Mike McCarthy believes Ireland's lineout struggles can be easily rectified, after they survived a disastrous start at the set-piece in Saturday's 13-8 win against South Africa in Paris on Saturday.

The Irish lineout lost four consecutive throws inside the opening 10 minutes, all of which were either inside or on the fringe of the South African 22.

Ireland would go on to lose six of their 18 throws in total across the game, a return of just over 66% in comparison to South Africa's 80% completion rate.

And while acknowledging that Ireland need to make some adjustments to their lineout before the next game against Scotland on 7 October, former second-row McCarthy said South Africa hadn't been given enough credit for how they pressurised the Irish throw, with Eben Etzebeth, Franco Mostert and Pieter-Steph du Toit targeting the set-piece early in the game.

"South Africa have the best lineout defence probably in the world," the former Ireland, Connacht and Leinster lock told the RTÉ Rugby podcast.

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"The height, how rangy their forwards are, Eben Etzebeth standing at the lineout staring you down, coming off the bench you have RG Snyman and Jean Kleyn, so first of all they have the height, they have the athleticism and they have the brains.

"They're not just big brutes, they're clever and have done their homework. They know where Ireland are looking to throw."

Particularly in the opening 10 minutes, Jacques Nienaber's side contested hard in Ireland's throws, a risky tactic deep in their own 22, putting up both Etzebeth and Mostert to try spoil Ireland, which worked a treat.

"South Africa backed themselves, they got two pods up and for the first couple you can't really blame Rónan Kelleher [for the throwing]. There was maybe a couple of poor options in the calling, but you also have to say some good defence from South Africa.

"The third and fourth one was a bit of nervousness, the jitters coming in off the back of losing your first two. Rónan Kelleher set the tone in defence, a huge hit in the early stages."

As hooker, Kelleher (below) caught the brunt of the criticism for his throwing, but McCarthy explained that a lineout malfunction isn't always just down to one individual.

He said: "The hooker always gets the blame, but as we know it comes down to the calling; are they identifying where the space is?

"Are they calling the correct plays to find that space? What are the lifts like? The lifters on the jumper, are they on their tip-toes? Are they walking in towards each other? It'll be looked at with a microscope."

To their credit, Ireland managed to work their way out of trouble and won nine of their final 10 throws, many coming after opting for shorter four and five-man lineouts, from which they could move South Africa around.

And while that solution potentially limits the damage they do in attack off the lineout, McCarthy believes simplifying their strategy will be high on their list of priorities when they return to camp following their break on Thursday.

"In terms of a fix for the lineout, I think it's a small fix. It can be changed pretty quickly.

"You go back and focus on areas that didn’t probably work as well, you can imagine the brains trust of Paul O’Connell and Simon Easterby, how those guys work.

"One option is just to simplify the lineouts. You saw South Africa doing it a lot, Eben Etzebeth at the front, pre-loaded on a five-man [lineout], like a jack-in-the-box. Knees bent, pre-loaded and as the jumper goes, the hooker throws.

"What you sacrifice there is winning the ball at middle or back which is ideal position to win the lineout.

"But maybe when the lineout isn’t going well you go to something simple and basic. The menu will be reduced in terms of what’s available, so there’s less to learn and you become more familiar with that menu, and then it’s just repping it in training."

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