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Alan Quinlan on Ireland's line...
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Alan Quinlan on Ireland's lineout woes | 'I just don't see any confidence'

Neil Treacy
Neil Treacy

10:27 23 Nov 2020

Alan Quinlan joined Ger and Eoin on this Monday's OTB AM to break down where it went wrong once again for Ireland against England, after another sobering defeat at Twickenham.

While the game followed a similar pattern to recent meetings with Eddie Jones's side, the issue of Ireland's underperforming lineout is continuing to grow on an almost game-by-game basis.

Ireland lost four of their own lineouts, with the throwing, playcalling and lifting all sharing the blame, while several of the throws Ireland managed to reclaim were untidy and unable to lay an attacking platform.

Maro Itoje in particular was a constant source of trouble for the Irish set piece, but Quinlan says the Irish pack played into his hands.

Alan Quinlan on Ireland's lineout woes

"You look at the four or five lost lineouts, and even a couple that they won were sloppy. It's not working, and they've got to take the onus for that. I just don't feel any confidence at that top level," he said.

"I thought we were the architects of our own downfall. With respect to Maro Itoje, he's six-foot-five, he's not six-foot-ten. This sounds crazy, but I don't think he's the best defensive lineout operator in the world. He's very good in the air - don't get me wrong - but we make him look good when we throw in his area and it's slow, and the movement on the ground is slow, the call is in the wrong area, the execution of the lift is wrong, and I just don't see any confidence.

"You need to win good ball off the tail and middle of the lineout to really launch an attack and make it difficult for the opposition. Even when we win it it's slow and sloppy, England are shooting up and take away all that space. It's not front-foot quality ball. the lineout is a serious problem and worry because they seem to be looking around each other and there's not a confidence,

Rugby intelligence

Quinny also highlighted one of Ireland's few good try-scoring opportunities in the opening half as an example of how Ireland are still struggling to play heads-up rugby, and why the forwards need to take the responsibility to speed up their attack - particularly close to the tryline.

"We had a couple of little opportunities; Keith Earls makes the break down the touchline, Caelan Doris and CJ Stander came in after the ball had been sealed off. Both of those guys could have been a scrum half straight away. Hugio Keenan comes in really quite tight to the ruck, he nearly runs into Andrew Porter, and then we get turned over. Two wide passes there and in all probability we score a try.

"There's still a lack of rugby intelligence when we get into those areas about finding that space, putting the ball through the hands and finding where the space is," he said.

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Alan Quinlan Andy Farrell Autumn Nations Cup Irish Rugby James Ryan Lineout Maro Itoje

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