Liam Toland: O’Halloran fast becoming the Irish Nacewa

Connacht players always believe their fullback will ride the tackle and find his man

Bundee Aki is out of action until February. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Bundee Aki is out of action until February. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

As 2016 grinds to a halt I’m full of the warmth of so many rugby experiences but that there is at last a unified ‘ruthless pursuit of excellence’ across all five professional teams is most significant. In essence, if you are a rugby player in 2017, work extremely hard and the system in place will help you be successful. Look at Connacht.

That Connacht defensive scrum at 71:50 against Wasps five out from home tells of the quality that lies therein. The turnovers were killing Connacht but they weren’t playing badly. A very impressive aspect of their performance was how they changed tactics ever so slightly for the second half. As the forwards spread across the pitch, secondrow Quinn Roux was a crucial pivot when in possession. He looked like he was everywhere but was simply in his preordained slot as the ball flowed his way.

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