Luke Fitzgerald Ireland Rugby International Six Nations 2015 Launch BSI

Luke Fitzgerald Criticises Rassie Erasmus’ ‘Bizarre’ Squad Selections

In an interview with BoyleSports, Luke Fitzgerald has criticised South Africa’s Rassie Erasmus for a ‘bizarre’ decision in squad selection.

The former Ireland international was blunt in his description of some big calls that Rassie Erasmus has made in terms of squad selection for this Rugby World Cup.

The two big calls that Erasmus has got wrong in Fitzgerald’s opinion are at fly-half and hooker.

The former Leinster player also offered up a fascinating theory as to why Erasmus has been talking so much about the Ireland vs Scotland game plus his assessment of the job Andy Farrell has done in getting this Irish team ready for this World Cup.

Decision Not To Bring Handre Pollard a ‘Big Mistake’

They simply had to at least select one recognised placekicker who has done it under pressure.

The selection of an inexperienced player in terms of a place kicker who as a player has a very low percentage doesn’t tally up with any of South Africa’s strategy.

If you are picking a 6-2 or 7-1 bench and you are playing essentially a ten man game you surely need someone who can kick their goals. That did not make sense to me on any level.

Given that they are World Champions and the quality of the squad it is a surprise they are in this situation.

Some people might think it has been a master plan, to me it was a big mistake.

‘Bizarre’ Not To Bring Back-Up Hooker

It was absolutely bizarre that they had no-one who is an internationally recognised hooker as a back up.

Not turn to someone – Dean Fourie – who played four or five years ago at hooker throwing in under massive pressure.

Worry Among Erasmus & South African Camp

Erasmus I think is actually pretty concerned that he has let himself open. No matter how small the chance is, the Boks players will be sitting on the couch looking at the result and knowing there is literally nothing they can do to impact their own fate.

They have left the opening for a weird result. And I think Erasmus’ selections at the start of the tournament could come back to haunt him, not least his seven-one bench against Ireland.

That is why he is talking about a game that he has no involvement in. It is because he is worried.

He has made mistakes around squad selections which have forced him into this position.

Andy Farrell’s Adaptability Key To Ireland’s Success

The senior playing group embraced an awful lot of the pressure. They have been there and done it. They are well equipped to deal with the pressure internally. They haven’t needed to be shielded by Andy Farrell.

He has framed it better, always embraced it himself. He has been brilliant at organising the team a la Joe Schmidt but I think he has been better at sticking to what was one of Joe’s big mantras which was to be adaptable at all times.

This squad is very well positioned to deliver in pressurised situations.

How Ireland Compare To The Other Top Teams

Ireland’s rucking is so accurate and physical which you did hear South Africa remark on which is unusual for them. But the ball handling ability of all the players is incredible.

They remind me of New Zealand at their peak, those great teams where everyone could pass the ball…

make good decisions and are comfortable with the ball in hand.

It means that for any opposition you have no break as a defence. They seem to position themselves very well to be able to get the ball but they can all make the pass which means that the ball gets to places where if someone has taken a break or is out of position.

That is the best thing about this Irish team. I always felt this when I played for Ireland against those great New Zealand teams. You never got any respite. The ball always found the best place to be.

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