Liam Toland: Old DNA mixes with new to fuel Irish evolution

Denying Wales possession and kicking to gain distance were key to Ireland’s win

Ireland’s Andrew Conway and Johnny Sexton   Wales’s Ken Owens during their Guinness Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin on Saturday. Photograph: Donall Farmer/PA Wire

Ireland’s Andrew Conway and Johnny Sexton Wales’s Ken Owens during their Guinness Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin on Saturday. Photograph: Donall Farmer/PA Wire

“The Box Kick”, Leaving Cert English, Paper one. No doubt PhD theses are being written on this subject. Conor Murray kicked last Saturday, but few were box kicks in the classic sense as he chose distance, increasing the metres gained over Scotland by 12 per cent.

I noted on Friday that Ireland were vulnerable and – despite a brilliant win over Wales, scoring four tries – they remain vulnerable. As with any form of transition, the old DNA will at times get mixed with the new. In these moments, even at the elite level of these players, mistakes can occur. To limit this, Ireland managed possession like their lives depended on it. Vast swathes of time went by with the home team owning the ball for 71 per cent of the time in the opening 30 minutes.

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