Sunday, September 6, 2015

Good and bad for Ireland, and it's not just the best players in camp for the World Cup!

 Dave Kearney

Well, there was good and bad on Saturday at Twickenham. There was the good – Johnny May,  England’s attacking intentions in general, and Irelands scrum. Then here was the bad – that would mainly Irelands’ tackling, but also their positional play. Zebo didn’t have an awful day, but come back Rob Kearney, all is forgiven! Dave Kearney is the red hot Irish back at the moment, on attack, on defence. Tommy Bowe will be on tackling drills for a few weeks, Joe Schmidt might be wondering if he brought the right Ulster wing with him. After the first half, Ireland’s world cup challenge looked to be in tatters before it had even began, but they pulled in back in the second half, but a lot of things to work on. Promising for England though after falling short in Paris. There’s a suspicion that Ireland are not showing their hand just yet, and have some backline play and moves that they’ll unleash at the World Cup. Choreographed by the people that brought you Riverdance! Let’s see…

Wales put Italy away, but not very convincingly, and a really nervous wait now to see how serious the injuries are to Webb and  Halfpenny. Amazing how your opinion of the opposition affects how you play – Wales were nervous of Ireland, and came out all guns blazing for the win – whereas they were expecting to run up a cricket score against Italy, and only narrowly won it in the end.

Scotland looked more than decent against France, and got applause from the whole world by running the ball in the last minute instead of taking the draw.

In the Pro12, watching Leinster was like torture, they just couldn’t seem to get going. Their scrum has been rocked by the loss of five first choice props, and it’s new flyhalf, new scrumhalf, it’s ground zero for the team. Still. It was always going to be like this, time just to consolidate and build up, the wins will come. It also strikes me, watching this match  a bit of Glasgow/Scarlets and Blues/Zebre, that it’s not just the best players that are in camp for the World Cup, the best refs are with them!

Connacht got the win, Ulster a bonus point win where Stuart McCloskey was excellent, while Munster edged Treviso.

Wales 23 - 19 Italy
England 21 - 13 Ireland

Guinness PRO12
Friday, September 04
Connacht 29 - 23 Newport Gwent Dragons   
Edinburgh 16 - 9 Leinster   
Ulster 28 - 6 Ospreys   
Saturday, September 05
Glasgow Warriors 10 - 16 Scarlets

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