Stephen Jones (The Times Rugby Correspondent) has ruffled feathers with Ireland fans, calling the back row “unbalanced” and the lineout “undermanned”. Leading to calls from fans that despite his Welsh background, he is in fact an “incorrigible England fan”.
He goes on to claim that the major rugby nations are terrified of England’s forward power and suggests they “try to beast Irelandâ€™s feeble scrum, weak scrum-half, undermanned lineout and unbalanced back row”. The same claims have been made before, but if you turn back the page and look at last season:
Flannery was the best hooker,
Oâ€™Connell was in the running for World Player of the Year,
Stringer scored a fantastic try in Cardiff,
Leamy was the top No 8,
and Irish teams won the Celtic League, the Heineken Cup and the Triple Crown.
Irelandâ€™s lineout is rivalled only by South Africa who, along with Australia, were put to the sword in the autumn by the Irish back rowâ€™s mix of ball skills and belligerence!