I have been sitting here, staring at a blank page on a blank screen waiting for some inspiration to hit. Waiting to think of a talking point after Ireland destroyed Italy. The weather was good, I hear the Irish had a good time with the local police and the sun was out.
That may be the biggest things to take from the game.
It is a tricky fixture; Ireland put 60 points on Italy which is what was expected, even after underperforming in week 1. Ireland played well, against Italy. Ireland had strong set piece, quick ball and a team playing with confidence, against Italy.
Ireland started very well. Instead of allowing the Italians to run at them, Ireland moved with urgency, with anger and with consistency. Line speed was like a different team from the first half against Scotland. It was great to see and something to be taken forward into the competition. A very strong first half that secured the bonus point.
Paddy Jackson had his best game in a green jersey. Sunk every kick, even a couple of tricky ones from the side-line. His passing was as close to perfect as it gets in 80 minutes. Decision making was top notch. This was the game that gave not only the player, but the team confident in their playmaker. Even if Italy moved faster off their line, the passes Jackson where throwing would have been finger tips ahead of them, it really was great to see.
The negative of the game is Ireland suffering from narcolepsy in the second half. For 20 minutes just after the first score, Ireland fell asleep. I am sure it is difficult when you are looking at such a strong score, but a team should be putting the boot on the throat for 80 minutes. England will not fall asleep in their game against the Italians. They will put the points up until the final whistle. In a tournament that may come down to point’s difference, this may be the 20 minutes that break Irish hearts.
Moving on, next up is the first home game of the tournament against a big strong French team. That is about it with France. Massive players, massive hits but slow and predictable. Scotland should have beaten them at the weekend and it looked like they knew it at the final whistle. They come to Dublin with the same record as Ireland but being a 1 trick pony. Similar to Wales, they will try to bully Ireland. For me it will be the front and back rows that decide the game. The Irish scrum will have to be more than perfect and the galactico back row will have their hands full.
Ireland needs more ideas to work the French team around the pitch. But more on that closer to the game.
It is the business time of the tournament, it is time to step up and play to the standard expected.
Keego (@nkeegan): Blogger, professional wrestler, sometime attempted rugby player (@TheThirsty3rds), professional procrastinator and attempted musician with a fondness for long walks on the bar, tea and the couch. Opinionated Leinster fan and constant gardener.
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