Highlights on Off The Ball

10:00 AM-01:00 PM

Highlights on Off The Ball


Andrew Porter probably the best loosehead in the world - Darren Cave

Andrew Porter is receiving rave reviews from everyone these days. Darren Cave thinks he is probably the best loosehead in the world.

Former Ulster and Ireland center Darren Cave joined Off The Ball to discuss Andrew Porter.

Ireland easily beat Wales in their opening game of the Six Nations.

29-7 and the score flattered Wales. Jonathan Sexton missed kicks he'd expect to make. Ireland left opportunities on the field they'd expect to take advantage of. For too long throughout the game, Ireland were in control but not punishing Wales.

On the counter side of that, Wales offered nothing in attack. They defended well at times but couldn't match Ireland's physicality. Their try was an opportunistic score from back row Taine Basham late on.

Ireland face a real test next week against France so the Wales game will be forgotten quickly. Antoine Dupont's side did not impress against Italy and will have one day les rest. Although they are playing at home in Paris which should offset any advantages Ireland think they have. One advantage they have is their front row.

Darren Cave joined Off The Ball on Sunday and lauded the quality of Ireland's starting three upfront. Andrew Porter, Ronan Kelleher and Tadhg Furlong are bullying elite athletes each week now.

"It's the way they throw people about," Cave said.

"In the end of the day, it is a rough and tough game. And if you can be so physically confrontational and so prominent in the loose. This is not the first time we've seen good Irish front rows. We've seen good Irish front rows before. But it is the first time we've seen a trio that are just so imposing consistently."

There is no real concern with Ireland's starting group. Since Cian Healy is still more than just a capable international starter, there is great depth at loosehead too. Ronan Kelleher is backed up by the exciting Dan Sheehan. It's the spot behind Tadhg Furlong where Cave has some concerns.

"One thing going forward is going to be that backup tighthead spot. That's not an insult to Finlay Bealham. I think Cian Healy is still playing some good rugby, but I think we've got to get rid of this notion that Andrew Porter can cover the tight. Because while he can cover the tight, he's probably at the minute the best loosehead in the world.

"So I don't think we should talk about him covering loosehead and tighthead."

If your backup tighthead spot is the only concern you have amongst the six front row forwards in your matchday squad, you don't really have any concerns. Bealham is far from a liability too, so unless Tadhg Furlong is injured for a prolonged period Ireland should still be able to dominate opponents.

With that said, they will need Porter, Kelleher and Furlong at their best next week against France.

Mack Hansen's impact was big, but subtle against Wales


Team of Us. Everyone In.

Vodafone. The main sponsor of the Irish Rugby Team.

Download the brand new OffTheBall App in the Play Store & App Store right now! We've got you covered!

Subscribe to OffTheBall's YouTube channel for more videos, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for the latest sporting news and content.

Read more about

Andrew Porter Darren Cave Ireland Rugby Six Nations Rugby