Liam Toland: Scotland knocked Ireland off balance by attacking pillars of strength
Concern after Murrayfield loss is that things may get harder before they get easier
William Shakespeare’s words “What’s past is prologue” are engraved in Washington DC as a gentle reminder that history is but the introduction. Ireland have built huge success these past seasons on three pillars; the one-out runner, the lineout maul and the box-kick. History has been very kind to these three ingredients but then Vern Cotter was paying attention to them also and I assume, as all leaders do in preparation for battle, he asked the crucial question: “what is their centre of gravity?” And, as Clausewitz wrote, a decisive act on same will cause the opponent to yield.
That Irish source of strength are those pillars, manifest in our strong boys: Seán O’Brien, CJ Stander and Robbie Henshaw. In attacking our centre of gravity, Scotland smashed these three guys like never before; oft times in double and triple teams. This stopped Ireland’s flow, messed up the recycle and crucially afforded Scotland defensive reset time for another onslaught of tackles.