For casual observers on Sunday, it was pretty easy to draw a contrast between the way Ireland and France attacked.

While the French appeared far more fluid and off-the-cuff, the Irish attack continues to appear blunt.

But it wasn't a simple case of Les Bleus being unstructured in their approach in opposition territory or Ireland being structured. Both were structured but as Bernard Jackman explained on the RTÉ Rugby Podcast, the difference lies in how the sides differ within the confines of their respective systems.

"I know unstructured attack is really sexy at the moment but I was looking at some stats last night. I think 79% of scores in the first two rounds [of the Six Nations] have come from structured attack," he said.

"If you analyse our structured attack, it's very difficult to see what the plan is, where they are actually spotting weaknesses in the French defence or the Welsh defence the week before.

"If you don't get over the gain line in a few phases - and given we're not the most powerful team in the world and also don't have the players with the x-factor of a Jalibert, the footwork of Dulin - so we have to get on the front foot from set-piece and I don't see any real plan.

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"And even really good players like Garry Ringrose are starting to look average and that's shocking because Garry Ringrose is a class act. Garry Ringrose should be talked about as being a 13 for a British and Irish Lions selection for a tour that probably won't go ahead.

"But at the moment, I don't see him being in there because the way he's playing, it looks like he has no playmaking ability and that's a player who I think is world class.

"That's a challenge that the coaches are going to have to find a solution to."

Another player whose best attributes are not fully utilised is James Lowe, who has also struggled defensively in certain moments.

While his kicking off the left boot has been an added bonus for Ireland, there has been an over-emphasis on that facet of his game within the current strategy according to Donal Lenihan.

"James Lowe has kicked the ball more times in two weeks than in the three years it took him to qualify on residency with Leinster," he quipped.

"He's a totally different player in an Irish jersey than he is in a Leinster jersey. We got a glimpse of him in his first cap against Wales in that Nations Cup and he was electric. He was everywhere. He was coming off his wing, he was supporting fellas on the inside shoulder.

"All that is gone. He's covering the back field. Now, he has a fantastic left leg and his kicking game has been brilliant. But really is that what you're picking him for?"

The emphasis on the kicking is not an issue in and of itself. But it's the implementation and planning around it that concerned both Lenihan and Jackman after viewing last weekend's action.

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"We never competed in the air," said Lenihan.

"For nine out of every 10 kicks - and they weren't bad kicks but we were leaving Dulin and Penaud and they were dominant in the air.

"Surely one of the things is you get up and you compete in the air, you get a hand on the ball so at least you can tap it back to the support runners coming through.

He added: "But to repeat the same madness all the time, you get what you deserve and that's exactly what happened. Dulin must have touched the ball more times in the opening 20 minutes of that game than he would in a whole Six Nations championship playing against anyone else."

Lenihan contrasted that with the French kicking which employed more variety and consequently had Ireland under pressure.

Meanwhile, the plan in the immediate wake of Irish kicks seemed muddled with Jackman highlighting one passage of play which found an unusual target in the shape of a prop, rather than the more natural option of a wing or full-back, in the area where the ball was due to become contestable.

"If you look back on it, Andrew Porter was under the ball. Our tighthead prop was actually under the ball," he said.

"And he didn't know what to do so Dulin just caught the ball without even having to take a jump. Potentially there was a plan and everyone just forgot to do their jobs but it was just an example of things we need to tighten up on because you won't beat France, England or Scotland just making it up as you go along."

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