O'Driscoll is the master of time in a team performance
Best was sensational throughout and now he was right behind Sexton and inside O’Driscoll which confused Jonathan Davies a tad. As the ball arrived into O’Driscoll’s hands Kearney ran a decoy which added to Davies’s confusion but put Kearney out of the game, leaving a Welsh four on two with Best trailing inside. At that point there were over 70,000 people in the ground watching O’Driscoll but only three, Davies, Leigh Halfpenny and Alex Cuthbert could see his eyes and all three were sucked into his soul, transfixed by his presence and his possibilities. What will he do next, I’m sure they mused, as he suspended time. All three were sucked in to his vortex with Zebo flying over.
Moments of clarity
In all this the Irish frontrow was crucial or as coach Tony D’Amato would say: “That’s a team, gentlemen.” At that point in time Declan Kidney, his staff and all the players created moments of clarity that maximised the concept of team. It was beautiful.
That first-half performance succeeded in many things through the violently low body positions of McCarthy, Donnacha Ryan and Peter O’Mahony at the breakdown which kept Phillips out of trouble meaning his power pass saw very little action. The Irish lineout mauled Wales and further sucked in their defence.
Defensively, much concern was voiced regarding our two wingers’ capabilities but their decision-making and execution was spot on. The lineout too brought its talking points where Seán O’Brien’s cameo at hooker brought a 100 per cent return.
Comfort and clarity in the game plan helps all but in particular the Irish halfbacks where Murray had a more honed machine around him. They were all picking up their points and lines allowing him to keep the engine greased which sped up the flow making it very difficult for Wales to slow down the ball or force turnovers. In effect it neutralised much of Wales’ perceived strengths by going hard and flat on the fringe and rewind down the blindside. Likewise Sexton looked very comfortable due to the comfort those around him had in their roles.
Then the second half Welsh onslaught arrived but with Irish unity of effort there was to be no delayed gratification. Fingers crossed for Gordon D’Arcy and Mike Ross.
PS. What a great weekend of rugby, starting out in Navan RFC on Friday night where unfortunately too much chaff invaded the wheat in a very laborious 42-minute long monologue! Best of luck to Navan and president Christy Moffett for the remainder of the season.