Donnacha Ryan rescued Ireland after a huge hit from Slammin’ Sam

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WHILE THE LIKES of Dave Kearney and Jonny May have genuine claims to the best defensive moment of yesterday’s clash between Ireland and England, Slammin’ Sam Burgess produced an impressive hit of his own.

Late on in the game, and after the former rugby league star had twice coughed up possession in Ireland’s 22, Burgess shot out of the line to smash Ian Madigan as the Ireland out-half attempted to get a pass away.

The ball bobbled loose and when Richard Wigglesworth hacked it forward, Ireland looked to be in trouble again.

Just as impressive as the hit from Burgess was the work rate of replacement lock Donnacha Ryan to cover back and clear up for Ireland. Below, we’ve highlighted where the Munster man is positioned just as Burgess launches himself into the hit.

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The Tipp man then shows remarkable pace to race back into Ireland’s 22 and scoop the ball up, a vital action as the retreating Darren Cave looked to be under pressure from the chasing Wigglesworth and May.

Indeed, The42 reader Anthony Charles emailed us to point out that Ryan appears to have taken a few tips from Usain Bolt in working on his speed.

As for Burgess, he slipped off a straight-forward tackle attempt on Jared Payne a little earlier game and had those errors in attack. There were also a handful of formidable gainline busts to show his prowess with ball in hand.

One thing is for certain: getting lined up by the powerful centre is no fun at all. Madigan was the unlucky man on the receiving end of Burgess’ right shoulder this time.

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