Eddie O'Sullivan rings "alarm bells" around Ireland's nagging defensive concerns

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Eddie O'Sullivan rings "alarm bells" around Ireland's nagging defensive concerns


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The results thus far in the Six Nations have been very good for Ireland with three wins from three and the Grand Slam hopes very much alive.

But in all three matches there have been nagging defensive concerns that just won't go away and they have been worrying ex-Ireland head coach Eddie O'Sullivan with tough challenges against Scotland and England to come on the horizon.  

"We don't often number off on the short side. We overload it defensively and we definitely get too narrow, tight around the ruck and we leave the corners exposed," he said on Monday Night Rugby.

"The truth of the matter is basically Mark Anscombe had our Grand Slam hopes in his hands there with the last pass of the game. If he goes back to Justin Tipuric there, I think Shingler scores again."

He added that, "We've been caught out wide consistently and there is an issue about our system".

"We're getting too compressed and we seem to be chasing rucks and seem to not number off on the short side and they're all fixables," he said.

Fixable though they may be, Eddie is very concerned going forward.  

"Let's be honest, Scotland will expose that out wide and so will England, so there's tougher things to come," he said.

"I would worry about that. I don't think our system is working well.

"But when you consider teams are scoring - and Italy are the same - scoring three tries with like 30% possession. That has to send alarm bells ringing and I don't think it's just down to personnel. I think it's down to our system isn't running well."

While the defensive concern, Eddie was impressed at the other end about the way Ireland beat Wales at their own game: "Basically, Ireland beat Wales playing Warren ball".  

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