Let's accept for the moment that you are correct about our "lack" of physical humility who on the field of play was going to play smart for us.Ruckedtobits wrote:In playing rugby at the top level, it takes a massive exercise in humility to acknowledge that your team are unlikely to win the majority of collisions and to plan your tactics accordingly. However, IMO, Ireland for a lot of the professional era, whilst prepared to adopt this outlook when playing SA, have never been prepared to accept this reality against some of the strong English teams we have faced in this century.
Everybody understands that bowing the knee to the English is just not part of our national DNA. However, starting with a premise that the particular team we are facing at any given time is physically stronger and, sometimes, better able to overcome us in particular facets of the game should compel us to figure out tactical alternatives to setting up our team to being knocking back in the vast majority of face-to-face encounters we are likely to experience, particularly in the opening salvos of a game contesting a trophy.
When Ireland appointed our current scrum coach, the view was offered that his elevation was based largely on the performance of his Province's scrum and maul, the former of which was largely based on the technical expertise of Greg Feek, whilst the latter was largely a product of the Leinster Head Coach, Leo Cullen.
Nothing I have seen since September 2019 has altered these views. From today's game in particular I offer the performance of our line-out maul on numerous occasions and the competition between Ellis Genge and Andrew Porter.
Careful study of Genge's competitions against his Premiership direct opponents will demonstrate that the smart ones (Exeter, Sale, Gloucester etc.) recognise that he is an incredibly strong opponent- but with a very short fuse. All of these teams regularly engage him in verbals (and other minor provocations) from the moment of his arrival on the pitch and they usually benefit from a reduction in his scrummaging prowess and a few kickable penalties.
Andrew Porter is also a very strong young man and generally a very good scrum operator. Today he was not and Genge could definitely claim a personal victory in their head-to-head contest. I attribute this defeat directly to Ireland's scrum coaching. Genge has weaknesses, notably of attitude and concentration. When the latter is deflected he usually loses his technique. That is precisely the area in which Porter should have been prepared today, but clearly was not.
Employing the top four inches as your primary weapon when facing the oldest foe, is not a matter of surrender, just a question of tactical warfare. For the third time in 14 months, we employed the cavalry against the artillery and there is rarely a positive outcome in that contest.
Speed, surprise and ensuring your confrontations occur at a place and circumstance of your choosing, are the tactics of wise generals faced with stronger foes. I have complete confidence that Mesrs Cullen, Lancaster & Conteponi have sufficient coaching nous (and rugby humility) to prepare tactics for our forthcoming confrontation with Saracens which do not presume that we have to win all the physical confrontations, on terms determined by our opponents, in order to emerge victorious.
Let's play some smart rugby when the opposition are bigger and stronger than us and when we can adopt more appropriate tactical approaches.
As regards the physical side of things.
Unless we select our best forwards in their best positions then you are right. That is the very first issue that needs to be addressed, starting with primary possession and use there of.