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David Wallace: Ireland the most impressive team so far – and they will only get better

24 Sep | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
David Wallace: Ireland the most impressive team so far – and they will only get better

The Betway ambassador believes Joe Schmidt's training methods will help Ireland go from strength to strength having set the bar in opening games

If you had to pick out the strongest showing of the World Cup so far then Ireland’s performance against Canada would be right up there.

They were certainly the team who looked most in control.

We all saw what happened with South Africa being shocked by Japan but lots of the biggest teams such as New Zealand and England have been made to work very hard for their wins.

I do not think that the scoreline flattered Ireland at all – in fact you could say that they left a couple more scores out there.

True, Canada’s defence did hold off a bit and Jamie Cudmore being sent to the sin bin gave them a bit of a head start, but Ireland looked very comfortable in playing a more expansive game.

The forwards were providing good, quick ball and the backs showed some very slick passing and distribution skills to get the ball out towards the wider channels and take the chances when they came.

The whole team looked very clinical in attack and really seemed to be enjoying the fluidity of their game.

Both the media and public seem very happy from an Irish point of view, and now it is vitally important that we build on the confidence and momentum generated by backing that performance up on Sunday.

Romania certainly showed against France that they are not going to be any pushovers.

They are a big, strong, physical team who play with a lot of passion and have a few stand-out players. I thought that their blindside flanker Valentin Ursache was absolutely superb against the French.

It is very unfair for these teams – who are already stretched in terms of fronting up against the very best on the world stage – to have just a four-day turnaround to prepare for the next challenge.romania-huddleRugby is such an emotional game that it there is always going to be a bit of a comedown after the high of playing a game.

It is very difficult to then raise your level again and maintain that peak – as we saw with the way that Japan faded against Scotland on Wednesday after their heroics against the Springboks.

Romania can take great heart from their first performance in the competition and in the end the 38-11 scoreline probably flattered the French, who certainly will not have Ireland quaking in their boots.Yes, they made a lot of changes but you would have thought that with the likes of Gael Fickou and Wesley Fofana in the centre they would have been able to open them up.

The whole French team looked very static – their distribution was way off and their handling skills seemed to be terrible with so many dropped balls and passes not going to hand.

There is no doubt that when they get their heads together they have the quality to beat any team in the world.

However, on Wednesday they did not look like a well-drilled team with a clear game plan and so did not pose much of a threat – which was not the case against Italy, who I thought would push them much harder than they did.

Making so many changes really seemed to disrupt their momentum, but that should not be the case with Ireland.luke-fitzgeraldJoe Schmidt will probably look to bring a few guys in who have not had a lot of rugby and there were also a couple of guys who picked up small knocks against Canada that he may want to rest.

Under Schmidt, every player is so heavily trained in the detail of their jobs that they tend to slot straight in – so those errors do not creep in and you avoid those speedbumps along the way.

Just look at how well Luke Fitzgerald has stepped up to the plate playing at centre – which is not his regular position – with Robbie Henshaw being out.

The players have now been together for a long time. Training will not be as intense as it probably has been during the last couple of months since a lot of that hard tactical and physical work will already have been done.

Once you get into the World Cup it is thick and fast, so getting it out of the way early will allow the players to have a little more downtime and stay fresher both mentally and physically.

That approach is exactly what you want with the Italy and France games coming at the end of the pool stages before the all-important knock-out stages.

The coaches will know the pressure of the World Cup environment and so far they look to have balanced their schedule perfectly.

Ireland are looking in very good shape and should be feeling positive about the weeks ahead.

8/1 – Ireland to win Rugby World Cup

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