'He's definitely up there in the top two or three in the world'

Tadhg Furlong’s brilliant form drew praise on today’s edition of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra.

The Leinster man has been brilliant for Ireland.
The Leinster man has been brilliant for Ireland.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Updated Nov 22nd 2021, 8:40 PM

IT DOESN’T COME as any great surprise these days but Tadhg Furlong continues to be a world leader in his position. The hits just keep coming from ‘The Jukebox.’

The Leinster tighthead has been superb for Ireland over the past three weekends in wins against Japan, New Zealand, and Argentina, as discussed by Eoin Toolan and Murray Kinsella on today’s edition of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra – an analysis podcast available to members of The42 every Monday.

Eoin: “His dynamism around the field, defensively and offensively, is incredible. We probably are taking it a little bit for granted.

“In the build-up to the Pablo Matera yellow card, there’s a brilliant offload from Furlong to Caelan Doris. He picks and goes through the ruck at one stage – Ireland reacted well to Argentina not committing numbers to the breakdown and allowing those seams around the ruck, and Furlong took advantage of that wonderfully.

“We’ve talked about his huge work-rate before. That double effort post his massive hit on the Argentina loosehead, he was back to his feet and back in the defensive line.

“His work on fold, that decision-making on whether to fold or whether to hold. He’s identifying the momentum of the attack and where to fill in.

“An unbelievable performance from him and he’s definitely up there in the top two or three in the world.”

Murray: “Yeah because his set-piece is also excellent. He’s so solid in those areas. At maul time, he’s nailed on with his detail. When he lifts in the lineout, he’s brilliant at bracing at the front of the maul and he transfers into his next job so quickly.

“His ruck work this month has been a real standout. When you go back through the games, the number of big impacts he makes to allow Ireland to have quick ball or maintain possession when they’re in trouble, that really stands out. 

tadhg-furlong Furlong pictured in an Ireland maul. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“His carrying is so dynamic and it’s a massive feature of his game. When you have that ball-handling threat all the time, it allows you to be a better carrier. At the same time, when you have that carrying threat, you can be an even better handler and decision-maker.

“What Ireland are doing in attack is really starting to get the best out of him in that regard. I know I joke about him being a playmaker but he genuinely is that, his passing skillset, decision-making, ability to stay square, timing of pass, understanding of space, are all really like a backline player.

“We need to start seeing his grubber kicking, chipping, and box kicking next! He can definitely pass from the base of rucks as well.”

Eoin: “It was actually evident when Tom O’Toole came on, the number of passes off the base or tip passes he had. His comfort with ball in hand was obvious.

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“My only thought there as you were championing Furlong was if this was a missed opportunity across the three Tests that someone else hasn’t started at tighthead just to build that layer of depth.

“It is a little bit of concern if Furlong was to go down, who is next in line? Is it Finlay Bealham or O’Toole? That’s maybe one of the missed opportunities in the series.

“We all know how brilliant Furlong is, but who is going to step into his place if required?”

Elsewhere on The42 Rugby Weekly Extra, Eoin and Murray analysed how Ireland went about their seven-try win over Argentina, an impressive performance from the Irish pack, defensive qualities, and other standout players.

The lads also dug into France’s stunning win over the All Blacks, discussed England’s narrow success against South Africa, spoke about Ireland Women’s victory over Japan, and reflected on a tough loss for the Wallabies in Wales.

You can sign up as a member of The42 here in order to listen to the extra rugby podcasts and a wide range of other shows on sportswriting, football, GAA, and coaching, as well as getting weekly newsletters and access to our lively member-only Whatsapp groups.

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