Thursday, August 6, 2015

New Zealand, Wales, South Africa!

Keith Earls ( picture

This weekend we have the first of the northern hemisphere warm ups, and the conclusion of the Rugby Championship. With matches at 10, 1.30 and 3 I can see it’s going to be a productive Saturday!

Ireland V Wales is the normal cat and mouse in the build up to the World Cup, and follows the ‘stronger home side, more experimental away side’ formula. That’s why for Ireland, we have Keith Earls back in centre. Give me strength. He’s an exciting, quick fast footed player with a good eye for a gap,  but he has the passing ability of a short sighted prop forward. If he plays for Ireland, please can it be at wing or fullback! Apart from that, the players I’m excited to see back are Donnacha Ryan, who’s been out forever, and Tommy O'Donnell, who’s a 100% player who never lets you down. Wales have named  a few new faces, and looking at the team, they look like they going to be running the ball a lot, so it should be entertaining – maybe not that fluid, as nobody here will have played a proper match for a few months. I think Wales will shade it.

15 Felix Jones, 14 Andrew Trimble, 13 Keith Earls, 12 Darren Cave, 11 Fergus McFadden, 10 Paddy Jackson, 9 Eoin Reddan, 8 Jamie Heaslip (c), 7 Tommy O'Donnell, 6 Jordi Murphy, 5 Donnacha Ryan, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Richardt Strauss, 1 Jack McGrath
Replacements: 16 Rory Best, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 Michael Bent, 19 Dan Tuohy, 20 Chris Henry, 21 Kieran Marmion, 22 Ian Madigan, 23 Simon Zebo

The Championship decider is first up on Saturday, as the Wallabies and All Blacks go head to head in Sydney. Form would say that the All Blacks will take it easily, but the Aussies will always find another gear for New Zealand. Both sides are tinkering with their teams a bit, looking for combinations, and looking at players. The Aussies have taken the recent Springbok route of having three scavengers in the back row (Pocock, Hooper and Fardy) , while Nehe Milner-Skudder starts at wing for the All Blacks – if you want to play wing for the All Blacks, play at  full back first!  I think the All Blacks are just too good, but the Wallabies will test tem to the last minute.

Finally, in Durban, I think the Springboks will have too much for the Pumas, especially with Jean de Villiers back in the team. They also have Pieter-Steph du Toit on the bench, they’ve more depth in lock now than they’ve had for ages.

Test Matches
Wales vs Ireland    13:30
Rugby Championship
Saturday, August 08
Australia vs New Zealand    10:05
South Africa vs Argentina    15:05

1 comment:

  1. Both Australia vs Wales have secured quarter-final places by beating England in the tournament's most difficult group. The losers at Twickenham on Saturday oct 10, 2015 know they will still progress, but South Africa await them next in quarter final. The winners will face either Scotland or Japan and should have an easier path towards the final. WATCH AUSTRALIA VS WALES LIVE here