Keith Wood on Ireland's need for "more in the locker" when the Six Nations kick off

Ex-Ireland captain and Gerry Thornley also talk about the apparent Keith Earls U-turn on Off The Ball

Rory Best, Ireland, Joe Schmidt, Six Nations, trophy

Ireland captain Rory Best and Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt with the RBS 6 Nations trophy ©INPHO/James Crombie

Keith Wood wants to see Ireland add a few strings to their bow for the upcoming Six Nations approach.

After a Rugby World Cup in which the approach fell flat in the quarter-final defeat to Argentina, the upcoming championship provides a showcase of a possible evolution in style under Joe Schmidt.

Keith and The Irish Times' Gerry Thornley joined Off The Ball tonight to give their take on a week of major talking points off the rugby field and Keith spoke of what he would like to see stylistically.

"I hope Ireland have learned some of the lessons from the World Cup. I hope Joe Schmidt has learned some of the lessons from the World Cup," he said.

"We played a style that, yes, has been and is efficient in Six Nations and we are playing in the Six Nations. But I think other teams will try a little bit more and we will need to have more. The game-plan that we had which was successful last year, the only time we all really got excited with it was when they started going wide at the very end. It does depend on the weather conditions, but we need more in the locker than just the kick and chase and the constant press."


Keith Earls and Conor Murray signed new deals today ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Meanwhile, Keith believes it was almost from pure frustration that Ireland international Keith Earls and Saracens discussed a possible link up. 

The former Ireland captain feels the Munster player didn't really want to leave the province while Gerry explained how the IRFU were able to keep Earls in Ireland, in contrast to the Marty Moore situation.

"I don't think Keith Earls ever wanted to go. I think it was almost out of pure frustration that he started having a proper conversation with Saracens to actually go away," he said, before talking about the tipping point we are at.

"This is a serious moment for Irish rugby and I know we're under a lot of pressure with an awful lot of different things going on. But this moment is key. We've a chunk of Irish players that we need to keep on our shores to deliver for Munster, Leinster, Connacht and Ulster and those negotiations are happening at this period of time and you don't want to be doing it in the middle of the Six Nations because that's just awful," said Keith.