Ronan O’Gara On The One Distinct Advantage Ireland Has Over Wales
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Ireland will have one distinct advantage over Wales according to Ronan O’Gara.
The former Ireland and Munster playmaker cites the restlessness on Joe Schmidt’s bench a key factor, with the likes of Iain Henderson, Cian Healy and Peter O’Mahony fighting to get back into the starting line-up.
“Ireland’s bench should be filled with positive crankiness. I am not sure the Wales bench will be the same.” O’Gara said.
“Peter O’Mahony must be beyond agitated at this stage. He’s contrary, cranky but examine the decision from Joe Schmidt’s point of view: Who is he to leave out? O’Mahony is very close, he’s got to hang in there.
“Now, imagine what he is like if and when he does get a sniff of the jersey? A substitute that’s ready can have as much of an impact in 15 minutes as a starter. But 90% of the time, the sulker has spent half the week with the coffee club bitching about who’s starting. When the call comes he’s like ‘uh oh, mentally off the pitch’.
The former Ireland outhalf also sees Schmidt’s logic in having Tommy Bowe on the replacements bench.
“Craig Gilroy delivered in Rome and he’s sitting at home this week with Tommy Bowe is on the bench. The younger man has reason to be frustrated. But look through Joe’s strategy – away game, a cauldron, does it suit Ireland if Ringrose, Henshaw and Gilroy are finishing the game?
And O’Gara hopes none of Ireland’s back-up players will be “a sulker” in Cardiff.
“Stay tuned in. When you come on, you’ve got to be good. If not, it justifies the coach’s decision. You are playing a game versus the coach and the opposition. That’s where you derive your motivation.”
Read Ronan O’Gara’s analysis of Wales v Ireland in Friday’s print edition of the Irish Examiner.