Five things we learned from Ireland's Six Nations win over Wales
Ireland are top of the charts after their bonus point win over Wales.
Here's the take away from Saturday's success:
1. Twists and turns change championship picture
From the moment the fixtures for this year were announced, fans were looking ahead to England v Ireland in round five as the key game and a potential Grand Slam decider. Not so fast. Scotland’s win over Eddie Jones’ (above) men derailed England’s hopes of a clean sweep, while keeping alive their own championship hopes. Ireland, meanwhile, could clinch the championship in two weeks.
2. Ireland attack looks sharp and threatening
While the try bonus speaks for itself, this was a much improved attacking game from Ireland against a good defensive team. Brutally effective in the trenches and at the breakdown, Ireland were on the front foot for so much of the game. They left some points out there, notably off the tee, but brimmed with threat throughout. Their 37 points was the most in this fixture since 2002.
3. Fill-ins stand up tall for Ireland
When Robbie Henshaw, Iain Henderson (right) and Tadhg Furlong picked up injuries, it was clear that Ireland’s depth was to be tested down three more 2017 Lions in addition to Sean O’Brien. There was plenty of inexperience in Ireland’s ranks in Test terms but Chris Farrell was man of the match, James Ryan again showed his readiness for the stage and Andrew Porter gave up nothing in the scrums.
4. Fourth quarter continues to concern
The injuries may not have told in the starting line-up but there was certainly a trickle down effect. With the changes to the side, there were different faces in the replacements too and for a second game in succession, Ireland were at their worst after the benches emptied and lost defensive shape.
5. Ulster’s Jacob still a cracker
Jacob Stockdale just can’t stop scoring tries. As the man himself will freely acknowledge, his game at this level is still a work in progress, there is no arguing with his strike rate. After just seven caps, only 28 men have ever scored more tries more Ireland than his eight. While his first was all about Sexton’s pass, the second was a great read.
Belfast Telegraph Digital