Keith Wood "disappointed in World Rugby's response" over extremely late tackles

Ex-Ireland captain chats to Off The Ball about Ireland's win over Italy

Jonathan Sexton, Ireland

Ireland's Jonathan Sexton ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Keith Wood says he has been "disappointed" with World Rugby's response to late tackles on players after the ball has been released.

The former Ireland captain joined Off The Ball to talk about his satisfaction with the "verve" shown by Joe Schmidt's side against an "abject" Italian performance.

But he also gave his take on the type of incidents for example which saw Jonny Sexton floored by opposition players after releasing the ball.

"I've been disappointed in World Rugby's response to this because it's become a feature of this Six Nations - this post-targeting," he said.

"I think all the late ones that are happening to Sexton in particular. [Parisse's] was ludicrously late. If you're off the ground trying to make a tackle on somebody, you can't deviate in the air."   

Meanwhile, Keith also added that it was a "harsh call" not to have Stuart McCloskey on Saturday.

On Simon Zebo, who replaced Rob Kearney at full-back and performed brightly in attack, only to be caught out of position for the first Italy try, Keith said: "He kind of ball-watched a little bit as the ball was travelling and drifted in. You take a risk to come in to almost get the ball and you have to get the ball otherwise you're going to look a little bit like a prat as it sails over your head. He'll be castigated for that because that's the nature of what happened."


Ireland's Conor Murray and Simon Zebo celebrate after the game ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

"But I don't think you can put aside the good things that happened. When you've a guy like him, who's pretty much a confidence player, he wants to have a go and he wants to do it."

And Keith believes the attacking qualities the Munster player provides is a good addition to the Irish team, and that experimentation with newer players should take place. 

"Rob Kearney has been brilliant for Ireland and it isn't to say that his time is over. It absolutely is not. But we know exactly what he can do. But I do think we can take not a risky option, it's just a different option to try a few guys we don't know quite as much of."