THERE WERE MORE signs of his attacking skills on Friday night but then Will Addison was cut down in luckless fashion again.
The Ulster fullback was in clear agony before being stretchered off following a very unfortunate incident in which his planted leg was hit by a Lions player swinging out of a tackle on one of Addison’s Ulster team-mates.
The 29-year-old played just three times last season due to back and hamstring issues and is now facing another spell on the sidelines, as discussed on today’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly Extra – an analysis podcast available to members of The42 every Monday.
Eoin Toolan and Murray Kinsella spoke about the signs of quality that five-times-capped Ireland international Addison had shown on Friday before his injury, noting how his skillset could have added to Andy Farrell’s squad.
Murray: “Unfortunately, Ireland’s November squad is not going to include Will Addison. Looks like a leg break, it was a horrific impact and incredibly unlucky just as play was getting called to a halt.
“But he had shown again what he can do and how promising that might have been with Ireland.”
Eoin: “It’s absolutely gutting. You talk about second playmakers and he is that. You can have the ability to be connected to forward pods, get into shape, but it’s about what you’re doing in those positions and trying to exploit opposition defences – he does that brilliantly and has a sense for where to go, where the momentum of the attack is, and where defenders are vulnerable.
“His work-rate off the ball is phenomenal. Watch some of his efforts where he’s on the shortside of the attack and then reloads to the far side to connect with those forward pods.
“He can animate out the back to allow the tip pass, and there’s a great example where Tom O’Toole and Rob Herring have a really nice combination for Ulster in attack and Addison’s animation out the back just draws the attention of the Lions defender.
“That’s where Addison is probably unparalleled in Irish rugby in terms of that ability as the second playmaker to provide options for first receivers.
“I was absolutely gutted when I saw it happen because I thought that if he could stay fit, he could add an extra dimension to Ireland’s attacking game.”
Murray: “Yeah, there’s no one with those smarts he has. He really gets it all and from what we know, he’s a big influence tactically in the Ulster squad even when he’s injured, which unfortunately has been incessant in this nightmare run.
“I totally agree, he adds so much bounce to the attack. Normally when people are running laterally you’re criticising them but he makes that work wonderfully. He’s a very unique creative player but deeply unfortunate and it looks like he has another few months out of the game ahead of him. Seven Ulster players have been named in the All Blacks vs Irish Rugby , Ireland Men’s squad for the Autumn Nations Series Star-struck