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Dublin: 13 °C Tuesday 15 October, 2019
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Sean O'Brien delivers one of the best clear-outs you're likely to see this season

The 28-year-old openside provided one of the outstanding individual moments of yesterday’s game.

IRELAND FANS WERE understandably delighted to see Sean O’Brien back in a green jersey yesterday, his first international appearance since the November 2013 defeat to New Zealand.

The 28-year-old admitted afterwards that his lungs had struggled at times over the course of a 74-minute outing, but there were moments of real quality from O’Brien that reminded us of his world-class ability when fully fit.

Six carries, largely within Ireland’s own half, saw O’Brien beat two defenders, while he made 12 tackles and missed three. Among his other on-pitch involvements was one remarkable act of rucking.

Source: RBS 6 Nations/YouTube

O’Brien comes a full five metres back from a scrum in the ninth minute of Ireland’s 18-11 win, gets through the gate at the ruck and then drives Rory Kockott and Bernard Le Roux off the ball, also removing the threat of Thierry Dusautoir.

It’s a stunning piece of rucking to save what looks like an almost certain penalty or turnover for the French, and a demonstration of O’Brien’s utter strength. Jamie Heaslip also did excellent work as first player to arrive. An early lead for France here and who knows how the game might have unfolded?

The ‘Tullow Tank’ probably didn’t expect to play the full game, but injury to Jamie Heaslip tied Joe Schmidt’s hands in terms of substitutions. A yellow card for hooker Rory Best even meant O’Brien had to full in on throwing duties at one lineout.

Thanks to Aengus Farrell and Peter Burke for bringing O’Brien’s clear-out to our attention.

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Keep an eye out for The42‘s analysis of all the Irish rucking efforts against the French early next week, as we replicate the study we carried out in this area after the victory over Italy.

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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