‘Absolutely incredible’ – The facet of Ireland’s game that shocked Shaun Edwards


Ireland got their 2024 Six Nations campaign off to the perfect start on Friday night dismantling France 38-17 at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille – a performance that left France defence coach Shaun Edwards gob-smacked.

Andy Farrell’s side were certainly impressive – scoring five tries and showcasing a clinical edge in both attack and defence that left the French team grappling for answers.

Edwards did not hold back in his praise for the Irish team in a Virgin Media pitchside interview. Despite the loss he was incredibly impressed with Ireland’s discipline and control over the game.

A fascinating statistic shared by Edwards highlighted Ireland’s exceptional performance – the team only gave the ball away four times throughout the match.

France

Ireland

“We played against a team ranked number two in the world and we just couldn’t get any turnovers at the breakdown” Edwards remarked. “I thought the ruck speed was absolutely unbelievable. They only lost four balls the whole game whether that be handling errors, line-outs…total turnovers was four, it’s just absolutely incredible.”

The disparity in ball retention was stark with France losing fourteen balls to Ireland’s four – a factor Edwards believes contributed to their defeat.

Edwards did of course concede that the impact of Paul Willemse’s red card had a massive bearing on the result,  describing it as a significant blow not least given Willemse’s crucial role as a stopper of mauls.

“It doesn’t surprise me that when you are down to fourteen men…and we lost fourteen balls in total. they lost four…it doesn’t really surprise me that we lost.

“They are a world class team. If it was the other way round and we had fifteen and they had fourteen obviously I’d expect to win.”

“The performance from the Irish team I thought was fantastic but we should’ve been more active in that area trying to create the turnovers.”





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