Less Kiss will be looking for significant improvement in backline tackling
Ireland missed 16 tackles against Argentina, of which 11 were made by an unusually porous backline
Ireland defence coach Les Kiss is looking for significant improvement in the second Test against Argentina.
Aside from not rewarding visits deep into the Pumas’ 22 with scores, by far the most disappointing aspect of the Irish performance in last Saturday’s first Test were the amount of missed tackles. Ireland missed 16 tackles, of which 11 were made by an unusually porous Irish backline.
Allowance has to be made for the team having been re-jigged and with it being so rusty – 13 of the starting side hadn’t played in three or four weeks, including the entire backline. There could be up to a further seven changes to the run-on XV for the second Test when the team is announced tomorrow, but even so Ireland, and especially defence coach Les Kiss, will be looking for a significant improvement.
“I was disappointed with a couple of elements of defence. Rightfully the players were as well. There were some good things as well but more important there was just one-on-one misses, particularly in the back line which was disappointing.
“That is probably an individual focus for each player, a concentration focus to make sure that you are at the top of your technique because these individuals are very sharp. They have great footwork, they are very strong. We talked about it before the game last week that we cannot just enter a tackle zone and go through the motions. You’ve got to hit, stick and finish off the back end because they are good fighters and they work.”
Kiss largely absolved the pack, where Chris Henry, Iain Henderson and Robbie Diack led the way with 36 tackles between them and only two missed, but what compounded the defensive flaws was the amount of preparatory work they had done on these Pumas. “We had video profiles on these players, we know them inside out basically and we offered them opportunities. I’ll be looking for an increase in focus and concentration and making sure that individually they’re nailed on. If that drops a bit it does give them a chance.”
Defensive coachThe Irish defensive coach singled out the Argentine left-winger Manual Montero. “We just didn’t knock the boy over. If you give him that space he is dangerous. That’s one example. The bottom line for me was we did scramble really well and sometimes the things the things that do define you isn’t the perfection of the system but it’s how you fight your way out of the crap when it happens. We healed ourselves pretty well most of the time but individuals probably need to get in front of certain things and we’ll keep working on our system.”
Montero’s opposite winger, Andrew Trimble, was unusually the most culpable along with Luke Marshall in missing three tackles, but in mitigation of the Ulster winger, he was coming up against a big, strong, quick and surprisingly nimble-footed winger, the kind who would assuredly have landed a Top 14 or Premiership club by now were it not for the Pumas’ commitments to the Rugby Championship making them less attractive to French and English owners.