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The Ireland Squad Announcement Thread

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Post by Notch Wed 20 Jan 2016, 12:48 pm

First topic message reminder :

Following on from the discussion on the 'Ireland 2016 Squad' thread which can be found here.

Ireland squad has been announced. It contains four uncapped players- Stuart McCloskey, Ultan Dillane, Josh van der Flier and CJ Stander. However there is no room for Garry Ringrose. Mike Ross, Cian Healy and Chris Henry have all been omitted due to injury but may feature later as they return to fitness in their provincial set-ups.

Ireland Squad RBS 6 Nations 2016 Rounds 1 & 2

Forwards (19)


Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) Captain
Sean Cronin (St. Mary's College/Leinster)
James Cronin (Dolphin/Munster)
Ultan Dillane (Corinthians/Connacht)*
Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster)
Jamie Heaslip (Dublin University/Leinster) Vice Captain
Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
Mike McCarthy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Jack McGrath (St. Mary's College/Leinster)
Martin Moore (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Sean O'Brien (UCD/Leinster)
Tommy O'Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster)
Rhys Ruddock (St Mary's College/Leinster)
Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
CJ Stander (Munster)*
Richardt Strauss (Old Wesley/Leinster)
Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster)*
Nathan White (Connacht)

Backs (16)

Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Connacht)
Paddy Jackson (Dungannon/Ulster)
David Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster)
Ian Madigan (Blackrock College/Leinster)
Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht)
Luke Marshall (Ballymena/Ulster)
Stuart McCloskey (McCloskey/Ulster)*
Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
Jared Payne (Ulster)
Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
Jonathan Sexton (St Mary's College/Leinster)
Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)
Simon Zebo (Cork Con/Munster)

*Denotes uncapped player


Last edited by Notch on Wed 20 Jan 2016, 2:37 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Post by profitius Tue 23 Feb 2016, 10:22 am

asoreleftshoulder wrote:Looking back at the two games so far with a bit more of a level head and I'm really excited about where the team is headed.
It feels like Schmidts first few months in charge of Leinster,I think we'll click soon and then we'll be a real force.


There's very little evidence to suggest any change. I was saying similar things to that in the lead up to the world cup. The talk was that Schmidt had something up his sleeve and they were holding back in the warm up games. I believed that myself but if anything they went backwards during the world cup.


I don't think he has any intention to move away from his defensive, restrictive game plan. I would be delighted to be proved wrong on that but unfortunately I doubt we're going to see much change.


Matt Williams was on 'off the ball' radio show last night. He made the point that against tier 1 opposition, Ireland have scored more than 2 tries in a game just one or twice since 2014. Since the 2014 6 nations the average try per game ratio has plummeted and so far this 6 nations we have 1 try from 2 games or 0.5 tries per game.
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Post by SecretFly Tue 23 Feb 2016, 1:19 pm

There has been a 'tad' more speculative rugby played by Ireland - just the tiniest hint that 'expansion' of the universe was a little - a tiny little bit - higher on the agenda. I'll concede to that.

But there is the rub - the players are much too rusty at such stuff to be able to pull it off smoothly.  If it finally is in the reckoning to take us a step further down the path to creativity then it's gonna need a whole lot more work.... but will Schmidt be spooked off it given how awkward it all looks?  

The only positive is that I now think he knows he can't evade the issue or avoid it.  Defensive jog, puff and bang games will not win important games anymore.  The future rests with the fleet foxes. So there is no choice.

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Post by RubyGuby Tue 23 Feb 2016, 1:50 pm

A curve defining game on Saturday Fly thumbsup

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Post by SecretFly Tue 23 Feb 2016, 1:56 pm

RubyGuby wrote:A curve defining game on Saturday Fly thumbsup

No curve game there, Ruby. It's a dead cert dead beat dead end loss coming. But the curve has bottomed out during the WC. It's at the bottom, babe! Only way is up. Only a matter now of working out when and what year we'll start out on the ladder. We're having a tea break right now before the effort.

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Post by RubyGuby Tue 23 Feb 2016, 2:00 pm

SecretFly wrote:
RubyGuby wrote:A curve defining game on Saturday Fly thumbsup

No curve game there, Ruby.  It's a dead cert dead beat dead end loss coming.  But the curve has bottomed out during the WC.  It's at the bottom, babe!  Only way is up.  Only a matter now of working out when and what year we'll start out on the ladder.  We're having a tea break right now before the effort.  

I wouldn't rule you guys out so quickly on Saturday, at the moment you are just as likely to beat England and lose to Scotland but I see where you're coming from with the transition. This welsh team seems to have been around for fecking 50 years and Talupe is only 24!!!! It gets boring - a bit like our rugby thumbsup

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Post by Notch Tue 23 Feb 2016, 2:05 pm

I agree with Fly, for me this is now about rebuilding. Once you hit the bottom of the curve thats where the ascent begins and the next year or two is more about how do we build back into being a team that wins titles again. Changes to the game plan are definitely part of that but too much focus is being out on expansive rugby- if we are to play that way we need to change the way the provinces play, and the schools play, and the clubs play. It'll take a while.

My big concern is that Leinster are not the Leinster team that dominated Europe and Ulster are not looking like they have the mental edge to be the kind of team that will win trophies like Munster did or like Leinster did- Ulster don't look to be the kind of team you can build an Ireland side around.

We spend a lot of time arguing about the backs, because we have loads of individual talents that are yet to prove they can play as part of a really, really good collective back line. But where are the tight five forwards coming through though? We are so dependent on a few guys like McGrath, Henderson and Moore. Behind them...

It seems the next big challenge for the Ireland coaches is how to devise a game plan that covers up for our weak tight five and yet is within the abilities of the back line players we have.
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Post by Marshes Tue 23 Feb 2016, 2:52 pm

Notch wrote:I agree with Fly, for me this is now about rebuilding. Once you hit the bottom of the curve thats where the ascent begins and the next year or two is more about how do we build back into being a team that wins titles again. Changes to the game plan are definitely part of that but too much focus is being out on expansive rugby- if we are to play that way we need to change the way the provinces play,  and the schools play, and the clubs play. It'll take a while.

My big concern is that Leinster are not the Leinster team that dominated Europe and Ulster are not looking like they have the mental edge to be the kind of team that will win trophies like Munster did or like Leinster did- Ulster don't look to be the kind of team you can build an Ireland side around.

We spend a lot of time arguing about the backs, because we have loads of individual talents that are yet to prove they can play as part of a really, really good collective back line. But where are the tight five forwards coming through though? We are so dependent on a few guys like McGrath, Henderson and Moore. Behind them...

It seems the next big challenge for the Ireland coaches is how to devise a game plan that covers up for our weak tight five and yet is within the abilities of the back line players we have.

It was always going to be difficult to replace that established front five, but I think the quality can be there if given the chance. Coming through in the front row are Buckley, Cronin, Herring, McCall, Furlong, Bealham, Dooley etc. Second row is sparse at the minute but there is Dillane, AOC, Molony, Ryan in the u20s. And the back row VDF, JOD, Masterson, Reidy, Conan etc. The options are there for the next generation, but it will take time from them to get in and for leaders to emerge. POC wasn't built in a day.

What you want to see is the team moving forward with the right game plan. If we accept that transition will result in some inconsistency in the journey, we want to make sure the destination is right.

I think you are right that the game plan we currently play was built for players we no longer have, and so it needs to adapt. Realistically the plan should even be looking to move beyond those we will soon lose like Ross, Kearney, Toner, and most importantly Sexton.

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Post by Notch Tue 23 Feb 2016, 3:54 pm

I really want to see Jackson start a game again. Maybe against Italy. Think Sexton needs to be managed really carefully to prolong his career and we're going to need to rotate a lot more from now on.
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Post by asoreleftshoulder Tue 23 Feb 2016, 9:15 pm

profitius wrote:
asoreleftshoulder wrote:Looking back at the two games so far with a bit more of a level head and I'm really excited about where the team is headed.
It feels like Schmidts first few months in charge of Leinster,I think we'll click soon and then we'll be a real force.


There's very little evidence to suggest any change. I was saying similar things to that in the lead up to the world cup. The talk was that Schmidt had something up his sleeve and they were holding back in the warm up games. I believed that myself but if anything they went backwards during the world cup.


I don't think he has any intention to move away from his defensive, restrictive game plan. I would be delighted to be proved wrong on that but unfortunately I doubt we're going to see much change.


Matt Williams was on 'off the ball' radio show last night. He made the point that against tier 1 opposition, Ireland have scored more than 2 tries in a game just one or twice since 2014. Since the 2014 6 nations the average try per game ratio has plummeted and so far this 6 nations we have 1 try from 2 games or 0.5 tries per game.

Of course he's moved away from the old gameplan, we're obviously playing a possession based game with far less kicking than this time last year.
The way we opened Wales up is hugely encouraging and I expect that once we hone that attacking edge we'll be much more clinical. Injuries permitting I am hugely hopeful that the tour to say will be a success.

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Post by profitius Tue 23 Feb 2016, 9:44 pm

asoreleftshoulder wrote:
profitius wrote:
asoreleftshoulder wrote:Looking back at the two games so far with a bit more of a level head and I'm really excited about where the team is headed.
It feels like Schmidts first few months in charge of Leinster,I think we'll click soon and then we'll be a real force.


There's very little evidence to suggest any change. I was saying similar things to that in the lead up to the world cup. The talk was that Schmidt had something up his sleeve and they were holding back in the warm up games. I believed that myself but if anything they went backwards during the world cup.


I don't think he has any intention to move away from his defensive, restrictive game plan. I would be delighted to be proved wrong on that but unfortunately I doubt we're going to see much change.


Matt Williams was on 'off the ball' radio show last night. He made the point that against tier 1 opposition, Ireland have scored more than 2 tries in a game just one or twice since 2014. Since the 2014 6 nations the average try per game ratio has plummeted and so far this 6 nations we have 1 try from 2 games or 0.5 tries per game.

Of course he's moved away from the old gameplan, we're obviously playing a possession based game with far less kicking than this time last year.
The way we opened Wales up is hugely encouraging and I expect that once we hone that attacking edge we'll be much more clinical. Injuries permitting I am hugely hopeful that the tour to say will be a success.


We'll wait and see, asoreleftshoulder.


To me it looks like he is just tweaking his normal system. If he was that serious about improving the attack he wouldn't have picked the Kearneys, McFadden or Payne and Henshaw out of position. The Kearneys or McFadden are not bad players and are good, safe, reliable professionals but the team is crying out for more of a cutting edge.
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Post by asoreleftshoulder Tue 23 Feb 2016, 10:12 pm

Well once the 6N is over Schmidt can let Farrell worry about the defense.I expect that allied to the fact our scrum will become more solid once Ross and Moore return,to result in a more clinical attacking game in line with what we saw with Leinster in their pomp.

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Post by wolfball Wed 24 Feb 2016, 2:23 am

profitius wrote:
To me it looks like he is just tweaking his normal system. If he was that serious about improving the attack he wouldn't have picked the Kearneys, McFadden or Payne and Henshaw out of position. The Kearneys or McFadden are not bad players and are good, safe, reliable professionals but the team is crying out for more of a cutting edge.

There are two things you are conflating, the system and the players. The system in 2016 is radically different to last year. I mean its closer to Eddie O'Sullivan (with way less cutting edge true) then Declan Kidney/Joe 2014/2015.

Players selected is a legitimate critique but the system is completely different so its strange to say its just a tweak. What wouldn't be a tweak?!?

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Post by geoff999rugby Wed 24 Feb 2016, 9:58 am

asoreleftshoulder wrote:Looking back at the two games so far with a bit more of a level head and I'm really excited about where the team is headed.
It feels like Schmidts first few months in charge of Leinster,I think we'll click soon and then we'll be a real force.

I think the complete opposite - we are in in a rut and being left behind.

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Post by profitius Wed 24 Feb 2016, 11:11 am

wolfball wrote:
profitius wrote:
To me it looks like he is just tweaking his normal system. If he was that serious about improving the attack he wouldn't have picked the Kearneys, McFadden or Payne and Henshaw out of position. The Kearneys or McFadden are not bad players and are good, safe, reliable professionals but the team is crying out for more of a cutting edge.

There are two things you are conflating, the system and the players. The system in 2016 is radically different to last year. I mean its closer to Eddie O'Sullivan (with way less cutting edge true) then Declan Kidney/Joe 2014/2015.

Players selected is a legitimate critique but the system is completely different so its strange to say its just a tweak. What wouldn't be a tweak?!?


I wouldn't say it's completely different.
There has to be some congruency between the players and system for there to be real change. Every coach does that.


Gatland's game is about physicality and he picks players like Cuthbert who is a 6'6" winger. In fact the Welsh are the heaviest team in the world. That's congruent with Gatlands gameplan. Eddie Jones wants to play with tempo and he looks to be going with speedy and skillful backs. Ford and Farrell combination isn't the biggest but they're good attackers.


If Ireland are changing their style of play to a more attacking style, why not pick the best attacking players? It's like switching from an off road circuit to a racetrack but still using off road vehicles while the F1 cars are locked up in storage. The off road vehicles lack the speed and technical sophistication of the F1 cars. I know it's not that black and white but you get the point.


Schmidt is picking the players based on how they defend. We never hear what Payne brings to the attack but just that he reads the game well defensively. That sums up why there were 4 SH sides in the world cup semis.
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Post by Pete330v2 Wed 24 Feb 2016, 1:05 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:
asoreleftshoulder wrote:Looking back at the two games so far with a bit more of a level head and I'm really excited about where the team is headed.
It feels like Schmidts first few months in charge of Leinster,I think we'll click soon and then we'll be a real force.

I think the complete opposite - we are in in a rut and being left behind.

I'm with Geoff on this one. I had been in the 'Schmidt is holding something back' camp but it's obvious now that he never has been and this is what we're getting for the time being. While the other 6 nations sides reward their form players with places on matchday squads, we are still seeing players out of position and players who should have been sent out to pasture a long time ago. We persevere with the likes of Fitzgerald and McFadden unbelievably while the Healys and McCloskeys of this little island are left scratching their heads at what they need to do to wear a green shirt. I know we've had two of the tightest results you can get but there's so much more we could be doing with the players we have at our disposal.

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Post by asoreleftshoulder Wed 24 Feb 2016, 2:19 pm

profitius wrote:
wolfball wrote:
profitius wrote:
To me it looks like he is just tweaking his normal system. If he was that serious about improving the attack he wouldn't have picked the Kearneys, McFadden or Payne and Henshaw out of position. The Kearneys or McFadden are not bad players and are good, safe, reliable professionals but the team is crying out for more of a cutting edge.

There are two things you are conflating, the system and the players. The system in 2016 is radically different to last year. I mean its closer to Eddie O'Sullivan (with way less cutting edge true) then Declan Kidney/Joe 2014/2015.

Players selected is a legitimate critique but the system is completely different so its strange to say its just a tweak. What wouldn't be a tweak?!?


I wouldn't say it's completely different.
There has to be some congruency between the players and system for there to be real change. Every coach does that.


Gatland's game is about physicality and he picks players like Cuthbert who is a 6'6" winger. In fact the Welsh are the heaviest team in the world. That's congruent with Gatlands gameplan. Eddie Jones wants to play with tempo and he looks to be going with speedy and skillful backs. Ford and Farrell combination isn't the biggest but they're good attackers.


If Ireland are changing their style of play to a more attacking style, why not pick the best attacking players? It's like switching from an off road circuit to a racetrack but still using off road vehicles while the F1 cars are locked up in storage. The off road vehicles lack the speed and technical sophistication of the F1 cars. I know it's not that black and white but you get the point.


Schmidt is picking the players based on how they defend. We never hear what Payne brings to the attack but just that he reads the game well defensively. That sums up why there were 4 SH sides in the world cup semis.

That's an awful metaphor,you can't just ignore defense when you want to improve the attack.You pick the best players and then try to improve the attack with them.You can disagree about who the best players are but using your approach you'd regularly get a repeat of the Argentina match,where our attack functioned well and we got a decent score to win a Test match while also butchering a gilt edged opportunity for a try.It was our defense that let us down there.

Our attack against Wales was close to ripping them apart but we failed to take advantage of the chances we created,however we did create chances so that makes me confident that if we keep doing that we'll start to rack up some big scores soon enough,maybe not next week but I expect us to be sharp for the Summer tour.The French game we dominated possession but the wet ball meant too many handling errors to really stretch the defense,if we had reduced our ambition a little to suit the conditions I think we'd have won.This is something that can happen a team that is working to change their approach,ignorantly sticking to the new gameplan when it obviously doesn't suit the conditions and is a mark against the coaches and senior players.

Even with all this said if we had a little more luck with injuries in the tight 5 we'd probably be sitting here with 2 wins and be looking at a great chance of winning 3 in a row.Schmidt has done a hell of a job to make us so competitive and I'm looking forward to things clicking,injuries in the tight 5 are the main thing that can hurt us imo.

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Post by eirebilly Wed 24 Feb 2016, 2:55 pm

I have also been encouraged with the way Schmidt has approached getting a new game plan in place, a more attacking orientated game plan but he is simply selecting the wrong players for that to work in my opinion.

Of course defence is a very high priority but attack should also be treated as such and I do believe that Schmidt is slightly caught in no-mans land regarding selections and game plans.

Payne will never set the world alight from 13 but from 15, he is simply sublime at reading the game and bringing others into it. Simple positional selection for me.

I honestly do believe that if Ireland had McCloskey and Henshaw 12-13 with Payne at 15, Ireland would have beaten Wales, the gaps were there and I believe with a more balance backline, more chances would have been taken. Also believe this for the France game.
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Post by profitius Wed 24 Feb 2016, 3:28 pm

asoreleftshoulder wrote:
profitius wrote:
wolfball wrote:
profitius wrote:
To me it looks like he is just tweaking his normal system. If he was that serious about improving the attack he wouldn't have picked the Kearneys, McFadden or Payne and Henshaw out of position. The Kearneys or McFadden are not bad players and are good, safe, reliable professionals but the team is crying out for more of a cutting edge.

There are two things you are conflating, the system and the players. The system in 2016 is radically different to last year. I mean its closer to Eddie O'Sullivan (with way less cutting edge true) then Declan Kidney/Joe 2014/2015.

Players selected is a legitimate critique but the system is completely different so its strange to say its just a tweak. What wouldn't be a tweak?!?


I wouldn't say it's completely different.
There has to be some congruency between the players and system for there to be real change. Every coach does that.


Gatland's game is about physicality and he picks players like Cuthbert who is a 6'6" winger. In fact the Welsh are the heaviest team in the world. That's congruent with Gatlands gameplan. Eddie Jones wants to play with tempo and he looks to be going with speedy and skillful backs. Ford and Farrell combination isn't the biggest but they're good attackers.


If Ireland are changing their style of play to a more attacking style, why not pick the best attacking players? It's like switching from an off road circuit to a racetrack but still using off road vehicles while the F1 cars are locked up in storage. The off road vehicles lack the speed and technical sophistication of the F1 cars. I know it's not that black and white but you get the point.


Schmidt is picking the players based on how they defend. We never hear what Payne brings to the attack but just that he reads the game well defensively. That sums up why there were 4 SH sides in the world cup semis.

That's an awful metaphor,you can't just ignore defense when you want to improve the attack.You pick the best players and then try to improve the attack with them.You can disagree about who the best players are but using your approach you'd regularly get a repeat of the Argentina match,where our attack functioned well and we got a decent score to win a Test match while also butchering a gilt edged opportunity for a try.It was our defense that let us down there.

Our attack against Wales was close to ripping them apart but we failed to take advantage of the chances we created,however we did create chances so that makes me confident that if we keep doing that we'll start to rack up some big scores soon enough,maybe not next week but I expect us to be sharp for the Summer tour.The French game we dominated possession but the wet ball meant too many handling errors to really stretch the defense,if we had reduced our ambition a little to suit the conditions I think we'd have won.This is something that can happen a team that is working to change their approach,ignorantly sticking to the new gameplan when it obviously doesn't suit the conditions and is a mark against the coaches and senior players.

Even with all this said if we had a little more luck with injuries in the tight 5 we'd probably be sitting here with 2 wins and be looking at a great chance of winning 3 in a row.Schmidt has done a hell of a job to make us so competitive and I'm looking forward to things clicking,injuries in the tight 5 are the main thing that can hurt us imo.


I'm not ignoring defence but I believe Schmidt is putting far too much emphasis on defence while the southern hemisphere sides (with the exception of SA) concentrate mainly on attack. Ireland/Schmidt were schooled in the world cup by an Argentinian team who took the brave step a few years ago of reconstructing the way they play. They didn't tweak a few things, they started something from scratch under the supervision of Graham Henry and although they've still a way to go, they are getting there.


I don't buy the luck argument either. Nobody was saying Ireland were lucky to win the 6 nations in the last 2 years despite winning both narrowly. Conditions in Paris were bad but wouldn't McCloskey have been ideal in those conditions to truck it up. Out of form Madigan comes off the bench and makes a big mistake which practically ended the match for Ireland. All Schmidt's choices.
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Post by asoreleftshoulder Wed 24 Feb 2016, 3:41 pm

eirebilly wrote:I have also been encouraged with the way Schmidt has approached getting a new game plan in place, a more attacking orientated game plan but he is simply selecting the wrong players for that to work in my opinion.

Of course defence is a very high priority but attack should also be treated as such and I do believe that Schmidt is slightly caught in no-mans land regarding selections and game plans.

Payne will never set the world alight from 13 but from 15, he is simply sublime at reading the game and bringing others into it. Simple positional selection for me.

I honestly do believe that if Ireland had McCloskey and Henshaw 12-13 with Payne at 15, Ireland would have beaten Wales, the gaps were there and I believe with a more balance backline, more chances would have been taken. Also believe this for the France game.

I can't disagree with anything you've said there,I'd love to see McCloskey get a go too and Kearney at fullback has been poor in attack for a while,I can understand Schmidts selections to date but they aren't the ones I'd have picked if it were my choice.

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Post by asoreleftshoulder Wed 24 Feb 2016, 3:56 pm

profitius wrote:

I'm not ignoring defence but I believe Schmidt is putting far too much emphasis on defence while the southern hemisphere sides (with the exception of SA) concentrate mainly on attack. Ireland/Schmidt were schooled in the world cup by an Argentinian team who took the brave step a few years ago of reconstructing the way they play. They didn't tweak a few things, they started something from scratch under the supervision of Graham Henry and although they've still a way to go, they are getting there.  


I don't buy the luck argument either. Nobody was saying Ireland were lucky to win the 6 nations in the last 2 years despite winning both narrowly. Conditions in Paris were bad but wouldn't McCloskey have been ideal in those conditions to truck it up. Out of form Madigan comes off the bench and makes a big mistake which practically ended the match for Ireland. All Schmidt's choices.

I think plenty of people have said that and they'd e right imo,when you win 2 championships on a very narrow points difference then you have to admit to a certain amount of luck.

McCloskey might have been ideal to truck it up in Paris but Henshaw was excellent in that role too,the issue imo was Murray and Sexton didn't use the boot enough,we tried to play way too much rugby in tough conditions that suited the defending team.We would have been better suited to reverting to the kick/chase game that served us so well in the last 6N.We also should have taken our points when on offer,that's cost us in both matches so far,small margins and easily fixable yet.

Finally saying Arg schooled us is all fine and well but I am certain we'll have far better results than they well over the long term,they beat us in a one off fixture when we were crippled by injuries and only a week off a very intense match where they had a nice easy run in to prepare for us.It's like saying Ireland schooled Oz in the 2011 WC,so what,they were missing some of their best players and we ambushed them but they were still the better team and proved it over the next couple of years.

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Post by wolfball Thu 25 Feb 2016, 1:57 am

profitius wrote:
If Ireland are changing their style of play to a more attacking style, why not pick the best attacking players? It's like switching from an off road circuit to a racetrack but still using off road vehicles while the F1 cars are locked up in storage. The off road vehicles lack the speed and technical sophistication of the F1 cars. I know it's not that black and white but you get the point.

You will get no argument from me here. There are clearly selection issues. We either not picking the players to play an expansive game well, or they do not exist in Ireland now. I am of the former opinion, but I have heard people make decent points that its the latter. Regardless though, its clear that the game plan is different. Joe may be conservative with selection (though the predicted team doing the rounds for england may well blow that claim out of the water!) but he is really trying to implement a game plan closer to argentina.

Which again why I'm puzzled by some of the criticism... People want us to play like argentina, make the point of all the years of Arg playing shyte but expansive rugby and how they smashed us in RWC. They did and then.... won nothing. Defence has and will always win the RWC. Attack can only get you to the last couple of rounds, but if you have no defence, you will lose to NZ and that will be that.

I see an irish team trying to be a poor-man's argentina. When if we had kicked the leather off the ball, we would have beaten France. But lets continue with this expansive model for a tournament and see where we are by the end. I think it might click. 18% chance Whistle

Someone else raised the act we didn't take kick at goal when we had the chance... This either means that we are pushing the expansive game as much as possible as per Joe's instructions (the argentina model) or Best/Sexton have made mistakes. Again, not sure which. I think losing POCs decision making (which wasn't always great, takes awhile for forward captains to stop knee-jerk deciding to always go for line-out) is the biggest factor here.

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 25 Feb 2016, 9:08 am

wolfball wrote: . This either means that we are pushing the expansive game as much as possible as per Joe's instructions (the argentina model) .

Whatever we are playing is isn't the Argentinian model or anything remotely close.

Sadly I was right re performance and result against France and I expect similar on Saturday England by a comfortable margin.

After this weekend we will be in 5th place and fighting for the wooden spoon with Scotland and Italy - some people need to wake up and smell the coffee


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Post by asoreleftshoulder Thu 25 Feb 2016, 11:54 am

geoff999rugby wrote:
wolfball wrote: . This either means that we are pushing the expansive game as much as possible as per Joe's instructions (the argentina model) .

Whatever we are playing is isn't the Argentinian model or anything remotely close.

Sadly I was right re performance and result against France and I expect similar on Saturday England by a comfortable margin.

After this weekend we will be in 5th place and fighting for the wooden spoon with Scotland and Italy - some people need to wake up and smell the coffee


Yeah we're competitive in over 95% of our games and win over 65%,it's only when injury cripples us that our lack of depth is exposed.Arg are regularly hammered and beating us in a one off match doesn't change that.It's like claiming we're a better side than S.A. because we hammered them last November.

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Post by wolfball Thu 25 Feb 2016, 11:57 am

geoff999rugby wrote:
wolfball wrote: . This either means that we are pushing the expansive game as much as possible as per Joe's instructions (the argentina model) .

Whatever we are playing is isn't the Argentinian model or anything remotely close.

Sadly I was right re performance and result against France and I expect similar on Saturday England by a comfortable margin.

After this weekend we will be in 5th place and fighting for the wooden spoon with Scotland and Italy - some people need to wake up and smell the coffee


The coffee is smelling delicious where i am. Hug

We are of course not playing like argentina 2015. But are we like argentina 2013? Maybe not, we still don't offload , but we are not kicking that's for sure.

Again the point is leaving aside selection in which we all pretty much concur that joe is getting wrong, tactically Geoff what do you want to see different to how we played the first two games? Scrum, Ruck speed and feeding to one out ball carriers and the lack of kicking are the issues I feel. Expansive ball in hand play is not in my view. We are playing expansive. It's just lateral. So what do people want to see changed? Besides the players playing?

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Post by Pete330v2 Thu 25 Feb 2016, 12:17 pm

I'd like to see a more aggressive defence against England. If we let their players run at us with the passive drift defence we're going to be in trouble. We need to up the line-speed and get right in their faces to lessen the chance of them getting on the front foot. Joe's plan of letting the opposition do what they like while we counter it doesn't sit well with me an allows the opposition to dictate too much of the game. We need to grab this one by the short and curlies and demand that we win, not just leave it to English errors.

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Post by Notch Thu 25 Feb 2016, 12:43 pm

Pete330v2 wrote:I'd like to see a more aggressive defence against England.

Yeah, I'd like to see that too. I just think that we're going to need to be realistic about the very disappointing situation that the IRFU have let us go into this tournament without a specialist defence coach- maybe not the worst thing in the world if this is about bringing new players into the group, but it was always going to be extremely hard for Schmidt to make big changes to the way we play when he's down a man in the coaching staff.

He's had an extra week plus match week to work with whatever players he wants, but really how many pitch sessions is that? 5? 6? And every minute he spends tweaking the defence is a minute the attack is almost ignored and vice versa. So he has very limited scope to make sweeping changes to both systems. Hopefully Farrell coming in will allow him to focus on attack.
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Post by Golden Thu 25 Feb 2016, 1:38 pm

The Ireland Squad Announcement Thread - Page 19 CcEEEIPWoAAWuFu

Ballsy call. 3 new caps in the squad. Massive game for Van De Flier

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Post by carpet baboon Thu 25 Feb 2016, 1:43 pm

How's VDF been playing? Only seen a few clips.andi know its wrong any chance Kearney might pull up in the warm up and we can start Zebo?

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Post by Kingshu Thu 25 Feb 2016, 1:47 pm

Madigan ahead of Jackson, whats going on!!!!!!!!!

I know Madigan covers more positions but
Jackson covers 10 a lot better than Madigan its their primary job and Jackson has been playing a lot better than Madigan

Fullback, Zebo would come on not Madigan
Wing Zebo comes on not Madigan
Center, Earls moves in and Zebo comes on not Madigan

Basically you don't need a versatile 10 to also cover positions when you already have someone on the bench that covers them.

I can't believe Madigan is picked because he is back up, to the back up, when someone is doing the primary job better.

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Post by Guest Thu 25 Feb 2016, 1:47 pm

Golden wrote:The Ireland Squad Announcement Thread - Page 19 CcEEEIPWoAAWuFu

Ballsy call. 3 new caps in the squad. Massive game for Van De Flier

More forced than ballsy, I think, although VDF can probably be said to be ballsy.

Massive game for all three, and Henshaw. Excited to see how they all perform.

Marshall just missed out, according to Schmidt. Hopefully his time will come soon.

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Post by The Great Aukster Thu 25 Feb 2016, 1:49 pm

VdF has looked the form 7 in Ireland, but it's a big step up.

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Post by Marshes Thu 25 Feb 2016, 1:52 pm

Well deserved, McCloskey and Henshaw due their spots in their best respective positions. Hopefully Payne's absence is not too keenly felt in defence. Not seen as much of VDF but what I have seen he has been very good.

Dillane off the bench I think will be exciting as well.

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Post by Golden Thu 25 Feb 2016, 1:55 pm

carpet baboon wrote:How's VDF been playing? Only seen a few clips.andi know its wrong any chance Kearney might pull up in the warm up and we can start Zebo?

VDF has had a great season with Leinster so far. Probably one of their best players so far. Massive call to put him in. Love it though. Would have been nice to Zebo start and Jackson make the bench too.

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 25 Feb 2016, 1:56 pm

Those changes are not ballsy they are forced.

As to playing like Argentina - who said we are better what was said we don't play like them i.e. we don't offload.
Argentina are achieving more with less; that is because the penny has dropped playing year on year against the Tri Nations.

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Post by Golden Thu 25 Feb 2016, 2:08 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:Those changes are not ballsy they are forced.

You dont think VDF and Dillane are big calls? He could have went with the more experienced Foley and Ruddock instead. Granted they are the form picks but he could have easily went for the tried and true options.

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Post by profitius Thu 25 Feb 2016, 2:23 pm

Kearney, Reddan, Strauss and Madigan should not be near the squad. VDF was the right call but if anyone deserved to be dropped it wasn't TOD. VDF was in my original team of the tournament so I rate him. I think he'll inject some pace into the pack and will go hunting Ford. He isn't a Pocock but he is a traditional 'pain in the ass' openside.


So Schmidt has made 1 good selection. McCloskey is there because Payne is injured.
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Post by Notch Thu 25 Feb 2016, 2:30 pm

I feel like Strauss should definitely be in. Sometimes it feels like Best is the only thing holding our front row together and when he comes off, you don't want to see Cronin replacing him. Cronin struggles to hook the ball at the best of times and with him I'd be concerned about losing a few against the head. Herring had a thigh injury which ruled him out of Ulsters game- who else is there?

I think Van Der Fliers job will be to chop down ball carriers in the pack, especially Vunipola. Try and kill their momentum at source. We actually want them to move it wide (famous last words?), this back three is comfortable defending in the wide channels although losing Payne will hurt us in that respect. They can do a lot of damage to us around the ruck though.
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Post by Sin é Thu 25 Feb 2016, 2:35 pm

Best if luck to the 3 new young caps. I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens in the midfield. Its a big ask for Van Der Fliers as he really doesn't have a lot of experience at all, let alone at international level. Making your debut in Twickers is a daunting task.

CJ has really been a hit with Joe. He looks like a permanent fixture and he is only starting his 3rd game. You'd have to feel a bit sorry for Ruddock though.

As for TOD …
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Post by wolfball Thu 25 Feb 2016, 3:32 pm

Great selection. Forced or not, having 4 players capped across the three toughest six nations games is something we have not seen in a long time. Mcclockey MOTM. I am really excited to see Joseph vs henshaw. Think they have the highest ceiling of the NH up and coming 13s.

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Post by geoff999rugby Thu 25 Feb 2016, 4:36 pm

Golden wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:Those changes are not ballsy they are forced.

You dont think VDF and Dillane are big calls? He could have went with the more experienced Foley and Ruddock instead. Granted they are the form picks but he could have easily went for the tried and true options.

Nope not really
VDF is playing because we simply could not go into this game without a player who could not play 7 and the only alternative, Henry, simply hasn't been the same player since his heart flutter.
Bit of a stretch to call Foley the experienced option, only 2 caps and only 1 of them a start.
He was looked at 1 1/2 years ago and not played since.
In truth put a kid on the bench instead of someone who Schmidt probably regards as short of international class

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Post by Golden Thu 25 Feb 2016, 5:29 pm

geoff999rugby wrote:
Golden wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:Those changes are not ballsy they are forced.

You dont think VDF and Dillane are big calls? He could have went with the more experienced Foley and Ruddock instead. Granted they are the form picks but he could have easily went for the tried and true options.

Nope not really
VDF is playing because we simply could not go into this game without a player who could not play 7 and the only alternative, Henry, simply hasn't been the same player since his heart flutter.
Bit of a stretch to call Foley the experienced option, only 2 caps and only 1 of them a start.
He was looked at 1 1/2 years ago and not played since.
In truth put a kid on the bench instead of someone who Schmidt probably regards as short of international class

Dillane is in his first year of a professional contract. Foley by contrast has been playing for Munster since 2010 granted he's been used sparingly enough with POC and Ryan ahead of him. He has also been in and around the Ireland squads consistently under Schmidt.

Is TOD injured? Thought he played at the weekend.

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Post by Rory_Gallagher Thu 25 Feb 2016, 5:40 pm

So I was right about the selection calls last weekend! I thought that it was strange to see VDF totally absent from the Leinster team while TOD, Ruddock and Henry all started for their respective provinces.

This is a good team and this will be an extremely interesting game now. The strength of our tight five will totally depend on the form of Mike Ross. We could actually be good in this area. Donnacha Ryan also had a huge game for Munster last weekend. The backline will finally be tested to see if they live up to the hype. Or perhaps the fears of many will be justified.

I am still gutted for Jackson though. Honestly, despite his recent poor(ish) form he is miles ahead of Madigan. I think his poor form is probably down to frustration and it looks as if he is trying too hard at times. Still, he must get a chance against Scotland/Italy.

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Post by Rory_Gallagher Thu 25 Feb 2016, 5:50 pm

Golden wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:
Golden wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:Those changes are not ballsy they are forced.

You dont think VDF and Dillane are big calls? He could have went with the more experienced Foley and Ruddock instead. Granted they are the form picks but he could have easily went for the tried and true options.

Nope not really
VDF is playing because we simply could not go into this game without a player who could not play 7 and the only alternative, Henry, simply hasn't been the same player since his heart flutter.
Bit of a stretch to call Foley the experienced option, only 2 caps and only 1 of them a start.
He was looked at 1 1/2 years ago and not played since.
In truth put a kid on the bench instead of someone who Schmidt probably regards as short of international class

Dillane is in his first year of a professional contract. Foley by contrast has been playing for Munster since 2010 granted he's been used sparingly enough with POC and Ryan ahead of him. He has also been in and around the Ireland squads consistently under Schmidt.

Is TOD injured? Thought he played at the weekend.


I think TOD is okay but VDF was obviously primed to take over from SOB during the break. He was rested for Leinster while the other options were given back to the provinces. He must have really impressed Schmidt in training. For those who may not have seen him play, this guy will tackle hard all day. His work rate is absolutely huge. He is learning at the breakdown (though he has made some great steals for Leinster) and he is very good with ball in hand as well. He has a lot of pace.

Ruddock deserves the bench spot as he played out of his skin for Leinster. His stats were absolutely ridiculous, I think he made 27 tackles with 0 missed. He also made a lot of important carries. The competition for the back row is incredible with POM, Henderson and SOB all missing of course.

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Post by theslosty Thu 25 Feb 2016, 7:02 pm

I understand the frustration with Madigan's continued selection but you only have to go back to the last game to see how stretched our backline can get with injuries.

But more significantly Madigan is a first class goalkicker who has always been able to slot over high pressure penalties coming off the bench for Ireland. While Jackson is currently better in virtually every other department, his goalkicking still has a long way to go.
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Post by JmD Thu 25 Feb 2016, 7:55 pm

theslosty wrote:I understand the frustration with Madigan's continued selection but you only have to go back to the last game to see how stretched our backline can get with injuries.

But more significantly Madigan is a first class goalkicker who has always been able to slot over high pressure penalties coming off the bench for Ireland. While Jackson is currently better in virtually every other department, his goalkicking still has a long way to go.

This statement is brought to you by someone who hasn't watched Jackson this year. He's the first choice goalkicker for Ulster, his kicking is excellent.


Last edited by JmD on Fri 26 Feb 2016, 11:11 am; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Mcgavin Sean Thu 25 Feb 2016, 8:22 pm


Just to digress.
I remember watching this game in 1974,we had drawn with Wales in Dublin and had lost to France by 3 points in Paris.Then Ireland and the great Mike Gibson produced this stunning performance to give us a slim chance of the Championship which we won after defeating the Scots in the final round.

Here's hoping lightning strikes twice!
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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 26 Feb 2016, 9:39 am

theslosty wrote:I understand the frustration with Madigan's continued selection but you only have to go back to the last game to see how stretched our backline can get with injuries.

But more significantly Madigan is a first class goalkicker who has always been able to slot over high pressure penalties coming off the bench for Ireland. While Jackson is currently better in virtually every other department, his goalkicking still has a long way to go.

Your out of date Jacksons kicking has been outstanding in the last couple of months.

Jackson cover 10 better
Jackson can cover 12 as well as Madigan.
Zebo can cover 15 at least as well as Madigan

There is not justification for selection Madigan over Jackson

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 26 Feb 2016, 9:41 am

Golden wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:
Golden wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:Those changes are not ballsy they are forced.

You dont think VDF and Dillane are big calls? He could have went with the more experienced Foley and Ruddock instead. Granted they are the form picks but he could have easily went for the tried and true options.

Nope not really
VDF is playing because we simply could not go into this game without a player who could not play 7 and the only alternative, Henry, simply hasn't been the same player since his heart flutter.
Bit of a stretch to call Foley the experienced option, only 2 caps and only 1 of them a start.
He was looked at 1 1/2 years ago and not played since.
In truth put a kid on the bench instead of someone who Schmidt probably regards as short of international class

Dillane is in his first year of a professional contract. Foley by contrast has been playing for Munster since 2010 granted he's been used sparingly enough with POC and Ryan ahead of him. He has also been in and around the Ireland squads consistently under Schmidt.

Is TOD injured? Thought he played at the weekend.

TOD has a stomach bug
Dillane is seen as a prospect, Foley is 27 and seen as short of the standard required.
Picking the prospect is the logic choice

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Post by geoff999rugby Fri 26 Feb 2016, 9:42 am

Having said all that the return of Ross and the forced selection of McCloskey does mean our chances are considerably better.
VDF needs a huge game though

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Post by rodders Fri 26 Feb 2016, 10:00 am

geoff999rugby wrote:
theslosty wrote:I understand the frustration with Madigan's continued selection but you only have to go back to the last game to see how stretched our backline can get with injuries.

But more significantly Madigan is a first class goalkicker who has always been able to slot over high pressure penalties coming off the bench for Ireland. While Jackson is currently better in virtually every other department, his goalkicking still has a long way to go.

Your out of date Jacksons kicking has been outstanding in the last couple of months.

Jackson cover 10 better
Jackson can cover 12 as well as Madigan.
Zebo can cover 15 at least as well as Madigan

There is not justification for selection Madigan over Jackson

Madigan sells more replica jerseys and looks better on bill boards.
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