Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pro 12 , team news for the Irish Provinces, and Steven Sykes, look away now!

I’ve been totally neglecting Leinster since the start of the Six Nations. So now I’m back, homemade Valentine card in bashful hand, I still love you, don’t worry. They seem to have been doing just fine without me, and in fairness I did catch the good half of their match against Treviso, where it all went very swimmingly indeed. It was an opportunity for the young guns like Madigan and O’Malley to strut their stuff, and the y didn’t disappoint.

In team news, Leinster are apparently having a cosy chat with Brad Thorne, who’d be an excellent short term signing, and Donnacha Ryan is also apparently considering a move to the big province in Ireland (I’m talking population here ) which I’d be over the moon with if they can pull it off.  If they are looking to dip into their kitty, and go overseas, I’d look at Andries Bekker from the Stormers, and preferably actually Flip van Der Merwe who’s an up and coming Bok. That is, if Seven Sykes hasn’t permanently sullied the waters for Saffers in Leinster. The big waster is already back playing (ie running a around on a rugby field, something he did precious little of in Ireland) for the Sharks, passing up a golden opportunity to play for one of the top clubs in Europe, and earn some €’s. And the IRFU made us give up Nathan Hines for him?

Munster also have some new additions on the way, with James Downey and Casey Lualua on their way to Limerick. Roger Wilson is on his way to Ulster, and is a great signing, while the rumours are rife that Tommy Bowe is on his way to the Man City of the PRO 12.

With Chris Ashton another high profile mover in the NH, from the Saints to Saracens, and the Ospreys coaching staff clearing out, isn’t it time to start thinking about doing transfers only in the off season? There are enough distractions as it is.

I expect the Scarlets are going to feel the force of Irish disappointment and get sent home with a loss and a flea in their ear by Leinster on Friday. It’s ladies night on Friday, and they’ve already sold nearly 16 000 tickets for the match – take a bow, all you supporters! Cardiff/ Ulster should be a tough match, but I’m backing the red hand, Munster should thump Treviso, and Connacht will be lucky to get any change out of Glasgow.

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