Thursday, November 6, 2014

Ireland get ready for an out of BODy experience!

 Ireland coach Joe Schmidt looks set to throw a major curve-ball by selecting both Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne to face South Africa. Photo: SPORTSFILE

The build up to the World Cup starts now! Time for the North to test itself against the South, with so many matches you’d need a split screen TV to catch it all! I really don’t understand why there are so many clashes, it must affect TV revenue somewhere along the way.

First up, how is Ireland going to do? We are carrying a few injuries, but have two thirds of the players that won the 6 Nations, with Healy, Best. D’Arcy and Trimble not available, and BOD has left the building.  I guess in the past the aim in the autumn internationals would be to have a good go, and see where we were. This year though, I have no doubt that Joe Schmidt is targeting 3 wins. I’d argue that we have the best coach in the world right now, and that he has spent the whole of the Rugby Championship formulating plans for beating South Africa and Australia, I really can’t see us losing to Georgia. Henshaw and Payne in the centre is a surprise, but would you bet against Joe? I think he may be basing it on both defence – two big strong guys – and future/present attacking potential.

In the past, all you could expect from the Boks was being assaulted  by 15 large gentlemen, simple, brutal but effective. However, they score backline tries these days as well, although the indications are that the expansive game is back in the pocket for the moment. They’ve changed so much they are talking us up before the match! I think Joe has a solution to every threat the Boks pose in attack and defence, and that the 15 men that run out for Ireland have the ability to deliver a win. The problem is, how long will those 15 last, and who is going to take their place? Ross, McGrath and Kearney are coming back from injury, and we are setting up some really unfamiliar combinations if they go off. So I think we’ll get close but the Boks will win.

England will be without some big guns for the All Blacks. England beat the AB’s a few years ago, and came really close the first match on tour this year. I think they’ll be in it to the end, but lack of settled combinations will probably hurt them.  While I rate Lancaster as a coach, in the backline he seems to have a case of the Philippe Saint-André’s, how about him and what about HIM. A year out from the World Cup, I don’ think he knows yet who his starting backline is.

Australia have a new coach, a really good one with a winners pedigree, and while they have problems off field, you could put a lot of their onfield problems and losses down to having to play 3 top top sides in the last two months. They are battle hardened, street wise, and I think Wales are going to struggle.

Scotland have a completely new look for Argentina. It looks a strictly form pick, fair play to Cotter. Great to see Rob Harley starting – you always wonder if there’s two of him playing for Glasgow he has such a high work rate. But I think Argentina will win – they have had the most incredible build up to these matches in the Rugby Championship, and are starting to play better and better.

International Match
Saturday , November 8
Italy vs Samoa    14:00
Wales vs Australia    14:30
England vs New Zealand    14:30
France vs Fiji    16:45
Ireland vs South Africa    17:30
Scotland vs Argentina    17:30

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