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For the record
Rugby World Cup 2011 Ireland Team
1 Cian Healy
2 Sean Cronin
3 Tom Court
4 Leo Cullen
5 Paul O'Connell (Captain)
6 Sean O'Brian
7 David Wallace
8 Jamie Heaslip
9 Peter Stringer
10 Johnny Sexton
11 Luke Fitzgerald
12 Gordon D'Arcy
14 Tommy Bowe
15 Rob Kearney
16 John Hayes
18 Donnacha O'Callaghan
19 Stephan Ferris
20 Ronan O'Gara
21 Keith Earls
22 Ferus McFadden
Posted 19:45 17th December 2010
Norm, Keep the faith, Irish backs looked very sharp at times through november and tested the Abs defence more than all others in NH.
Fowards more than adequate. The team needs fine tuning not rebuilding.
Posted 01:55 09th December 2010
Very hard for your boys to remain focused when headlines all around them chaos
Abs 2009 poor, empty stadiums, country in depths of recession
2010 another year
Please please do not compare yourselves to England, you are far better than that, and you will give my Irish parents a conniption.
Posted 00:24 04th December 2010
@ WiseSC Hahaha feeling a bit nervous are we? Bringing up the topic of England for no good reason other than to wheeze how unfair it is that despite having the same win ratio, people aren't patting Ireland on the back as well answers my question I suppose. Fact is you have beaten Samoa and Argentina unimpressively and lost against the two decent sides you played. England on the other hand played 1,2 and 3 in the world and beat number 2 for the second time this year, just 2 weeks after they had ended the All-Blacks record winning streak. In addition to this they beat Samoa and lost the other two.
The difference is England have gone from awful to reasonably good with good players coming through and Ireland have literally just stayed where they are, as they have for about 5 years and have gone back to the likes of stringer and mal o'kelly. That's why England are on the up despite losing the last game, and the fact you think going back to 2003 is the answer to our prayers is perhaps indicative of why Ireland are always in the state they are in. Mediocrity.
Posted 19:45 30th November 2010
Good analysis from wiseSC - I think England have a lot more to do than the journos would have us believe. The hyping of England is no help at all - a sober assessment of Ireland does them much better service,
Posted 16:55 30th November 2010
Simple fix to Ireland's problems, Never select Best or M.O'Driscoll again... Keep Varley Buckley Horan O'Callaghan Casey Wallace Muldoon O'Leary Cave and Earls in reserve and play this team >>>
-16.Flannery,17.Court,18.Toner,19.Jennings,20.Reddan,21.O'Gara, 22.Fitzgerald <<< for the 6 Nations and the World Cup
If that squad plays, I guarantee Ireland will do really well in the 6N, and get to the Semi Finals of the Webb Ellis.
Posted 16:15 30th November 2010
Well...I think Ireland have had a good autumn, they thought they'd walk over SA and trouble the All Blacks, and in some aspects they did but I think a real shock is what they need. Ireland have a few "untouchable" players on their team D'Arcy, BOD, O'Callaghan, Heaslip, Bowe and Ferris, and from watching the four matches the only ones that deserve to be on the team are O'Callaghan, Heaslip and Ferris. They all displayed great leadership when it came to the crunch Ferris and Heaslip combining for the tries against The All Blacks and Argentina, I really think Kidney has to have a throw away six nations where he tries to bring in the new guys ahead of the World Cup. The likes of Sean O'Brien, Dan Touhy, Fergus McFadden, Fionn Carr, Johne Murphy, Mike Ross, Eoin O'Malley, Isaac Boss, Paul Marshall and Ian Humphries are really putting their hands up for their respective clubs.
O'Gara has said that he has become a better player because of the competition with Sexton and its showed, so why not introduce that competition throughout the team, For this six nations we need to start dropping players, D'Arcy, O'Driscoll, Healsip, O'Callaghan can't be playing all five of the matches this 6N, come rugby world cup time they'll be wrecked. I think for every match over the next 9months or so we need to be giving 3 new players a run out per game, not necessarily in the 15 but on the 22 bring them off the bench at half time see what they can do, if they don't Irish rugby will suffer we have the talent in this country just not the mindset to give them a go. Johnny Sexton had to win the Heineken Cup to get anywhere close to the Irish team, so where does that leave Fionn Carr, Let¿s face it Connacht aren't going to win the Heineken Cup does that mean he's never going to get on the team? He's a young lad with lots of talent lets honor that!
Posted 16:00 30th November 2010
This is a reasonable assessment. But it does show up the assessment of England. Here we have 2 sides with a 50% record this autumn; including 2 similar defeats to NZ and SA.(England may have done better -v-NZ, but Ireland did do better -v- SA.)
However there is a 'England are on the Up' bandwagon which a load of journalists are embarking is nonsense. Both sides, Ireland and England, are where they are.... and NEITHER are good enough to be World Cup champions and that will not change in 12 months.
The only way it could change for England they must going back to Plan 2003 and 2007 - play basic rugby in the pack and at lineout time and ask Johnny Wilkinson to do the rest.
If it is to change for Ireland, they must rely on POC & Flannery to come back and sort out the set-piece as well as the rest of their big names to remain fit - ie Flannery, DOC, POC, Ferris, Heaslip, Sexton, D'arcy, BOD and Bowe.
As things stand England and Ireland are looking at a quarter-final finish each!
Posted 15:50 30th November 2010
GD, SF & JH were out on their own for Ireland in the autumn I thought but not sure where the AT or SOB positivity coming from, O Brien was v average aganist Samoa and think Earls did enough in his few cameos to ensure that he'll be ahead of Trimble in the pecking order come 6N.
Front row improved slowly but steadily as autumn went on (best scrummaging performance was against Argies from a front row with less than 20 full caps between them) with Cronin getting good game time and impressing in the loose - if he sorts out the darts and he should be a LT hooker for Ireland.
POC was sorely missed in 2nd row and pack in general, they are simply not as good and organised a unit especially at restart and line out without him. The pack was generally less organised which was disppointing seeing as few experinced guys in there. Back row was v good although Wally wasn't as consistent as usual particularly in posession. I thought Ferris and Heaslip showed that they are up there with the best back rows in world rugby.
Stringer changed Ireland when he came on - Reddan just doesnt have his delivery and although ROG got the plaudits for SA revival at the end I thought it was Stringer who was the real driver, he upped the tempo superbly. Sexton and ROG both had their moments and a la ROG & Humph 10yrs ago, starting Sexton and springing ROG if necessary seems to be the way forward there.
GD was excellent in defence as was BOD, as usual. The lack of organisation in the pack and slow delivery starved outside backs of ball which was shame as we do have 11-15 to trouble most teams if we can get quality ball out quickly. Bowe, Fitz & Earls got v little in hand on the front foot, and Kearney needs to rediscover his Lions form - he has been v patchy since that tour and even allowing for defensive frailty Murphy has to be putting pressure on him.
Posted 14:19 30th November 2010