Month: October 2022

Home / Month: October 2022

DANIEL BRENNAN, THE son of former Ireland international Trevor, has been named in the France squad for this year’s U20 Six Nations tournament.

Brennan, who in June last year signed a two-year contract with Toulouse, was already a France international at U17 and U18 levels

He made his debut for the U17 side against the USA in 2015, going on to captain the team to a 28-26 win over England.

Brennan, who was already 6’2″ and 121kg (19 stone) at the age of 14, came through the Toulouse underage set-up before securing a contract with the Top 14 outfit last year.

In 2015, he was part of the FFR’s U19 ‘Pôle France’ intake; a group of 23 of the most highly-rated young players in the country.

The squad in full:

AOUF Leo (Rochelais Stadium)
BENDJABALLAH Killian (Rochelais Stadium)
BRENNAN Daniel (Stade Toulousain)
BUROS Romain (Section Paloise)
CAPELLI Mickaël (FC Grenoble)
CAZES Guillaume (RC Narbonne Méditerranée)
CHABEAUDIE Corentin (SU Agen)
COUILLOUD Baptiste (Lyon OU)
CRETIN Dylan (Lyon OU)
CROS Geoffrey (Union Bordeaux-Bègles)
DACHARY Theo (Biarritz Olympique)
DARMON Thomas (Montpellier HR)
DECRON Nathan (SU Agen)
DUFOUR Florian (SU Agen)
DUMAIN Mathis (Bayonne)
FARTASS Faraj (Stade French Paris)
FOURCADE Etienne (FC Grenoble)
FRANCOZ Charlie (Stade Rochelais)
FUERTES Anthony (Stade Rochelais)
IRAGUHA William (RC Massy Essonne)
LACLAYAT Thomas (US Oyonnax)
LUCAS Pierre (USA Perpignan)
MILLET Theo (Stade French Paris)
PESENTI Baptiste (Montpellier HR)
RETIERE Arthur (Rochelais Stadium)
ROUMAT Alexandre (Biarritz Olympique)
RUAUD Julien (AS Montferrand)
TOLOFUA Selevasio (Stade Toulousain)
VERHAEGHE Florian (Stade Toulousain)
VIUDES Antoine (Biarritz Olympique)

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Sean O’Brien remains sidelined as Cullen makes 3 changes for CastresAfter 291 games, Muldoon is ‘honoured’ to play on for Connacht under new regime

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Carl Frampton training in Las Vegas before this weekend’s fight with Leo Santa Cruz. Source: Presseye/William Cherry/INPHO

HomeThe Club Players Association (CPA) have confirmed they won’t be backing Páraic Duffy’s proposals to revamp the All-Ireland senior football championship, but the GAA Director-General has said their statement is “contradictory” in his response.Kerry forward Donnchadh Walsh says Colm Cooper and Kieran Donaghy will “definitely” be a part of the Kingdom’s panel this year.There were Fitzgibbon Cup wins today for UL against Cork IT, UCC against Ulster University, Limerick IT against Trinity College and Mary I against GMIT.Munster have confirmed the signing of Grenoble centre Chris Farrell, Racing 92 scrum-half James Hart along with the return of JJ Hanrahan.Ireland U20 head coach Nigel Carolan has named his squad for the Six Nations.The IRFU has today announced that they have provided ‘concussion management training’ to all coaches involved in schools competitions.The FAI have confirmed that Turner’s Cross will play host to the President’s Cup fixture for the second year in a row.Sligo Rovers have confirmed the signing of Brighton striker Jonah Ayunga on loan until the end of the season.Both James Gallagher and Sinead Kavanagh have learned of their opponents for next month’s Bellator 173 event in Belfast.

Castlerea Community School players celebrate after beating Holy Child Killiney in the U16C Girls Subway All Ireland Schools Cup final. Source: Gary Carr/INPHO

Click Here: Argentina football tracksuitAwayRoger Federer beat giant-killer Mischa Zverev to become the Australian Open’s oldest men’s semi-finalist in nearly 40 years.Joleon Lescott has joined struggling Sunderland on a deal until the end of the season.Notts County owner Alan Hardy has revealed that manager John Sheridan, the former Ireland international, was not sacked for the club’s poor results but instead for gross misconduct following his foul-mouthed rant at match officials.Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka has been interviewed by police over an allegation he racially abused a staff member at London’s Heathrow Airport on Monday.The Best Thing We Shared

Dodgy defending from Sam Allardyce helped Cork City to a quarter-final win against Limerick City in the 1991-92 FAI Cup…

Source: killianM2/YouTube

Where We Were Today

Fintan O’Toole was at Croke Park for the launch of GAA Director General Páraic Duffy’s annual report.

On The Record

Carl Frampton has been speaking ahead of his WBA featherweight title defence on Saturday night in Las Vegas, where he’ll face Leo Santa Cruz in a rematch.

The Fixture ListLiverpool host Southampton tomorrow night in their EFL Cup semi-final second leg, with kick-off at Anfield at 8pm.Leeds United entertain Nottingham Forest in the Championship, while Celtic are at home to St Johnstone in the Scottish Premiership (both 7.45pm).Egypt versus Ghana and Uganda versus Mali (both 7pm) are tomorrow’s games in the African Cup of Nations.There are two games down for decision in the Co-Op Superstores Munster Hurling League: Kerry versus Waterford at Austin Stack Park and Clare versus Cork in Sixmilebridge (both 7.30pm).NUI Galway will have home advantage against DCU St Pat’s at 1.30pm in the Fitzgibbon Cup.Sigerson Cup: NUI Galway versus Trinity College (Dangan, 2.30pm); UL versus Maynooth University (UL Grounds, 2pm); Queens University Belfast versus DCU (The Dub, 2pm).Munster Schools Senior Cup: Crescent College versus St. Clement’s College, 2:30p; St. Munchin’s College v Castletroy College, 4:15pm (both Thomond Park).Showbiz, baby!

The coaching staff at Clermont Auvergne have been working hard in their efforts to turn Donegal footballer Michael Murphy into a rugby player.

Want a ticket for Ireland v Wales? Call in some favours because it’s sold outAccolades bring added pressure for Frampton but he expects to deliver on Vegas debut

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Six Nations chiefs rule out introduction of relegation and promotion formatFrom Auckland to Athy: Carbery was Ireland’s first 1995-born international

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Editor’s note (21 Feb): Patrick Tuipulotu was cleared of doping and his provisional suspension lifted on 9 February after tests on his B-sample showed no presence of a banned substance. Read the report in full here.

ALL BLACKS LOCK Patrick Tuipulotu has been suspended following a positive drugs test, New Zealand Rugby has revealed.

Tuipulotu returned to New Zealand before the All Blacks Test against France on their northern hemisphere tour last November for what was described then as “personal reasons.”

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and the New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZRPA) have now confirmed they were notified of a positive test in November and the 24-year-old Tuipulotu was “shocked” by the result.

“A doping control sample provided by Patrick Tuipulotu had, reportedly, revealed the presence of a specified substance listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s 2016 prohibited list,” the joint statement read.

“NZR and NZRPA can confirm that Patrick was shocked by the test result and is working hard to identify the source of the specified substance.

“In accordance with World Rugby Anti-Doping regulations, Patrick remains provisionally suspended pending resolution of this matter.”

Fairfax Media reported Monday that it understood the result of a B-sample test was not yet known “and much will hinge on that”.

Tuipulotu played against Ireland in Chicago and against Italy in Rome on the end of season tour before returning home for what coach Steve Hansen said was “personal reasons”.

The second-row forward has played 12 Tests and is signed with NZR until the end of the 2019 season.

– © AFP 2017

‘There’s still a championship there for us’ – Jackson eyes Italian job after Scottish defeatIreland lead the Six Nations after their great escape in Scotland

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IF CONOR O’SHEA wasn’t fully aware of the size of the task on his hands at the helm of Italian rugby, then he almost certainly is now after two deflating defeats.

The Italian head coach cut a forlorn figure at his post-match press conference yesterday as he fronted up to questions about his team’s performance after their heavy, nine-try loss to Ireland.

It wasn’t so much the result which was most disappointing, but the manner in which the hosts meekly rolled over without any sort of fight to slump to a second consecutive home defeat in this Six Nations.

You’re really got to feel for the former Ireland international.

The Azzurri would have come into this Championship buoyed by encouraging results in November, including that historic win over South Africa, but they appear to have taken one step forward, two steps back.

Sitting alongside captain Sergio Parisse, O’Shea was brutally honest in his assessment.

“We are proud people sitting up here and we don’t like today,” he said.

Italy were unable to deal with Ireland in Rome yesterday. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“I hate days like this but we know what we have to do and we are working together for Italian rugby. Today was hard, it’s a different challenge. That Ireland team is better than the Welsh team we played, 100%.”

“In the first 20 minutes we took a battering, today was an incredibly hard day. There will be mistakes we made in terms of the set-piece and almost inviting pressure. We talked about Ireland’s ability to hold onto the ball through a lot of phases, which is different to Wales. That first 20 minutes they were outstanding, we had a lot of difficulties. After eight, nine or 10 phases, someone will make an error and the score will come but credit to Ireland for taking it through the phases.

O’Shea now has the task of picking his troops back up and preparing for a trip to Twickenham, where another hammering will be on the cards if Italy don’t make huge improvements across the board.

The former Harlequins DOR continued: ”I’m not going to sit beside Sergio and talk about a long-term project because I know this group have some great days in them but we have to learn, get mentally stronger and we have a lot to change in Italian rugby to get that.

O’Shea has a huge task on his hands. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“But I could name a lot of players in the 1990s who were great Irish rugby players and without the right support they were not able to fulfil what they were capable of doing. We have a really good group of players, people will smile wryly and hang their heads but we will never change our heads and intention to fight tooth and nail to make the changes and also get some short-terms results.

“It’s very tough today but we must be ready in two week’s time ahead of the England match. The focus must be our next job and our next job is England at Twickenham in two weeks.”

“Anyone involved in turning businesses around know there are things that have to happen.”

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‘I get to go around the world so why not do it? GAA doesn’t give you that opportunity’Stander to the fore as Ireland get back on track with dismantling of Italy

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Munster 25Ospreys 23

By Alex Bywater

MUNSTER MOVED BACK to the top of the Guinness Pro12 table after a dramatic 25-23 success over the Ospreys at the Liberty Stadium.

Dave Kilcoyne’s late try sealed victory for Rassie Erasmus’ side, the prop finding his way to the line with just two minutes to go to level the scores at 23-23. Captain Tyler Bleyendaal then added the conversion to ensure his team edged a game in which they spent large periods on the back foot.

Tries from Hanno Dirksen and Kieron Fonotia had put the Ospreys ahead early on, with Jack O’Donoghue and Francis Saili replying for Munster. The rest of the points came from Bleyendaal and his opposite number Sam Davies, but in the end prop Kilcoyne came up trumps for the men in red.

Munster went into the break only trailing 20-18, but that didn’t tell the full story of a first half which saw the Irish side slow out of the blocks.

Home tries from Dirksen and Fonotia and two conversions and a penalty from Davies put the Ospreys 17-3 up, Munster’s only response coming from an early Bleyendaal penalty.

Francis Saili scored Munster’s second. Source: Camerasport/Simon King/INPHO

Erasmus’ men made 105 tackles in the first period to just 35 from the Ospreys but remarkably, they turned around just two points behind.

Ashley Beck saw a third try ruled out for the home side but with the Ospreys guilty of overplaying in key areas, Munster hit back. Bleyendaal’s second penalty of the day narrowed their deficit and quick tries from No 8 O’Donoghue and centre Saili put them right back in contention.

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Bleyendaal had converted Saili’s score, but the start of the second period was a tight affair and it took until just before the hour mark for the first points to come. Saili had been lucky to avoid a yellow card in preventing Ashley Beck from scoring with a no-arms tackle, but Davies’ 59th minute penalty was some consolation as he extended his team’s lead from 35 metres out.

The Wales fly-half’s effort looked to have given the Ospreys victory, but Munster never went away.

Munster players before kick-off. Source: Camerasport/Simon King/INPHO

They dominated possession and territory late on and eventually Kilcoyne broke through.

Bleyendaal still needed to add the extras, but he did just that to seal victory for his team.

OSPREYS: Evans (Leonard 52); Giles (John 54), Fonotia, Beck, Dirksen; Davies, Habberfield (capt); Smith (James 63), Baldwin (Parry 54), Jones (Suter 58), Ashley (Ardron 66), Thornton, Cracknell (Baker 53), Underhill, King

Replacement not used: Price

MUNSTER: Keatley (Conway 46); Sweetman, Saili, Scannell, O’Mahony (Goggin 73); Bleyendaal (capt), Williams; Kilcoyne (McCabe 79), Marshall (O’Byrne 54), Ryan (Archer 75), O’Shea (Foley 46), Holland, O’Callaghan, O’Donnell (Oliver 71), O’Donoghue

Replacement not used: Griesel

Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)

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Dembele and Forrest help runaway leaders Celtic restore 27-point advantageLast year’s All-Ireland finalists open 2017 with wins and they both mean business

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THOSE OF US on the outside of the professional game often look to linebreaks, missed tackles and tries conceded as barometers of defensive performance, but Ireland’s Andy Farrell doesn’t always drill into those details.

He wants his team to make every one of their tackle attempts, of course, but he also mentions scoring tries when you ask him how he assesses his team’s defensive displays.

“What type of pressure that we put on the opposition, how we’re making the opposition feel,” says Farrell when asked what his barometers are.

Andy Farrell speaks to Johnny Sexton this week. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

“Tries, as I’ve said before, they come in all shapes and sizes. There’s all sorts of different reasons why systems are something that we concentrate on a hell of a lot.

“We want to attack, we do, with our defence – we want to attack and get the ball back and we want to score tries through pressure. Now, that isn’t being reckless in our approach, we’ve got to be smart at the same time.”

We have seen much evidence of the kind of things Farrell wants to see in defence from Ireland since he joined the coaching staff in April of last year.

Aggressive linespeed across the board, wings hammering up hard on the edge even when Ireland are numbers down – perhaps because they are numbers down – attempts to dislodge the ball in contact.

The only issue is that the application has not always been consistent. Bringing an incredibly aggressive defensive approach requires huge energy – both mental and physical – and Ireland have dipped on occasions.

“We did struggle with a bit of width,” says Farrell of the defeat to Scotland in the opening round of the Six Nations. “There’s always a reason for that and one of the main reasons is what speed’s the ball coming at.

“In attack, you want quick ball and you get the defence on the back foot. In defence, you want to slow ball down and that’s entry, whether you can be dominant in your tackles, slow the ball down, it gives you time to get your width back.”

That said, it should be noted that CJ Stander added almost six seconds to the ruck preceding the second Stuart Hogg try for Scotland, after a carry from Josh Strauss that just about dented the gainline.

With their 1-3-3-1 shape ensuring they constantly look to maintain width, the French could be a threat to Ireland near the touchlines today [KO 4.50pm], but Farrell isn’t always looking for exceptional width in Ireland’s defence.

‘Faz’ is well liked by the Ireland squad. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“It isn’t just about width. Everyone’s obsessed with width but if you get too wide they play through and this French side can certainly play through you as well.

“What we’ve seen throughout the autumn and in the two games so far is dominant carries with offloads, which is short gain and playing through you, and they hit you on the counter-attack as well, so we’ve got to be ready for everything.”

Ireland’s first-half defence against the Scots “wasn’t good enough,” is how Farrell sums it up succinctly, but he was pleased with what he saw in Rome last time out.

“You play what is in front of you and we forced a lot of errors in the Italian game and got a lot of turnover ball from that. We’re happier with that progress but [France] is a different kettle of fish. We have got to bring our ‘A’ game.”

Ireland did hammer up impressively against Italy, with Garry Ringrose enjoying several standout moments, but it seems obvious that Farrell’s men will face a far more demanding test against France, even if they have only scored two tries in two games.

“They’ve got threats all over the park,” says Farrell. “If you talk about the back line, they’ve got a fabulous running threat and a lot of that is complimented by the offloading game from the forwards and they are a big set, and another coming off the bench.

“So, they will have a big impact there. The big lads that are a force going forward, that’s the challenge there, to make sure that we are meeting them going forward so the threat is nullified a little bit out wide.”

The systems are key for Ireland, and any team, but better individual defenders make life easier for everyone.

Farrell and Joe Schmidt are plotting to put pressure on the French. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Johnny Sexton’s return brings attacking class and tactical acumen to the Irish team, but the Leinster playmaker is also a superb defender. Look out for his aggressive contributions shooting up from the defensive line wide of the rucks.

“He is a guy that is committed to the whole of the game,” said Farrell. “He’s got me a couple of times this week to do extra defence, like the best players do.

“Johnny is 100% committed to his defence. He sees defence as a very important part of his game. I see his energy and his leadership within that as a crucial part of our team.”

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‘When I first came into the squad, it was a real rarity that we’d beat them’Jared Payne returns to Ulster squad after long layoff

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ENGLAND WOMEN WILL be without their captain Katy McLean for the remainder of the Six Nations after the out-half was suspended for three weeks by tournament organisers.

The 31-year-old was shown a red card for a dangerous tackle during England’s win over Italy at the weekend and today appeared before a Disciplinary Committee, who found her guilty of breaking Law 10.4(e).

McLean pleaded guilty to the offence and accepted she had committed an act of foul play which was worth of a red card.

“The Disciplinary Committee, chaired by Roger Morris (Wales), alongside Jennifer Donovan (Ireland) and Julien Berenger (France), having reviewed the footage of the incident and all other evidence, as well as hearing submissions from the player and her representatives, categorised the offending as mid-range, which carries a six week entry point in World Rugby’s sanction table,” a Six Nations statement read.

“The Committee further determined that there were no aggravating factors and the player had met all mitigating factors permitted, and therefore decided to reduce the entry point by three weeks.”

England have won all three games and currently top the table from Ireland on points difference. The two sides meet in Dublin on the final weekend for a potential Grand Slam decider at Donnybrook.

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Fixture clash with Swansea means Ospreys move European quarter to Cardiff‘The way we train, we try and put pressure on them to adapt’ – Dempsey on blistering Leinster backline

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ENGLAND COACH EDDIE Jones has named Billy Vunipola on the bench for their Calcutta Cup clash with Scotland in Twickenham on Saturday (kick-off 4pm, RTÉ Two).

The number eight made his return to competitive rugby last weekend with Saracens having overcome a knee injury, but has not taken Nathan Hughes’s place in what is an unchanged pack.

There are, however, three changes to the backline that eventually overcame Italy last time out with Jonathan Joseph reinstated at outside-centre, Jack Nowell named on the right wing and Ben Youngs starting at scrum-half.

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Anthony Watson also makes the match day 23 for the first time this campaign and he and Vunipola are joined by Danny Care and Ben Te’o as the only other changes to the bench.

Joe Marler will win his 50th cap and will lead the team out of the tunnel in what is the 124th edition of the Calcutta Cup.

The only change made by Vern Cotter comes through the injury absence of John Hardie, leaving Hamish Watson to wear the number seven jersey for the third time in this Championship.


15. Mike Brown
14. Jack Nowell
13. Jonathan Joseph
12. Owen Farrell
11. Elliot Daly
10. George Ford
9. Ben Youngs

1. Joe Marler
2. Dylan Hartley (captain)
3. Dan Cole
4. Joe Launchbury
5. Courtney Lawes
6. Maro Itoje
7. James Haskell
8. Nathan Hughes


16. Jamie George
17. Mako Vunipola
18. Kyle Sinckler
19. Tom Wood
20. Billy Vunipola
21. Danny Care
22. Ben Te’o
23. Anthony Watson


15. Stuart Hogg
14. Tommy Seymour
13. Huw Jones
12. Alex Dunbar
11. Tim Visser
10. Finn Russell
9. Ali Price

1. Gordon Reid
2. Fraser Brown
3. Zander Fagerson
4. Richie Gray
5. Jonny Gray
6. John Barclay (Capt.)
7. Hamish Watson
8. Ryan Wilson


16. Ross Ford
17. Allan Dell
18. Simon Berghan
19. Tim Swinson
20. Cornell Du Preez
21. Henry Pyrgos
22. Duncan Weir
23. Mark Bennett

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IT WAS ALWAYS likely that Italy’s use of the ‘tackle only’ tactic against England in round three of the Six Nations would spark others into giving it a go.

Amateur teams around the world have been refusing the ruck in recent weeks, while it has been mimicked by several professional sides, with Joe Schmidt’s Ireland among the latest to attempt it.

Sean O’Brien was the chief culprit in this area of Ireland’s game against Wales on Friday night in Cardiff, but the Tullow man didn’t quite get the reward he was hoping for with his efforts.

The first instance comes below, in the second minute of the game and with Wales looking to exit their 22 for the first time.

Jake Ball carries off a Rhys Webb pass infield and away from the touchline, with Donnacha Ryan tackling the Wales lock to ground.

As soon as Ryan has completed the tackle, O’Brien is screaming, “Tackle only!”

Indeed, that’s exactly what the situation is below.

CJ Stander does briefly put his hand on Ross Moriarty, who is arriving over the tackle for Wales, as we see below.

It’s arguable whether Moriarty is actually ‘on his feet’ here in the first place, but Stander is keen not to allow Barnes to read this as a ruck situation, so he instantly removes his hands and shows the referee that he has done so.

Remember, to form a ruck – and therefore the offside line – we need one player from each team on their feet, in physical contact, closing around the ball on the ground.

While Stander’s hands do come into contact with Moriarty briefly, he’s not making a genuine effort to come into a contest over the ball and Barnes appears to be satisfied there is no ruck – even if he doesn’t say anything to that effect.

At this stage, O’Brien has screamed, “Tackle only” four times and, despite not getting any confirmation from Barnes that that is the case, he proceeds up and around the tackle area, making sure he doesn’t approach Wales scrum-half Rhys Webb.

Over on the other side of Webb, Conor Murray advances and Ireland have created something of a wall around the Welshman.

There is still some uncertainty here for Ireland, with Jack McGrath to the right of the tackle staying in an ‘onside’ position and asking Barnes, “Tackle only?” just before Webb picks the ball up.

Barnes doesn’t provide any confirmation for Ireland either way, but he allows play to continue and it’s clear that Webb’s options are limited here.

O’Brien is in a good position to block or intercept a possible pass backwards to out-half Dan Biggar, while Murray is closing off passing or sniping space to his right.

Remember, O’Brien and Murray cannot approach the ball, as that would mean entering the one-metre ‘tackle zone’ around the tackle without coming through the ‘gate’ – penalty against Ireland.

While it was always likely that Webb would have box kicked from this position anyway, Ireland’s tactics appear to slightly fluster him and his kick is poor, low and straight into the waiting arms of Keith Earls to run back at Wales on kick return.

Ireland can count this first use of the tackle only tactic as a promising success.

Two minutes later, O’Brien calls, “Tackle only!” again as Wales build another exit, but does so before the tackle on Rob Evans has even been completed.

As we see above, Stander recognises the opportunity for a turnover and jackals, with the arriving Welsh players engaging with him over the ball to form what is clearly a ruck.

Stander is unlucky not to win the turnover or a penalty, with Wales just doing enough to cling onto possession.

O’Brien’s next effort comes in the ninth minute, again as Wales look to build up to an exiting kick out of their 22 – clearly underlining that Ireland have decided to attempt this tactic specifically in this area of the pitch, as the Chiefs did when they first used it in Super Rugby in 2015.

This time, however, O’Brien gets it wrong and the result is a damaging penalty against Ireland.

Moriarty is the ball carrier for Wales off a well-executed lineout five metres from their tryline and he powers into the tackle of Stander, who puts him to ground.

Crucially, though, Stander remains on his feet and then looks to jackal over the ball again.

As soon as Tomas Francis arrives in to clear Stander away, we have a ruck.

“A ruck is a phase of play where one or more players from each team, who are on their feet, in physical contact, close around the ball on the ground,” says the World Rugby lawbook.

We clearly have that here and, as we know, a ruck forms the offside line.

O’Brien, however, misreads the situation and advances up beyond the tackle to a position in behind Webb.

O’Brien shouts, “Tackle only” three times as he comes around in behind the ruck, apparently trying to guide Barnes into viewing it as such.

However, Barnes has identified the formation of a ruck and briefly says, “Out, out” to O’Brien, seemingly warning him to get out of the position he’s in.

Webb passes the ball a second later and Barnes immediately whistles for the penalty against Ireland, providing an instantaneous reasoning.

“Offside, clearly a ruck,” says Barnes, before pointing at Stander. “He made the ruck, he made the ruck. Six is over the ball, there’s contact over the ball.”

Jamie Heaslip shouts something inaudible after Ireland have backed away, but Barnes says, “No, I’m not talking, I’ve made the decision, alright.”

However, after Wales kick to touch for the lineout, Barnes moves to O’Brien to clarify.

“He [Stander] got back up, did he?” asks O’Brien.

“He [Stander] was just on the ball having a contest, so when they made contact, there’s your ruck,” explains Barnes.

Case closed, and from the resulting lineout, the Welsh go 50 metres upfield into the Ireland 22, forcing Joe Schmidt’s men to make a handful of thunderous tackles, before Jonathan Davies knocks on to end a lengthy passage of intense pressure.

While Barnes could perhaps have provided O’Brien with a greater degree of warning in this instance, that’s not exactly his job. Some teams would expect the referee to call “ruck” when a ruck has been formed or “tackle only” when no ruck has been formed, though this is not really the referee’s duty.

If Ireland are going to use what remains a relatively risky defensive tactic, they simply must nail their execution and reading of each situation.

From the restart of the second half – taken by Simon Zebo in Johnny Sexton’s absence – Ireland opted out of a possible ruck, as we can see below.

However, there seemed to be uncertainty about advancing up after O’Brien’s penalty concession in the first half, and we can see that only scrum-half Murray makes a move up around the tackle, although it’s rather half-hearted.

There was another brief Irish attempt before the end of the game, although it involved O’Brien misreading the play again – or at least pretending not to realise that a ruck had been formed.

We see the incident below.

O’Brien advances up the right side of the tackle for Ireland, again shouting, “Tackle only!” twice and pointing to Jamie Heaslip on the ground.

Based on the clip above, it looks like O’Brien is correct, but Barnes tells him, “Get out, get out” and O’Brien halts his movement upfield.

Again, the referee is correct here, as we see when rewinding play a few more seconds to note Heaslip’s initial involvement.

Sam Warburton has gathered in a loose ball after Leigh Halfpenny drops a Johnny Sexton bomb, and Heaslip jackals over the ball.

As soon as the Welsh players arrive and make contact Heaslip – all of them on their feet – there is clearly a ruck formed.

Again, Heaslip probably felt he was unlucky not to win a turnover penalty here, but the point is that O’Brien himself actually identifies the ruck, shouting, “Release, release, release” as Heaslip competes for the steal.

Moriarty and Halfpenny manage to remove Heaslip, Barnes warning, “Off your feet now, Jamie” and the Ireland number eight releases the ball.

But just because Heaslip is now on the ground does not mean that the ruck – or more importantly, the offside line – doesn’t exist anymore.

By advancing up around the ruck anyway, O’Brien has either completely misread the situation, or is aware of the scenario and is attempting to convince Barnes that there is no ruck.

When Wales clear to touch, Barnes again approaches O’Brien and gives him a warning.

“Mate, I don’t want to penalise you,” says Barnes.

“He [Heaslip] is on the ground, isn’t he?” says O’Brien.

“No, if Jamie is on his feet originally, as soon as there’s contact over here, don’t run that risk,” replies Barnes.

It will be interesting to note if Ireland use this tactic against England in Dublin on Saturday, but they will certainly need to be sharper in their execution if it is to be a success.

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