article, we will break down Ireland’s computer glitch approach to attack, as well as some of the epic Joe Schmidt chess moves that worked.

How Ireland Search for a Glitch | Ireland v France

The following passage of play starts with an attacking lineout and ends 9 phases later. Ireland searched relentlessly like a computer program looking for a bug. Watch how structured and patient they are below.

Ireland begin their long process of finding a mismatch
Ireland begin their long process of finding a mismatch

They’re scanning for a situation where a fast back is being marked by a slow forward or a big player is up against a smaller player. They will go over and back like this for as long as it takes, focused mainly on protecting the ball rather than making ground.

It continues below until finally, they find their bug.

Ireland have found their mark
Ireland have found their mark

Ireland won’t go into the 15m channel unless there is a clear cut opportunity. On this occasion, it’s their replacement no. 8 Conan who is backed to beat the thinning French defence. He completes the 9 phase mission.

Conan takes advantage of the bug identified in the French defence
Conan takes advantage of the bug identified in the French defence

This may be impressive but when it comes down to it, it’s much more efficient for Ireland to score off first or second phase than have to reset and go through this whole process.

Let’s find out how they launched some destructive strike moves from their lineouts.

More Joe Schmidt Chess Move Set-Pieces | Ireland v France

This is a classic Sexton double-round that France perhaps should have seen coming, but the theory is easier than the execution.

Aki runs along the yellow arrow to hold that defender, and the stage is set. If we zoom in, it becomes apparent that Bastareaud is being checked slightly. This is the man who was meant to be marking Sexton.

Bastareaud is checked slightly
Bastareaud is checked slightly

As the clip plays on two French defenders end up running into each other, a clear sign that the moves has created the necessary confusion. Sexton goes in for the try.

Sexton scores
Sexton scores a beautiful try

The next lineout move uses an inside ball instead of a double-round, but the blocking is a common theme. Stander aims to pull the two defenders in the red circles wide with him.

Stander is about to use his powerful running as a distraction
Stander is about to use his powerful running as a distraction

It works a charm as the two French players react to the looming threat he poses. And unseen behind him, Keith Earls is making a run as well on the inside. As we zoom in, we can see the Irish pack blocking off the gap.

Earls makes a sneaky run while the forwards block
Earls makes a sneaky run while the forwards block

This sends Earls through for his 30th test try.

Earls scores
Earls scores

If you want to see an even more complex Irish blocking move broken down, check out the article below. This one is absolutely crazy.

Scotland v Ireland Tactics | Joe Schmidt’s Power Plays In Depth

Despite all of the above successes, the Irish lineout wasn’t achieving what it should have been in this game.

Worrying Signs | Ireland v France

Ireland are usually efficient in this area, but in this game were stung by errors. Here the ball goes over the top, and Sexton knocks on after being forced to tidy up.

A lineout goes astray for Ireland
A lineout goes astray for Ireland

This is just one of many situations where Ireland had the ball in this area, only to either make an error or simply fail to score. Unfortunately, it wasn’t just relegated to lineouts.

Here an attacking scrum in prime territory turns into a mess. This will grind the gears of the methodical Joe Schmidt.

The momentum from the attacking scrum is lost
The momentum from the attacking scrum is lost

If Ireland are to give themselves a chance of a title against Wales, they need to convert all of these chances. Joe Schmidt is the type of coach to demand 100% efficiency in this area. But when we consider the fact that Wales don’t often kick for touch, Ireland may not have a chance to flex their lineout as much anyway.

What chance do you give Ireland of overcoming Wales away from home? let us know your thoughts.

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