- Dec 3, 2010
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To be fair, there's no one way of doing things. Larmour could very well be an answer, having a strike runner like him coming from fullback is something that we haven't seen since Rob Kearney was his age. What is a genuine must is getting our catch and pass skills up, and we have a chance now. Schmidt was never one for putting width on the ball with Leinster and Ireland and it showed this year when he thought we had to, rightly or wrongly. Andy Farrell has to get out the message that he wants the provinces to put serious width on the football, Ulster and Connacht are the only teams who ever did it the last six years so it's unsurprising that their lads seemed to be fighting an uphill battle getting into the squad. This will mean the death of Sexton's, Kearney's and Earls' careers just because they don't have the skills to play this way but at this stage no one cares, not even Johnny's biggest fan. Ideally Carbery would be at 15 or potentially even 12 if physicality continues to be less of an emphasis but it could be done with Larmour at 15 playing Le Roux's auxillary centre role. (Olding would be the perfect player to have unfortunately)I'd say on the rate of progress Eric O'Sullivan is making, he should be in the conversation soon enough.
On the wider issue - we need to look at where the game is going and where it might be in 3 years.
A number of us in the past have been looking for a 2nd pivot playing at 15. I was calling for Payne at 15 for donkeys. Joe gave him one game, then back to type. Carbery at 15 showed well in the past. Yet Joe went back to Type.
If Steve Hansen can see fit to move a two time world player of the year out of his favoured position of 10 and into 15 to give a 2nd pivot... maybe, just maybe, there is something in it.
But that is now 2019. In 2023 where will we be? 3 playmakers? 10, 12 & 15? Something else?
Either way, Conway and Larmour are not going to be the answer at 15, as that is now obsolete rugby. To beat current international defences you need to be able to move the ball at least 50 yards in 2 passes (after the initial pass from ruck) to the outside edge. England have Ford and Farrell. The ABs have Mo'unga and Barrett (and half their other players). Wales don't and will struggle as a result. SA have Le Roux to a degree but will also struggle to an extent.
Achieve this and we can play two distinct styles like England can and like NZ can, it's the next step.