Former Ireland international Alan Quinlan was on Friday’s OTB AM and spoke about the aggressive rush defence that is becoming a staple of the game.
Rush defence is being used extensively by most teams in the top flight of the sport and has caused a number of sides to rethink how they attack.
It has been described as a negative and overly defensive style of play. However it has proven effective in recent times and Quinlan understands why teams have decided to implement it into their gameplan.
“There is a real emphasis now on rugby, which is a concern, around the physicality and the impacts of rugby.
“Defence is now a real weapon. But you can’t blame teams for trying to stop very talented sides,” Quinlan commented.
It paid dividends for Ireland in their victory over New Zealand in November as they kept the world champions tryless in a physical affair.
The tables were well and truly turned come the Six Nations however, as England’s aggressive defence and superb kicking game saw them stun Ireland in Dublin.
“Their tactic was to stop Ireland, take away their momentum, physically match them up, slow the ball down and then just get in their face and smash them. Then they can’t play,” Quinlan said.
World Cup preparations
With only seven weeks to go before the World Cup gets underway in Japan, all teams involved are deep into pre-season training.
Quinlan was a part of Ireland’s disastrous 2007 Rugby World Cup campaign and knows how crucial it is to get the balance right in pre-season.
“The intrigue about the preparation for any World Cup, and I’ve said this before, is if you play great and things go well your preparation has been brilliant.
“Rugby’s probably a bit different from football because you’re trying to jam in a strength, a speed, a fitness side of it as well as the tactical stuff.
“Do you seperate them? If you bring contact into your fitness week it impinges on the amount of gains you can make,” Quinlan explained.
Ireland’s first of four warm-up games takes place on the 10th of August against Italy, as they continue to build ahead of the showpiece tournament.
While an experimental side will most likely be put out, it will serve as an interesting glimpse into what the Ireland squad have been getting up to over the summer.