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Ireland may have a not balanced back row or problems in rebuilding the midfield pairing. Still, they have too much for Italy.
Heaslip had a decent game against Wales and almost forced a couple of tunrovers, Ferris was his usual self, and SoB is always difficult to bring down, although he is not shining as last year.
The selection of Botes (if he plays for Italy, Strauss could play for Ireland, if needed) suggests that Italy is willing to attack the sides of the breakdown, which is interesting, but it is not going to be sufficient.
Ireland did not play against Wales as badly as most of the posts here suggest. They were literally 30 seconds from a very good victory and only a couple of bad decisions (kicking to post from 51 mt, replacing Sexton with RoG with three minutes to go when it was abvious that you needed to tackle everything moving one inch above the grass) prevented Ireland from getting a famous win against Wales.
The only thing I did not like at all was the drifting defence, which should be mostly due BoD being sidelined.
Posted 09:21 23rd February 2012
Apart from the usual trolls, there are some really off the wall comments here. Ferris at 8? O'Brien in the centre?
Firstly, if you are going to drop one of the back row, it has to be O'Brien, who has not performed up to the standards of last season. As blametheref says though, bringing in O'Mahony will not give you a more balanced backrow. So you can't use that as an argument. Ireland is awash with decent blindsides (outside the 3 in the matchday squad you have Henry, Ruddock, Muldoon, McLaughlin). Dominic Ryan is the only potential openside I have seen but he is injured and not international standard yet.
The worst performer against Wales was Conor Murray but none of the Munster trolls can bring themselves to ask for his axing.
The whole Sexton/O'Gara debate is a total bore. There is no debate if you are looking to the future of Irish rugby. However, one point bears making: at international level, neither of the two performs anywhere close to the levels they do at provincial level. O'Gara has had plenty of brutal games for Ireland - most recently his last start against Wales in the World Cup. All those baying for O'Gara should really take a good hard look at his international performances. As for kicking, to my knowledge McFadden has the best kicking record of Irish kickers this year. If he was starting, as he should be, there is your kicker.
You can flute around with crazy selections all you want but the real question has to be why is Kidney (and his threadbare coaching team) consistently drawing under-par performances out of these players.
The emperor has no clothes lads. Its time the alickadoos and the lazy journalists started calling it how it is.
Posted 00:35 23rd February 2012
Don't understand your question
Posted 22:05 22nd February 2012
Cronin at 12 would he an improvement anyone remember Darcy against Italy last years 6 Nations? 77 mins of useless before being substituted for Cronin what is Kidney at? Sack the manager Now please he is rubbish and is dragging a great team down with his inaction
Posted 19:00 22nd February 2012
What about Sean O'Brien at inside centre? Should be able to stop the opposition big centres and would be freer to use his attacking skills.
Got to get rid of Darcy.
Posted 15:42 22nd February 2012
cite your sources! ;-)
Posted 15:21 22nd February 2012
Think you've got that spot on...Though Ireland's lineout is going well so far...
Think Sexton would do far better in an Ireland shirt if he was playing less deep as it seems he's instructed to in a Irish shirt. He likes taking flat ball and has the pace to this and make the opposition commit to the tackle rather than them drifting the player with the ball when he plays deeper. Also, when he plays deeper Ireland don't have the bulk in the centres to even make it over the gain line usually. I don't understand that against Wales, who it was obvious were going to counter attack all day, we kicked the ball back to them constantly, when going for field position and touch would have been the tactic as their line out was not going good...My question is, who decided Sexton should employ this mad kicking "tactic" and playing deeper to execute it? As with Leinster he doesn't play deep and he never resorts to just booting the ball down the pitch and giving easy possesion away...The truth about both ROG in the past and Sexton is that they don't have the authority they have with their provinces (who have both won 2 Heineken Cups apiece), I believe that both O' Sullivan and Kidney in the case of Sexton have never allowed these players play to their full potential and more importantly to their natural abilites in a green shirt...My view is that as long as Kidney is coach Sexton's true ability will be stunted
Posted 09:17 22nd February 2012
There was an interesting article in The Irish Times yesterday on research done by a French body into the makeup of rugby teams that win competitions like the World Cup etc....The research threw up a very telling truth, which is, that teams that win have a far greater % of heavier and more experienced forwards by about 2kg per man and taller, heavier backs than the opposition...As a competition progresses these parameters take on even more significance it was shown...So it seems Warren Gatland has known this for some time with the Welsh team he's built and it seems Declan Kidney doesn't....Maybe calls for James Downey being in the Irish squad have not been so daft as some seem to think, as it's obvious that Ireland always struggle against bigger opposition, especially France and for the past 3 matches Wales, where we've witnessed backs embarassingly bouncing off bigger attackers...The only team that may buck the trend is England v Ireland matches, and our recent wins against England could be the "terminal" cause of our "losing comfort zone" in world rugby (because it's usually viewed a good season if we beat England, "we're making progress" and all that garbage!!)...But the stats don't lie, Ireland need bigger players, especially in the backs, and we need them now!
Posted 08:42 22nd February 2012
Sorry I still don't get the Zebo buzz. I am yet to see him create his own tries. I have only seen him finish off what was created by someone else.... and he often butchers them
Posted 08:12 22nd February 2012
D'arcy, sexton, heaslip and DOC! Ugh
Posted 05:08 22nd February 2012
Sexton needs to finally take control of this Irish team. We all know he is good enough to do it but for some reason hasn't.
Posted 19:33 21st February 2012
I definetly agree with crunchfit. Yet why am I even surprised? Kidney, while an excellent coach, really seems to be nervous about even attempting to blood any new players. It's come so we expect him not to even make the attempt.
Posted 18:49 21st February 2012
Well have to say im still a little disappionted with DK a to conservative selection again imo. Just have to hope the extra week of training has finally allowed Ireland to find some form but i really dought it .I do expect Ireland to grind out a win though or it will be watch out DK your on borrowed time As i think everyone still cant see them wining in Paris.Two wins maybe would be a god aweful return for Ireland and the IRFU would have to start asking questuions big time.
Posted 18:32 21st February 2012
The other question here is will Kidney learn to use the bench?? , like O'Sullivan before him he seems to not understand how to use these guys - With 4 games back to back , bringing on guys with five minutes to go isn't going to cut it... He is going to have to trust the bench to come on in the 50-60 minute range and close out the games...
Posted 16:43 21st February 2012
@crunchfit, I liked the look of Madigan when he played in the HCup game recently. Shame for him that Sexton is only 4 years older....
Posted 16:02 21st February 2012
Hey Johnny start leading by kicking properly this time
Posted 15:45 21st February 2012
What do we learn from this team selection if Ireland play badly again.....
Posted 14:51 21st February 2012
Not much to be happy about, not much to be angry about. That's pretty good when Kidney's picking a team. Personally, I'd prefer use this comp as a trial. Dave Kearney, Zebo, O'Malley, O'Mahoney, Barnes, Spence, Cronin, Tuohy, Toner, Dominic Ryan, Madigan, Ruddock. I'm sure I'm my Leinster bias / lack of knowledge of other provinces is showing through there, but you get the idea. Whoever is young and shows promise, I'd like to see them.
Kearney 2.0 and Zebo are looking like serious Lions options for me. Can't say the same of most other young Irish players for now anyway.
Posted 14:20 21st February 2012