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There seems to be a lot of Irish opinions, so here is 1 from a Kiwi living in Ireland. It seems Kidney has chosen a team designed to minimise the margin of loss, rather than look to the future. As he pointed out himself, they have little to lose, as even a 3-0 series loss by a large margin is unlikely to see Ireland drop from 8 to 9 (Tonga is NOT a better team than Ireland), so I see little value in being conservative. Ireland has some outstanding backs (Kearney, Bowe [injured I know], O'Driscoll & Sexton, with Reddan being more than decent), but Trimble, nice guy & all, is steady at best, and I really do not rate Darcy, who I think would struggle to make a Super XV starting line-up, and he is the weak link in the backline IMHO. No doubt he will be selected, and I look forward to Nonu or SBW running at him all day.
But it is the forwards that need a major rejink. In the back row, O'Brien is excellent but NOT an international 7, and McCaw/Pocock/Brussow will have a field day every time. Would ditch Healsip to the bench, move O'Brien to 8, and put O'Mahony or someone else at 7. In the second row, DOC is a bit like Darcy, would struggle to make a Super XV run-on side, and O'Connell seems past his prime, and does he ever get over the gainline? In the front row, Healy & Best are more than decent players, but Ross holds up a scrum and nothing else, however as we saw v England he is currently indispensible.
Unless, Kidney is prepared to revitalise his forward pack, NZ tight five & McCaw will dominate, and you can have a backline of O'Driscolls but they will get no front foot ball to work with.
Finally, O'Gara, good player and all, is ALWAYS awful when Ireland play the ABs (SBW running at O'Gara, anyone?), and I would look to the future & have Madigan on the bench.
Posted 19:29 22nd May 2012
The red carpet will be rolled out for the fine men of Eire!
Posted 19:11 22nd May 2012
I think, facing the AB back line I would back Madigan or Jackson or Keatley to complete a tackle ahead of O'Gara ;)
Posted 16:50 22nd May 2012
@corkoptimist re: the DOC bashing.
DOC does not deserve to be in the starting XV in the Munster XV never mind the Ireland XV. The amount of Yellow cards and senseless penalties I have watched him give away over the years beggars belief.
Toner has proved an extremely viable line-out in topping the Pro12 and through the group stages in the Heineken Cup why should he not be given the opportunity that DOC has squandered?
Posted 16:47 22nd May 2012
Gilroy ommited......its actually quite incredible he's not there and i am a leinster fan.
Posted 15:32 22nd May 2012
@ ciaran1792 - "... I eat and drink rugby I understand the game and the rules what every player on the pitch should be doing. I know all most all aspects of the game bar hooker, loose head and tight head and I am better at the game than you will ever be I have a will to win at anything I do..." Really? You sound a little like a desperate man in a boardroom with Alan Sugar trying not to be fired. I know you've apologised for your outburst, but that really does take the custard-cream!
1. These tests are important for the IRB rankings which, in turn, affect the RWC 2015 seeding. So Kidney has to focus on that. Not sure how he's going to get away with not being battered, though.
2. What did Ryan Caldwell do that was so bad as to be completely forgotten? He's played well for Bath this season and is rarely mention in terms of Ireland caps... I have the same issue with Attwood and England. Perhaps the two of them are in it together (whatever "it" may be..?!).
Posted 15:04 22nd May 2012
@Jonesy2: That's like taking new recruits to the Somme to get shooting practice.
Posted 14:02 22nd May 2012
Congratulations Jonesy a lucid and somewhat sensible post!
Posted 13:55 22nd May 2012
if youre ireland surely it would be smart to just look for the long term benefit and bring all the young players and players for the future and give them the experience
Posted 13:29 22nd May 2012
jtimkins@ Sorry man I just saw red just had my wisdom teeth out and was p****d off with the pain. No excuse for lashing out thought i am sorry.
Posted 13:26 22nd May 2012
Does anyone else think that Ferris should be left at home and told to sit in an ice bath for a month or 2 and not tackle anything?! I know he's one of our best players at this stage and an absolute beast but he's been held together with tape for a while now and it would be a shame to see him having to retire early in a few years ala Leamy/Flannery (Which are such huge losses!) All the DOC bashers - just wondering is it just Toner being left out that annoys ye or are there more up and coming 2nd rows that I should know about? as I can't see Toner ever doing it at international level (and he can't make his club team either!) Glad to see Tuohy in there! And people giving out that Kidney didn't pick Dominic Ryan, doesn't the great Joe pick many players ahead of him too? Hard for the international coach to pick a guy who's 3rd or 4th choice in his position at his club!
Posted 13:05 22nd May 2012
Yeah realised id made a mistake with Marshal as soon as i read it after id pressed the post tab lol.Sorry for that,what i wanted to say was his talant needs honing with more Wolfhound games .While Gilroy and co are most probibly playing at the JRWC this year
Posted 11:59 22nd May 2012
If not my cheek, perhaps O'Gara's arse! :)
Posted 11:40 22nd May 2012
Careful Norm, you'll get your tonque stuck in your cheek
Posted 11:14 22nd May 2012
Sextons on fire
And yes what a prat I am, now I could try and suggest that my mention of grand slams was a typo, but that would be a lie, I truly thought we had won 3 grand slams in a row!
Again indebted to your superior and unrivalled rugby brain!
Posted 10:44 22nd May 2012
I agree that Sexton is the better option despite his underperformance in the green shirt, I also agree that Kidney's style is partly at fault, however the guy is a professional and his lack of composure is not entirely Kidneys fault. To be truly world class he must be able toplay outside of his comfort zone. I have said as such repeatedly, I have also said that I actually think Sexton will get there on the world stage and a freshening up of the management and a certain cork departure will do that. That being said but here is a thing that some are overlooking here:
Sexton should start all 3 games of that there is no doubt because in a green shirt he is also still a developmental player, but lets say he gets injured in the se cond test. Would you back Madigan, Keatley or say our own Paddy Jackson to b e thrown into the fire infront of Read, Kaino and McCaw? They need to be blodded yes, but they do not need to be sent to their slaughter in the ABs backyard. I am not an O'Gara disciple but he has a skill set we are not ready to replace. Other options should be on this tour but ROG should be as well.
re Heaslip, I agree, he is by no means finished, bench time would help him pull some focus though.
Sextons on fire
I am so sorry mate, I didnt realise my armchair criticism was being naievely played out in front of a former international star like yourself. I must say I should have picked up on the little nuances in your commentary which point towards your in depth knowledge and experience. I only played at university and club level so probably missed the international camp where the BOOM approach to the scrum and the hahahaha approach to clearing out the ruck were taught, perhaps you could enlighten me further.
I really did not mean to offend however so please return to my posts and please see that I have indeed praised leinster. What have I done!!!!
Posted 10:40 22nd May 2012
Kidney could do with some positive displays after the RWC and 6 nations. Losing in NZ is not going to get you sacked but the pressure then moves onto the November tests and a poor showing there will make the 2013 six nations do or die for Kidney. If ireland doesn't perform in Lions Year then Kidney will be shown the door. Ireland are underachieving, simple as that.
Posted 10:03 22nd May 2012
An expected squad, and the right squad. David Kearney may have been worth it for his cover at fullback as well as his obvious performances, but Zebo adds unusual pace to any team for which he is selected. It's a pity too that Wallace's finest provincial season sees him fall short, but the squad is flooded with centres (and would-bes), while D'Arcy's very late season form can't be forgotten. Hopefully a fit Henry sneaks on board later. ROG obviously makes this, as he's still the second-best flyhalf in Ireland.
Blooding sub-standard players against the best team in the world, while playing an uncomfortable style of rugby, is a little reckless. Building for the future requires indoctrinating a familiar and thus successful plan of action, then incorporating the new and peripheral players. Without the former, a lot of bright futures can be postponed, even ruined.
The squad announcement, well, it's like Junior Cert science. It doesn't tell you anything. The first test is what the scholars are waiting to pore over.
Posted 10:02 22nd May 2012
Well, well, this is typical isn't it?? Leinster fans and players getting attacked by armchair critics who think they are experts on rugby matters all and sundry! hahaha...Norm, maybe you were having a snoozy snooze during the World Cup but your hero O'Gara didn't do such a good job "steadying the ship" in the quarter-final against Wales...unless that ship in your analogy is the Titanic!!! hahahahaaa BOOM Also, I'm quite fascinated by your use of the plural "grand slams"...just remind me there how many trophies Ireland won when Captain Ronan O'Doormat was at the helm of the ship!!! hahahahaa LOL
Posted 09:15 22nd May 2012
Hey Norm, look at the history of O'Gara in NZ, totally stuffed, they see him as a weakness and target him. Fact is he doesn't have the defence that Sexton has and at 35 is getting toward the end of his career. As for D'Arcy and DOC they are past their best. D'Arcy had a reasonable game on Saturday but aginst younger fitter and more technically adept players like the Blacks he's going to be exposed. DOC, well the less said the better. As for Heaslip, no he's not playing at the level of a few years ago but he's not too old and you can't always produce your best form year in year out. Look at Ryan Jones, some years ago he was standout on the Lions Tour, after which his game slowly seemed to lose it's edge and he became a shadow of the player he had been. Fast forward to last season and this season and he is back, leading from the front, in control of his game and putting in great performances for Wales and the Ospreys week after week. Heaslip has the talent and the time, maybe he just needs a rest. However New Zealand is not the first place you'd choose at the end of a hard season. Too much rugby these days give the guys a break. Even BOD manages his performances and time, you can't play at the top of your game every week, the body won't take it.
Posted 09:14 22nd May 2012