Thursday, August 13, 2015

Ireland cap Jack Conan for Scotland, and three other smashing matches!

 Sean O'Brien
 Sean O'Brien ( picture

There’s quite a few changes for Ireland from last weekend – Sean O’Brien is captain, while Jack Conan gets his first cap, and Nathan White is on the bench so he should be capped as well. I’d like to see what work Joe Schmidt has put into Ian Madigan at flyhalf, and amazingly, Mike Ross starts again – he’s started every test under the ‘Joe’ regime. They should sort out Scotland if last week is anything to go by.

15 Simon Zebo, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Jared Payne, 12 Gordon D'Arcy, 11 Luke Fitzgerald, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Isaac Boss, 8 Sean O'Brien (c), 7 Chris Henry, 6 Jack Conan, 5 Dan Tuohy, 4 Devin Toner, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Dave Kilcoyne
Replacements: 16 Richardt Strauss, 17 Michael Bent, 18 Nathan White, 19 Paul O'Connell, 20 Jordi Murphy, 21 Eoin Reddan, 22 Paddy Jackson, 23 Dave Kearney

Elsewhere, there’s Blesidloe Cup action where everyone will be surprised if New Zealand don’t get back on the horse. They haven’t made wholesale changes, but I’m not sure about Victor Vito, and I would have started Read from the bench. A backrow of McCaw, Messam and Cane could have done some damage! The Wallabies have tinkered quite a bit, this is more like squad rotation than a genuine attempt to beat the AB’s back to back. Cooper for instance, looks well past his sell by date.

England are going to take on France, that could be the match of the weekend if they pick up where they left off at the Six Nations!

Finally, the Argentines have made quite a few changes, whoever refs that game will have a battle on their hands at the breakdown, it’s going to be murder! The Boks have Victor Matfield back to steady the lineout, but a few fringe players starting too. I think the physicality will be second to none, after last week the Pumas are marginal favourites, but the Boks may sneak it.

Saturday, August 15
New Zealand vs Australia    07:35
Ireland vs Scotland    16:00
England vs France    19:00
Argentina vs South Africa    19:40

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