Your country needs you... (photo http://bit.ly/Lzu1jV)
The team is missing a few key players, namely Bowe, Ferris and O’Connell, but with the amount of rugby being played now, you need a squad of players able to step up to the mark when required.
As I’ve said before, we lack a noted backline coach. Earls was never my favourite in the centre, and now that he’s gone( which I had nothing to do with, promise), it will be interesting to see who’s the replacement. We need back up cover in centre, and fast. D’Arcy and O’Driscoll are both one injury away from the ends of their careers, and we should be trying to blood (excuse the expression) new talent there, so bring on McFadden, Cave, O’Malley would have been good if not injured, Trimble, we need options! I suppose that is Kidney’s plan with Earls, but no, bangs head on desk, it’s not fair on Ireland or Earls.
I’ve also heard rumours that DOC is in the frame for a return. (more banging of head) Not! Give Tuohy a chance, he’s been thrown in at the deepend against the AB’s, he’s a big strong boy, he’ll learn to swim.
Murray out, and Reddan in is a must but… that probably won’t happen either.
What can we do to put the AB’s off their game? I’d target two players –Smith the scrum half, and Sonny Bill Williams. Smith had a dream debut, but we need to be all over him like a rash, he needs a scrum half and a flank hanging off him at all times. That scrum needs to be a lot more unstable for him to work off. SBW would be my other player to target in defense. He’s still learning his trade, and there have to be gaps around him to be exploited.
Now the teams are out, wouldn't argue iwth anything except Murray. Oh dear.
Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Fergus McFadden, 13 Brian O'Driscoll (captain), 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip. 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Kevin McLaughlin, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Dan Tuohy, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Sean Cronin, 17 Declan Fitzpatrick, 18 Donncha O'Callaghan, 19 Peter O'Mahony, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Ronan O'Gara, 22 Simon Zebo.
New Zealand: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Zac Guildford, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (c), 6 Adam Thomson, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 Tony Woodcock.
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Piri Weepu, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Ben Smith.
Are we going to win? Hard to see but I heard Tipoki had a few words with the team, reminding them of what they did against the AB’s at Thomond. If they can play like they did that night, you just never know…
Elsewhere, I can see Wales winning, they are even trundling out Gatland now. I can see them winning now that they realise the task ahead, they looked a bit like they were expecting an easy game last weekend.
England could take the Boks if they stick to their strengths – put Fodden at full back, try to keep the ball in hand and play a fast game. The Boks are pretty one dimensional in attack, but it’s still pretty hard to stop a tank. They are ultra physical in defense, so just from a common sense point of view, try and run round them! I think The Boks will win though.
Saturday , June 16
Fiji vs Scotland 03:00
New Zealand vs Ireland 08:35
Australia vs Wales 11:05
South Africa vs England 16:00
Argentina vs France 22:10