Joe Schmidt addresses question marks over Ireland's defensive concerns

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Joe Schmidt addresses question marks over Ireland's defensive concerns


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"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."

Those were the thoughts of former Ireland head coach Eddie O'Sullivan when he joined us on Monday Night Rugby last night and outlined his worries about the Irish defence.

He also added that, "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."

While Ireland are three wins from three in the Six Nations and the only side that can still win the Grand Slam, defensive lapses and issues have been evident in the victories over France, Italy and Wales, with try-scoring power at the other end seeing Joe Schmidt's side through in the latter two games.

The current Ireland head coach addressed question marks over the defence. Speaking to Off The Ball's Oisin Langan at today's Ireland press conference, the New Zealander admitted that there are issues to be looked at defensively. 

"I think inevitably all teams get a bit narrow sometimes when they're feeling a bit stressed," he said before outlining some of the attacking circumstances from opposition teams that can stress a defence. 

He continued: "We've got to be able to adapt to those situations. You can't just fly off and fire at people and leave yourself short on the edges, so it's about getting that balance.

"So in this very room this morning, we looked at a bit of footage, committed to the system that allows that flexibility and hopefully those solutions will have been part of today's training and will form part of next week's preparation."

He also described Ireland's defence coach Andy Farrell as "world class and has the absolute confidence of our group because they can see that the system works".

"We've just got to make sure we apply it," he said, adding that, "We can't afford to keep conceding three tries a game".

Vodafone are Official sponsors of the Irish Rugby team. We all belong to the team of us.


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