Planet Rugby

Preview: Ireland XV v Fiji

16th November 2012 07:30

Share:

Dan Tuohy Ireland

Big chance: Dan Tuohy

Thomond Park hosts an Irish XV taking on Fiji in their non-cap international, which promises to be an open fixture as personal points look to be made.

Six Ulster, four Munster, four Leinster and one Connacht player have been handed starts for the Irish as this fringe outfit look to prove their worth.

Fiji meanwhile enter following a dismal final 60 minutes after starting so brightly against England while off-field concerns cloud their game. Bringing you up to speed, the Fijian Rugby Federation recently made a formal complaint to their French counterparts over Jone Qovu withdrawing from their squad claiming he was injured before playing for his club Racing. This after shocking revelations by ex-club coach Simon Mannix.

The picture couldn't be more different for Ireland as their Rugby Football Union has serious clout when it comes to managing their international players. Their first-team stars are not in the XV this week and for many supporters this is a much-needed hit-out to test their depth, something that has long been a concern. Subsequently we saw a prop, who had pretty much got off the plane from New Zealand join the international fray.

Quality that is coming through the ranks though comes in the shape of Iain Henderson, Paddy Jackson, David Kilcoyne and Luke Marshall and they make starts this week. It would have been good to see scrum-half Paul Marshall start as he is more deserving than most.

While a home victory is expected, there is a smattering of cautiousness from Declan Kidney in that six of last week's starters make the replacements bench. Expect if things are tight on the 55-minute mark that Cian Healy, Jonathan Sexton and Simon Zebo will get the call.

"This is a special group. There's a lot of positive energy around, said a delighted Ireland forwards coach following their narrow 16-12 defeat to South Africa at the Aviva Stadium.

Kidney, Smal and Ireland will hope that vibe translates to a positive victory in Limerick.

Ones to watch:

For Ireland XV: Luke Marshall and Paddy Jackson have been impressing for Ulster while Craig Gilroy knows his way to the line. But we are going for blindside Iain Henderson as our main man to watch. In the absence of Ulster favourite Stephen Ferris due to injury problems, flanker Henderson has filled in admirably at Ravenhill and will be looking to follow up his international debut off the bench last week with carries against the Fijians. Elsewhere and lock Dan Tuohy has been unlucky not to feature more for Ireland so this is a chance for him.

For Fiji: One of the islanders' strongest performers against England was Api Naikatini, who this Saturday moves from the back-row into lock. Naikatini possesses quality with ball in hand so Ireland must be wary of him. Another who stood tall at HQ was Nikola Matawalu.

Head-to-head: It will be youth versus experience in the front-row as one-cap David Kilcoyne meets Deacon Manu. Kilcoyne is set to have on-the-job training that will be priceless to his possible long-term future as a Test loosehead. Gert Smal reckons he has what it takes.

Recent results:

2009: Ireland won 41-6 at Royal Dublin Society
2002: Ireland won 64-17 at Lansdowne Road

Prediction: Plenty of home players looking to prove they have what it takes. Ireland by 14!

The teams:

Ireland XV: 15 Denis Hurley, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Luke Marshall, 11 Craig Gilroy, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip (capt), 7 John Muldoon, 6 Iain Henderson, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 David Kilcoyne.
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Cian Healy, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Donnacha Ryan, 20 Chris Henry, 21 Paul Marshall, 22 Jonathan Sexton, 23 Simon Zebo.

Fiji: 15 Metuisela Talebula, 14 Simeli Koniferedi, 13 Vereniki Govena, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 Watisoni Votu, 10 Jonetani Ralulu, 9 Nikola Matawalu, 8 Nemani Nagusa, 7 Malakai Ravulo, 6 Iliesa Ratuva, 5 Api Naikatini, 4 Leone Nakarawa, 3 Deacon Manu, 2 Viliame Veikoso, 1 Jerry Yanuyanutawa.
Replacements: 16 Tuapati Talemaitoga, 17 Manasa Saulo, 18 Setefano Somoca, 19 Apisalome Ratuniyarawa, 20 Jovili Domolailai, 21 Kelemedi Bola, 22 Saula Radidi, 23 Timoci Matanavou.

Date: Saturday, November 17
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT
Venue: Thomond Park, Limerick
Referee: Leighton Hodges (Wales)
Assistant referees: Neil Hennessy (Wales), Sean Brickell (Wales)
Television match official: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 24
Munster vs SaracensMunster vs Saracens Preview
Saturday , October 25
Ulster vs ToulonUlster vs Toulon Preview
Scarlets vs LeicesterScarlets vs Leicester Preview
Bath vs ToulouseBath vs Toulouse Preview
Montpellier vs GlasgowMontpellier vs Glasgow Preview
Northampton vs OspreysNorthampton vs Ospreys Preview
Sunday , October 26
Clermont Auvergne vs Sale SharksClermont Auvergne vs Sale Sharks Preview
Castres vs LeinsterCastres vs Leinster Preview
Wasps vs HarlequinsWasps vs Harlequins Preview
Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92Benetton Treviso vs Racing Metro 92 Preview
More European Rugby Champions Cup fixtures
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Friday , October 24
La Rochelle vs Bayonne18:30
Brive vs Zebre18:30
Grenoble vs London IrishGrenoble vs London Irish Preview
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Newcastle19:30
Edinburgh vs LOU Rugby19:45
Saturday , October 25
Bucuresti vs Stade Francais14:00
Rovigo vs Cardiff Blues14:00
Exeter vs ConnachtExeter vs Connacht Preview
Oyonnax vs Gloucester19:45
More European Rugby Challenge Cup fixtures
Currie Cup
Saturday , October 25
Western Province vs LionsWestern Province vs Lions Preview
More Currie Cup fixtures
ITM Cup
Saturday , October 25
Taranaki vs TasmanTaranaki vs Tasman Preview
More ITM Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Thursday , October 23
London Welsh 20 - 52 Bordeaux-BeglesLondon Welsh vs Bordeaux-Begles Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sunday , October 19
Ospreys 42 - 7 Benetton TrevisoOspreys vs Benetton Treviso Report
Toulouse 30 - 23 MontpellierToulouse vs Montpellier Report
Toulon 28 - 18 ScarletsToulon vs Scarlets Report
Leinster 25 - 20 WaspsLeinster vs Wasps Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
London Irish 70 - 14 RovigoLondon Irish vs Rovigo Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
International Match
Saturday , October 18
Australia 28 - 29 New ZealandAustralia vs New Zealand Report
More International Match results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Sale Sharks 26 - 27 MunsterSale Sharks vs Munster Report
Saracens 30 - 23 Clermont AuvergneSaracens vs Clermont Auvergne Report
Racing Metro 92 20 - 11 NorthamptonRacing Metro 92 vs Northampton Report
Glasgow 37 - 10 BathGlasgow vs Bath Report
Leicester 25 - 18 UlsterLeicester vs Ulster Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
LOU Rugby 28 - 18 London WelshLOU Rugby vs London Welsh Report
Zebre 24 - 33 Oyonnax
Cardiff Blues 37 - 14 Grenoble
Stade Francais 22 - 38 Newport Gwent D'gons
Bayonne 30 - 24 Exeter
Connacht 48 - 12 La Rochelle
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Currie Cup
Lions 50 - 20 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Western Province 31 - 23 Blue BullsWestern Province vs Blue Bulls Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Taranaki 49 - 30 AucklandTaranaki vs Auckland Report
Manawatu 23 - 18 Southland
Tasman 26 - 6 CanterburyTasman vs Canterbury Report
More ITM Cup results
European Rugby Champions Cup
Friday , October 17
Harlequins 25 - 9 CastresHarlequins vs Castres Report
More European Rugby Champions Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Bordeaux-Begles 13 - 15 EdinburghBordeaux-Begles vs Edinburgh Report
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Northampton625
2Saracens622
3Exeter620
4Bath620
5Wasps615