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Liam Toland highlights intriguing change to the way Ireland play


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If Ireland do go on to win the 2018 Six Nations, Paris' value will soar even higher than the lofty heights it's already attaining.

But for Liam Toland, the 41 phases that led to Jonathan Sexton's drop goal against France to win the game will stand Ireland in good stead less than two years from now when the Rugby World Cup kicks off in Japan.

Ex-Leinster captain Toland and Irish Independent rugby writer Ruaidhri O'Connor joined us on Wednesday Night Rugby and Toland emphasised the long-term effect of what Ireland did.

"I think it was a monumental moment in time for Ireland but for those players in particular because muscle has a memory and that will stick in their heads," he said, adding that, "The memory that Paris will give those players will stand Irish rugby for another couple of years, leading all the way to the Rugby World Cup". 

And he also made a very interesting point about Ireland's style of play which has been under some scrutiny in regards to what was seen in Paris in comparison to the more free-flowing approach in November.

"You can see a subtle change in how Ireland are playing and you can see it in a couple of ways. The first is how they use stolen line-out ball. They get it very, very wide," said Toland.

"You've got a midfield now with Bundee Aki and you've got Robbie Henshaw. But in particular Rob Kearney at full back. Those three guys are ruthlessly brilliant at the breakdown. They're as good as any back-row forward. In fact, when they push the ball wide, the open-side, maybe the No 8 CJ Stander, doesn't have to panic to win that break-down. So they can take those risks and they are taking those risks.

"They have a name for box-kicking but there's certainly an evolution."

And for this Saturday coming against Italy, Toland wants to see that evolution expanded upon.

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


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