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Brian O'Driscoll pinpoints passing trends Ireland need to latch onto in rugby's evolution

Brian O'Driscoll feels one of the lessons Irish rugby can take from this World Cup revolves an ev...

Brian O'Driscoll feels one of the lessons Irish rugby can take from this World Cup revolves an evolution in passing.

Joe Schmidt's side wasn't one that relied on offloads or inventive passing to unlock opposition defences.

Brian O'Driscoll joined us on Off The Ball to preview the Rugby World Cup final between England and South Africa. But he also highlighted the trends in the game that Ireland will need to be on top of.

"The reality is - and I spoke about it before - I think we did get a little bit of a lesson in passing in that quarter-final," he said.

"It's something that we need to look back on from a 10 or 15-year plan. I felt as though we were schooled in a particular part of the game that will stunt our ability to play a brand that maybe a load of our players would like to play.

"I think we've got to be slightly bigger risk-takers. But also when we talk about rugby being a game for everyone, I think it's going to become all the more so again for everyone.

"The big collision is going to be reduced because of the red cards we've seen so far. So you're going to see fewer and fewer high impacts."

He explained the changes that will spur into the modern game.

Skill Levels

"It brings in smaller players like Cheslin Kolbe and guys that maybe have gone out of vogue in the last few years," he said.

"And we're going to look at the agility and foot-work of players and skill levels and an increase again in offloading being a big part of the game going forward.

"I think there's lots of good in that because it did feel as though it got to be a game for big people. I think now, you're going to see smaller, faster and nippier wingers. That will be great for broadening our horizons."

But how will Ireland adapt to that expected trend?

"We haven't turned into bad passers overnight. But I do think that, in certain positions, we're very good passers," said BOD.

"But in other positions we've a lot of work to do. In a pressurised situation where a defender is charging onto you, can you catch and give a pass of three, four or five metres - the way New Zealand showed in our quarter-final?

"And the answer to that is I don't know if all of our team can do that. I don't think we look as though we're connecting the pack to our back-line as often as you would've hoped. I don't feel as though we've got enough offloads away to change the point of contact. So I think that is definitely a key area that we can look to continue to build on our skill-set. I think other players are going to start putting their hands up now that are able to play a game - whatever style Andy Farrell wants to incorporate."

You can watch the full chat with Brian O'Driscoll above via our YouTube channel.


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