New Zealand 60 Ireland 0: Lessons from a ruthless All Blacks display
What lessons did we learn from New Zealand's resounding 60-0 victory over Ireland in the final Test?
Beware the New Zealand backlash
New Zealand received some flack at home for almost allowing Ireland back into their series last week. However, there was no doubt who wanted the win more in the final Test as the Kiwis’ least experienced team, with no Dan Carter and second-choice wings, ruthlessly dispatched a lackluster Ireland. Declan Kidney’s side were poor from off, with last week’s mental and physical battering in a gruelling last minute defeat coupled with a few key injuries and perhaps an eye on the plane home, all took their toll. However, it is still a three Test series, and Ireland were disappointing given how closely they ran New Zealand the week before in a terrific team performance. Declan Kidney and his charges will have a lot to think about after a weak finish to the end of season tour.
Ireland lack depth in certain positions
While the enigmatic Brian O’Driscoll is still the envy of any team he has played against, the same cannot be said for his fellow Ireland centres. Club midfield partner Gordon D’arcy seems to have a monopoly on the Ireland 12 jersey at present but he is well past his best. Ulster’s Paddy Wallace was the man to fill D’Arcy’s shoes following injury to the Leinsterman but unfortunately was found wanting on rugby’s top table of international Tests. There is an abundance of talent for Ireland in the back row and at half back, where players such as Stephen Ferris, Jamie Heaslip and Jonathan Sexton are in pole positions for British Lions starting shirts next year, they will need to find midfield replacements for the ever ageing O’Driscoll if the team wants to perform consistently on the international stage.
It is time for Schmidt to enter the Ireland coaching set-up
The Kiwi guided Leinster through a highly successful campaign last season which fittingly culminated in Heineken Cup glory. The ambitious yet pragmatic attacking style his team has employed so well this year would certainly benefit the national side and, furthermore, he already lives in Dublin. With Schmidt’s experience and knowledge of the game, he would provide Declan Kidney with a much needed fresh impetus and could be the catalyst to help Ireland find their best form once more. It must be said that a Leinster back line in full flight play boasts the same high tempo and ruthlessness that any Springbok or Kiwi team would be pleased with. Their fluid and penetrating style maximises the largely Irish talent at their disposal and it would be a seamless transition for Ireland to employ the same approach.