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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 20 December, 2014

Players take responsibility for high penalty count

Gordon D’Arcy and Mike Ross admit that on-field discipline needs to improve before it costs Ireland any more victories.

Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

AS THE POST-MORTEM into Sunday’s disappointing Six Nations victory over Scotland continues, Ireland have come under fire after conceding a huge amount of needless penalties at the breakdown.

Two weeks ago against France, Ireland outscored the visitors by three tries to one yet still lost the game as persistent indiscipline allowed Morgan Parra and Dimitri Yachvili to kick six penalties.

Although the Irish camp sought the advice of referee Alain Rolland in an attempt to reduce the number of infringements, the problem reared its ugly head again on Sunday as Ireland conceded 13 penalties to Scotland’s four.

As a result, Declan Kidney’s men were forced to hang on for a nail-biting 21-18 victory despite the fact that Scotland failed to score a try on home turf.

Speaking yesterday, Irish centre Gordon D’Arcy held his hands up, claiming that the side are “the architects of our own penalties.”

We do research on the referees and know what he likes and doesn’t like. Everyone playing against Scotland has had Nigel Owens before. We know what his pet peeves are, what he likes and what he doesn’t like.

It’s nothing new, it’s not rocket science. Without a shadow of a doubt it’s rectifiable.

However, the Leinster man was reluctant to be overly negative about the team’s on-field discipline. With Scotland seeking a game-tying penalty in the last ten minutes, Ireland kept a cool head and did not give either Dan Parks or Chris Paterson the opportunity to level the scores.

Composure was a big thing against Scotland because nobody panicked. When it mattered there were no penalties, no infringements, so that begs the question why did we didn’t do that for the other 70 minutes?

Hooker Mike Ross echoed D’Arcy’s comments, claiming that Ireland are more than capable of reproducing the discipline shown in the dying stages of Sunday’s game.

We didn’t concede any more penalties at a point when we needed to make sure we didn’t. We spent the last 10 minutes in our half and Chris Paterson was knocking over everything, so it was important we didn’t concede.

From that it’s clear we are capable of not conceding, we just need to be consistent with it.

‘We’re getting there but there’s certainly more work to do before we face Wales in Cardiff,’ Ross admitted.

Read more of Gordon D’Arcy’s comments in today’s Irish Times > | Read more of what Mike Ross had to say on RTE.ie >

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