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"We didn’t see enough of that backline" | ROG and BOD on All Blacks win

Soldier Field, Chicago, November 2016 was the backrop, the All Blacks in opposition for Monday's ...



Rugby

"We didn’t see enough of that backline" | ROG and BOD on All Blacks win


Soldier Field, Chicago, November 2016 was the backrop, the All Blacks in opposition for Monday's special edition of the Classic Game Club with Ronan O'Gara and Brian O'Driscoll.
The pair watched back the footage and joined Joe Molloy on Off The Ball to give their thoughts on one of Joe Schmidt's great victories as Ireland coach.

O'Driscoll and O'Gara agreed on the 'secret man of the match' award, nominating Robbie Henshaw, while Rob Kearney was the official man of the match.
"I thought Robbie Henshaw was brilliant," recalled O'Driscoll.
"Donnacha Ryan was excellent, CJ Stander too. In a victory against the All Blacks, you’re going to have no sub-par performers, that’s the reality of it.
"Zebo had some brilliant moments in the game, everyone has to perform."
"Robbie gave a defensive masterclass except for one mistake in the Naholo try, because he tried to play so aggressively, just got caught on a good line.
The former Munster man reckoned this is analysis unfair: "Jeez, that's harsh, it was such a good line, from Naholo."

Balance against All Blacks

The backline overall came in for praise during the win over the All Blacks from both men, O'Gara was especially with the balance form nine to fifteen: "The balance they had in the Irish backline has (was great).
"Maybe we didn’t see enough of that backline, it had a lovely balance with Henshaw and Payne in the centre, Zebo, Kearney, and Trimble.
"Trimble maybe got caught once or twice ball watching but then at the end in a 15-minute spell, he could do no wrong. He nearly won the game on his own with some brilliant reads and adjustments on the end of the (defensive) line."
While Henshaw was the 'secret man of the match' his centre partner was praised by O'Gara: "On this performance, the serenity Jared Payne brings, he seems very composed.
"He's not a man for misreads, it's a very important position, 13, especially when you are defending against the All Blacks. In terms of not taking their bait to shoot out of the line.
"I thought, watching it back Robbie Henshaw was incredible," says O'Gara.
"The first 40 minutes was the best I have seen him play, but also it was the way he finished the game, for me Ireland almost had to win the game twice."
The role of the substitutes was important in O'Gara's eyes.
"The guys who had to come in had to nearly re-win the match.
"Johnny Sexton went off on 58 minutes, that's 22 minutes Joey Carbery has to come in. You had Finlay Bealham, Ultan Dillane, a lot of guys that probably weren't used to this.

Unbelievable job

O'Driscoll followed up on the appreciation of Payne's contribution to the All Blacks win and more.
"Maybe we don’t talk a lot about Jared Payne because Garry Ringrose has come in and done such a good job.
"Jared Payne came in and did an unbelievable job for a couple of seasons for us, he was the voice in that backline that they subsequently missed.
"I think he was the difference between Ireland going out in the World Cup quarter-final in 2015 and making a semi-final.
"People talk about Sexton and Paul O’Connell missing, Sean O'Brien missing, for me I think the big loss of the World Cup 2015 was Jared Payne at 13 because he was the foundation of that defensive system.
"People didn’t have the appreciation for him he deserved."

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