Analysis: Do Ireland Need a Second Playmaker?

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Is a problem shared really a problem halved? In rugby terms, it’s a divisive issue.

Should a coach pick a second playmaker at centre? Is it best to have a barrel-chested ball-carrier outside your fly-half, or another pair of gentle hands? A man o’ war, or a metronome? There are several schools of thought in answering these questions, and these were on full display during last weekend’s Six Nations fixtures.

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Analysis: Ireland’s Defensive Decision-Making and the Return of Andrew Trimble

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When Jared Payne was withdrawn halfway through Ireland’s plucky 27-24 defeat of Australia back in November, the signs were worrying for all present in Dublin. Even setting aside the fact that Robbie Henshaw was absent after a Same Cane hit against the All Blacks, Payne in many ways had become Ireland’s defensive general, and to lose him came as a blow.

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