The Sexton Loop

Ireland started the game with some positive attacking plays and importantly they brought huge variety to their offensive ploys.

We saw the likes of Zebo coming off his wing in to midfield, inside balls trying to catch out lazy defence from the Welsh front 5, a strong maul and the likes of O’Brien carrying well.

After just 1 minute we saw a trademark Sexton loop, which to this day still catches out opposition defences.

Wales have plenty of numbers in defence but Sexton still manages to create space by passing to Stander and then receiving the ball back.

If we freeze the play we can see Scott Williams is defending Henshaw (top arrow) and Tipuric in the blue cap is marking Stander (shorter, bottom arrow), who is about to receive the ball.

As Stander takes the ball back in on the angle towards the Welsh midfield defence Tipuric follows him in. This seems logical as Tipuric is keeping an eye on his man and tracking him, but he is unaware that Sexton is going to run around the back of Stander and receive the ball.

sexton loop

Tipuric tackles Stander and Sexton then has a free run to release Zebo in space.

sexton loop 2.jpg

 

Later in the game, with Ireland pressing the Welsh line Sexton tries it again…and again it works!

 

Before every match against Ireland, opposition coaches will point out this move of his but it’s success rate shows how difficult it is to stop. The surprise is that more outside halves don’t use it.

 

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