Sunday, February 28, 2016

Ireland's flat season continues!

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Wales got things going on Friday with a battling victory over France. It wasn’t pretty to watch really – actually it was bug ugly, numerous scrum resets and prolonged mauls. They each got a try, France’s from a spell of prolonged pressure, while Wales was from a break out and had a touch of luck about it. France are probably out of it at this stage, while Wales are going to lift their game a lot to win the whole thing.

Italy Scotland was a bit of a bit of a ding dong match. Scotland roared into a good lead, then let Italy back into the match, and cheerfully tortured their fans until they finally pulled away in the last 10 minutes. Scotland are finally delivering on the promise they have shown recently.

Finally, Ireland’s flat season continued with a narrowish defeat by England. England seems to have  a secret factory in the Midland’s which is churning out large gentlemen (some of them ill tempered) for the purposes of playing rugby. Ireland kept in touch in the first half but all that heavy duty tackling took its toll, and after a brief flurry in the second half, England got up a lead and couldn’t be caught. We are not winning in a more hard fought, pleasing manner if that’s any consolation.

Friday, February 26
Wales 19 - 10    France
Saturday, February 27
Italy 20 - 36    Scotland
England 21 - 10    Ireland

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Ireland face England at Twickenham, can't wait!

Stuart  McCloskey ( picture

Friday night in Cardiff is where the 6 Nations restarts, with the French travelling to take on Wales. Both sides are unbeaten, that’s going to change, with the home side heavily favoured to pick up the win. There was a French mini circus during the week (completely out of character of course), as Tongan born Kiwi David Smith was called into camp only to reveal he had a 7’s cap for New Zealand. Only 14 Top 14 sides, each with an obligatory academy, but no French wings to be found. Wales have not set the tournament alight just yet, but with a bit of structure, discipline and common sense they should win this no problem.

Scotland, after promising so much in their last straight 7 matches in the 6 Nations, are still scratching around for a win. They are so much better than Italy, in every way, but the only way that’s going to count on Saturday is on the scoreboard. As with last weekend, I think Italy will play it like last weekend, competitive for the first 60 minutes then falling away.

Finally, Ireland’s fragile season faces another huge challenge as we take on England at Twickenham, the England that ran riot in Italy two weeks ago. In our favour is that for once, no big motivational speech is need before the match, no heroics need to be inspired, we are going to run out there and give them everything, no matter what. And we have some new faces this week, who will want to sear their names into Twickenham, Stuart McCloskey and Josh van der Flier, two form players from the PRO 12 and Champions Cup. I don’t have a great feeling about the result, but there is going to be the mother of all parties in London if we pull it off!

Friday, February 26   
Wales v    France     8:05 PM
Saturday, February 27
Italy v    Scotland     2:25 PM
England v    Ireland     4:50 PM