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Dublin: 8°C Wednesday 27 January 2021

The lineout duel: New Zealand's quick-draw throws can be disrupted by Ireland

Ireland can throw New Zealand off kilter by slowing them down at lineout time, says Andy Dunne.

ireland-v-scotland-pool-a-2019-rugby-world-cup-international-stadium-yokohama Source: Adam Davy

IT’S ONLY TWO and a half weeks since Ireland were beaten by Japan and the country went into official mourning for any hopes of making a semi-final.

Thankfully, those hopes have risen from the dead in this week’s podcast episode, because the All Blacks aren’t really that invincible, are they?

In conversation with Murray Kinsella from Japan, and with Gavan Casey in Dublin, Andy Dunne broke down a key area where Ireland may be able to disrupt the mighty ABs in their World Cup quarter-final clash on Saturday:

“They really have simplicity. And one of the things they do in the lineout, if you were to compare it to potentially an Irish lineout or a Steve Borthwick Lions or England lineout, which is so strategy-heavy and call-heavy, the All Blacks’ approach in the last seven-eight years and two World Cups was a bit like two cowboys out in the Wild West – if you get the turn, and the gun off quicker, you win. You kill the opposition cowboy.

new-zealand-training-session-tatsuminomori-seaside-park All Blacks' hooker Codie Taylor will try to get quick ball into the lineouts against Ireland. Source: Adam Davy

“If you watch an All Blacks’ lineout, from the time the ball is in the hooker’s hand from the ballboy cleaning it to actually being in the air and in Aaron Smith’s hands is way, way quicker than everyone else. Because what they’re doing is not allowing you time to set.

There are undoubtedly other elements to beating a team as talented as the All Blacks, but disrupting the cowboys at the lineout would be a step in the right direction to getting an upper hand. 

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“It’s so simple”, continues Andy. “OK, where a lot of other teams will sit and wait, get set, and then try and use subterfuge and footwork and changing in positions and you’re picking out one of fourteen different options in the hooker’s head, and the caller and all that. I think they’ve brilliantly simplified the lineout.


“Now, you’re damn sure Ireland know that. And I was really heartened to hear Cian Healy mention it in his press conference. He said ‘timing is a big thing in their lineout’ and how early… So I hope we see lads down tying their shoelaces. I hope we see lads walking across the front pretending they’re not sure what position the ref’s resetting.

“If we do all of that stuff, simply just to delay the starting point of their lineout, that could be enough to just throw them off kilter. Because they don’t have any more a complex system than anybody else in the world but what they’ve done really cleverly is that they’ve just initiated it ahead before you get set.”

If you’d like to hear more well-structured, late optimism for a fixture that most people had written off two weeks ago, you can listen to today’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly in full here: 

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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