Ireland look to improve at breakdown, tackling
Recalled midfielder Gordon D'Arcy has called for Ireland to show more "ruthlessness'' at the breakdown and defensive coach Les Kiss had an almost admiring crack at the All Blacks' "decoy'' running on the eve of tomorrow's second test against the All Blacks.
Kiss, the former Queensland and Australia rugby league winger, today repeated skipper Brian O'Driscoll's assertion that the Irish would have to produce a better kick-chase game to shut down the All Blacks' options.
"The counter-attack of New Zealand is fairly vicious, the kick-chase has to be right up there,'' Kiss said after Ireland's captain's run in rain and single-digit temperatures at Christchurch's AMI stadium.
"We need to have an intensity that takes away the options that they do have.
If we get the right intensity there, we can negate the way they can run back and use their forwards as decoys, which are never really picked up by referees.
If we have the right kind of smarts around that and have the chase, we can negate that as well, hopefully.''
D'Arcy, who will reprise his Leinster club combination with O'Driscoll, said one-on-one tackles would be critical tomorrow night.
"The breakdown is what rugby's about. Not too many tries come from set pieces any more. Predominantly striking off first phase isn't really there any more, it's about that fifth, sixth, seventh phase where a missed tackle one-on-one [lets] you get in behind and it's three guys flooding through with the fullback [to beat].''
D'Arcy said Ireland learned during last Saturday's 42-10 first test defeat at Eden Park that they could not commit "two or three people into a tackle at the breakdown, particularly when you've got guys like Sonny Bill [Williams] who controls offloads when he has two guys hanging off him. ''
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw also almost popped "a phenomenal one to [Victor] Vito in between two players,'' D'Arcy said.
"We've just got to have that ruthlessness [in the] one-on-one tackle and turn the tables a little bit. What they do to us is they put one man in and the next guy in tries to mess up the breakdown as much as possible.
"We've got to do that, we all know how to do it, and we do it week-in, week-out, but do justice at the weekend. We've got to flick that back on them.''
D'Arcy said to topple a team at test level, you generally had to beat them at their own game.
Kiss said Ireland would have to be quicker of speed and thought.
He said the All Blacks played at pace, including at set pieces, with their "tempo lineout''. "It's a different quickness to the game that they generate, in between breaks. You haven't got a minute to wait to the next set-piece, they just get it going quickly.
Ireland had to "make sure we're ahead of the game, then we're set better and we'll be able to make the one-on-ones and double-team under our terms, and do what Darce said and cause some havoc there ...''.
"If we can do that and negate the kind of flow they like, we'll be in a better place and we'll be able to get the line speed we want.''
Kiss said Ireland had not done a lot of work this week on one-on-one tackling because their missed tackle rates were "always very good''.
"It's about attitude and understanding the environment we're in and getting ready earlier.
"If we can have that little bit more speed of thought and speed of action, we'll be in a better place.''
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