Flanker Josh van der Flier had to take over after both hookers picked up injuries
Flanker Josh van der Flier was forced to throw into the lineout for Ireland after Andy Farrell’s side lost both hookers to injury in their Six Nations win against Scotland.
Dan Sheehan went off for an early HIA but failed to return to the field while his replacement Ronan Kelleher was an early casualty in the second half with what appeared to be a left shoulder problem.
That meant World Rugby’s Player of the Year van der Flier had to step up to the plate and show off all his versatility by taking on an unfamiliar role of chucking into the lineout.
Kelleher was replaced by prop Cian Healy but he was able to fill in at hooker to prevent the game from going to uncontested scrums.
Healy’s first scrum in the middle of the front row, rather than in his traditional loosehead prop role, saw Ireland penalised for an early shove but the pack followed up in style by winning an explosive scrum penalty soon after when the two sets of forwards packed down.
Scotland appeared to miss a trick by not putting due pressure on van der Flier’s untested throwing as Ireland consistently threw to the front to keep things easy for the stand-in man.
While former Scotland captain John Barclay joked: “I bet he can do it though”
Ex-Wales skipper Sam Warburton suggested Scotland should be smart and stick the ball into the corner to force Ireland to exit with van der Flier throwing into a pressurised lineout where the home side could put two pods up to try and cause as much disruption as possible.
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