Brian O’Driscoll believes newest Ireland star has ‘everything’ previous teams have ‘lacked’

Colin Newboult
Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll while working as a pundit.

Ireland legend Brian O'Driscoll while working as a pundit.

Ireland legend Brian O’Driscoll believes that lock Joe McCarthy is a different type of forward to what they have produced in the past.

The 22-year-old repaid the faith shown in him by head coach Andy Farrell, putting in a superb performance as they thrashed France 38-17 on Friday.

McCarthy was perhaps a surprise starter for some but the youngster displayed why he was handed a place in the XV.

He was deservedly named player of the match as Les Bleus struggled to deal with his physicality, athleticism and set-piece skills during the Six Nations encounter.

O’Driscoll’s verdict

Ireland appear to have unearthed a new star and O’Driscoll was hugely impressed by what he saw, but joked that the second-row needed to perform due to his dreadful haircut.

“Speaking from experience, when you have a barnet like that, you have got to play well,” he said on ITV. “But my god did that boy play well.”

“He was everywhere today. He was the standout player of the match. He just had a physicality that maybe Irish teams of the past have lacked. He was everything that we needed.”

It was a fine all-round team effort and O’Driscoll pinpointed the other areas in which the Irishmen excelled in Marseille.

“I thought Ireland won the kick duel today. They were timing their runs, putting them in uncompromising positions, and (Damian) Penaud under the ball had a night to forget,” he said.

“It wasn’t just about that. Ireland’s ability to react to conceding that try, there is no panic in this Irish team. There hasn’t been for a couple of years, they just believe they can find a way to get it done.”

France’s issues

While Ireland were outstanding, France were dreadful. They were lethargic from the first minute and never really got into the game.

Only a spell either side of the break – following the red card for Paul Willemse – showed some of what they are capable of.

The French struggled without the brilliant Antoine Dupont, with Maxime Lucu receiving plenty of criticism for his performance, and O’Driscoll believes that Fabien Galthie needs to reassess heading into the Scotland game.

“This was significant. As great as Ireland were, I thought France were poor. They looked clueless at times. All the things you would associate with French teams was non-existent. They have to go back to the drawing board,” he added.

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