Andy Dunne believes that Ireland face an identity crisis if they look to change their game-plan, but that the defeat against Japan augurs badly for a style that has left them 'caught between two stools'.
Andy joined Monday Night Rugby to talk through where Ireland went wrong against Japan, in a match that they ended up losing 19-12.
He identified the Japan game as being the apotheosis of an identity crisis that began during the Six Nations earlier this year.
“If we look at the pattern in our play over the last few years, we had become quite risk-averse," said Andy.
"It worked, in part, in 2018. Everybody went away and looked at us because we won a Grand Slam, a tour in Australia and beat the All Blacks.
"They said, ‘This is what Ireland currently do.' We stayed with that plan because nobody knew until halfway through the England game in 2019 in the Six Nations that, ‘Oh, I think we’re getting found out here.’
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"At what point do you abandon ship and say, ‘Everything we did last year has been found out’?
"There is a certain amount of lead-time to look and see, ‘Is this working? Is it suddenly not working? When do we change?’ We got caught between two stools."
The Scotland game was pinpointed as a false dawn, and that Ireland did not stick to their playing principles against Japan this weekend.
“We had a return to form against Scotland playing that way. Which is the discernible way we now play, for the last two years, which has brought us success.
"We physically dominated Scotland and we dominated the breakdown. Our set-piece was excellent and we looked really efficient.
"Where we did go against Japan was that we got completely rudderless. We fell in between two stools, we started playing an offload game.
"We went away from the game that has brought us success. My criticism over the last year was at a certain point in a World Cup, that physically-domineering game can't get you through every match.
"But Japan was not the game, it was absolutely not the game to abandon it. The South African game or New Zealand game? Perhaps.
"Japan were playing this wildly entertaining skilful end-to-end game in humidity that they have trained for long periods, and we did a bad imitation of it for 20 or 30 minutes.
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