Friday, June 26, 2015

My take on the Irish rugby squad , and Super Rugby semi time!

 Ruddock has been in superb form for his province.
 Rhys Ruddock (picture

This is the preliminary Irish Squad for the world cup, broken down as follows:

Connacht 2
Leinster 22
Munster 9
Racing Metro 1
Ulster  11

Even for me as a Leinster supporter this seems a little unbalanced, I mean 9 players from Munster, that’s way too many!  In fairness, it does look a little like you could not even play rugby, but happen to be passing the RDS at the right time, and find yourself on the Ireland squad! Absentees who probably should have been in contention to me anyway are Archer and Cronin. Dave Foley and Robin Copeland would surely have been in there were they not injured (and we could really do with another quality lock), and CJ Stander only qualifies for Ireland the day after the World Cup Final. Denis Hurley has had the season of his life, so for me he should have at least made the 45.  Ian Keatley is not there, but in a tournament where goal kicking is likely to be vital, he is just not that reliable.

In Ulster, I think Marshall is not there for concussion reasons, with players like Olding and McCloskey to be challenging for places soon, and I wouldn’t mind seeing Wiehahn Herbst in there one day.

For Leinster Rhys Ruddock is player who shines for his country, while one day maybe Ben Te’O whill have his chance.

And for the players left out, it doesn’t take very many injuries in key positions to suddenly be required.

Forwards: Rory Best (Ulster), Michael Bent (Leinster), Jack Conan (Leinster), Sean Cronin (Leinster), Tadhg Furlong (Leinster), Cian Healy (Leinster), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster), Iain Henderson (Ulster), Chris Henry (Ulster), Rob Herring (Ulster), David Kilcoyne (Munster), Jack McGrath (Leinster), Martin Moore (Leinster), Jordi Murphy (Leinster), Sean O'Brien (Leinster), Paul O'Connell (Munster) (c), Tommy O'Donnell (Munster), Peter O'Mahony (Munster), Mike Ross (Leinster), Donnacha Ryan (Munster), Richardt Strauss (Leinster), Devin Toner (Leinster), Dan Tuohy (Ulster)

Backs: Isaac Boss (Leinster), Tommy Bowe (Ulster), Darren Cave (Ulster), Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster), Keith Earls (Munster), Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster), Craig Gilroy (Ulster), Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), Paddy Jackson (Ulster), Felix Jones (Munster), David Kearney (Leinster), Rob Kearney (Leinster), Ian Madigan (Leinster), Kieran Marmion (Connacht), Fergus McFadden (Leinster), Conor Murray (Munster), Jared Payne (Ulster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster), Noel Reid (Leinster), Jonathan Sexton (Racing Metro 92), Andrew Trimble (Ulster), Simon Zebo (Munster)

Finally, there are the Super Rugby semis this weekend.  The Hurricanes have had a week off, and will be at home, wyhile the Brumbies have earned mega frequent flyer miles on the way to beating the abject Stormers last week. Home advantage is key, the Canes have been the form team this season, so they should close this out.
Meanwhile, in Sydney, the Tahs get to grips with the Higlanders. Again, home advantage is huge. Without a conference system though, the highlanders would have finished second and had home advantage this weekend. I haven’t really seen the Tahs too much this season, and they have Folou at centre which is good in attack, but may not work in defence.  So maybe the Highlanders can sneak this one.

Super Rugby
Saturday, June 27
Hurricanes vs Brumbies    07:35
Waratahs vs Highlanders    09:55

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