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Ireland's defence is 'the best in the world' | Brian O'Driscoll

Ireland have the best defensive system in the world, and even when they are beaten, they are never dead, according to Irish legend Brian O'Driscoll.

Ireland have the best defensive system in the world, and even when they are beaten, they are never dead, according to Irish legend Brian O'Driscoll.

Andy Farrell's side are one step away from being the first Irish senior side to win a Grand Slam on Irish soil. A win over a struggling English side is all they need now to secure the Guinness Six Nations title in a World Cup year.

While the Irish attack has been rightfully lauded up until this point, with a bonus point try in all but their most recent game against Scotland, O'Driscoll feels the Irish defence does not get the credit it deserves.

Ireland have the best defence in the world

Speaking on Off The Ball, O'Driscoll looked at the Irish defensive structure that he feels is ahead of the current World Champions.

"I don't know why, but I felt as though we were still going to win by a couple of scores," O'Driscoll said. "I think we create way more than other sides.

"Then, on top of it, I think this is the big part, the reason we should be really excited about the team, I think we've got the arguable the best defence in the world at the moment.

"The Springboks will have something to say about that. I did count out the tries in this Six Nations, we are top of the tree conceding five.

"The next best is France at 10, Scotland 11, England and Wales 14, and Italy 18. That is outstanding defence against teams that threw everything at them."

Exceptional scramble defence

Ireland's attacking record speaks for itself, with an average of just under four tries per game in the Six Nations. However, only conceding two tries in one game, which was against Italy, shows just how good Ireland are without the ball.

For O'Driscoll, Ireland's defence is the main reason they are currently so difficult to beat, with their scramble being a particular point of excellence.

"Five tries in four games of test match rugby, the way the game is being played now, is really exceptional," O'Driscoll said. "It doesn't mean that they're not getting bust, but their scramble and their ability to get back in the point is really something.

"Case in point was that [Duhan] van der Merwe break in the 31st or 32 minute. He went off his left foot, Hugo Keenan made the tackle. Somehow [van der Merwe] didn't look for the offload, he got turtled on his back, and then Josh van der Flier and James Lowe were able to pilfer the ball.

"They are never dead. For me, the only two times Ireland were really stressed in the game was the try, and that time."


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Andrew Porter Andy Farrell Brian O Driscoll Cian Healy Dan Sheehan England Rugby Forwards Grand Slam Ireland Ireland-england Ireland Cian Healy Ireland Grand Slam Ireland Rugby Ireland Rugby Scotland Ireland Scotland Ireland Six Nations Joe Molloy Johnny Sexton Josh Van Der Flier Leinster Marcus Smith Off The Ball Otb Otb Sports Otbam Owen Farrell Ronan Kelleher Rugby Rugby Prop Playing Hooker Steve Borthwick Tadhg Furlong Tripple Crown