Brian O'Driscoll identifies England vulnerabilities Ireland can exploit

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Brian O'Driscoll identifies England vulnerabilities Ireland can exploit


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There are still two tough fixtures to go for Ireland in the Six Nations before the final crunch weekend but the narrative has suggested that the clash against England on St Patrick's Day at Twickeham will decide the destination of both the Championship and potentially even the Grand Slam. 

Looking ahead to what it will take for Ireland to pick the lock of a resolute English defence, Brian O'Driscoll pointed out a few factors that Joe Schmidt's side can look at. 

One was line-speed with England faster to engage in comparison to Ireland.

"They're sprinting out of the blocks. They are a little bit vulnerable on the extremities, I think as well a small bit, particularly on Johnny May's wing," said Brian, adding that he is a "bit vulnerable in defence".

"I think Joseph going in there and his acceleration off the line, he's a good defender. He's not going to monster anyone but he makes a lot of good decisions, makes a lot of solid tackles.

England's Jonny May with Rhys Patchell of Wales ©INPHO/James Crombie

"Lots of sides are really aggressive in the first five defenders from the ruck but their aggressiveness almost appears to start three out from the ruck and continue right across the line."

He added that Paul Gustard has "evolved that English defence to another level which makes them very, very difficult to get to the outside".

Be that as it may, he also identified how Ireland can work around that.

"If you're brave enough and if you're willing to get the quality of pass and hold your depth enough to get it out there, I think you can exploit them because their scramble... because of that line-speed, they don't have as much of a fall-back on their scramble because everyone's up field," he said.

But he added that Ireland must be careful with our loop plays because England "can read through the line", although a loop play to a kick pass is an option between the space of the frontline and Mike Brown.

However, as he pointed out, there are still two matches to go before Ireland have to focus on that.


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