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Ireland Squad Discussion

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Post by Notch Sat 27 Feb 2016, 9:56 pm

First topic message reminder :

Continuing on from Ireland Squad Announcement Thread.
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Post by SecretFly Mon 07 Mar 2016, 2:13 pm

Rory_Gallagher wrote:

I find it strange that you began defending Hook, who is suing someone for exercising their freedom of speech in an interview, and then you turn to the moderators on here who make it very clear that there are things they will not allow on these forums. Insults and constant WUMs for example. Not to mention the fact that the biggest punishment you will receive on here is a permanent ban. It really isn't comparable.

I really don't want to go down this avenue, Rory, because you're a damn good poster and my instincts say you're a damn nice man too.... ( I could be wrong, but forgive me the misread if I am Wink)

But like always here...I do defend my position and again I see no disparity, obtuseness or double meaning in what I've argued.

I like to argue the points - coldly if you will, and I stand by anything I say because arguing that Hitler had a right to an opinion...on many things..... does not in any way Mean that one argues he had the right to follow through and act on his opinions.  Opinions are just what they are and the most special thing about them is that when someone has the right to speak...others then have the absolute right to say they disagree, to argue forcefully against that opinion and to counter-act it.

So, Hook - it is rich of him to threaten legal action for what was a very very slim and harmless jibe at him from Sexton.  True.  You'll find Nothing above that could allow you to say I think he was right to threaten legal action.

That wasn't my point when joining the debate.  I joined the debate, as is my right, when I just sensed (rightly or wrongly) yet another bandwagoner directed at a seasonal 'Hate' figure.  It just struck me as a little lazy...there was a 'Here we go again' aspect to it and I decided to throw a counter-culture spanner in the works and be the odd one out in Ireland by saying Hook's bark is very much worse than his bite, he honestly doesn't say a whole lot that is different to how many people think on here...  I stand by that, by the way.  

People say he talks through his ass - I want examples where his opinions have been so off the wall as to be ludicrous.  I think it's simply more that the caricature that's developed around his 'persona' allows people to believe their peers when they say he only talks garbage.  No - his style is garbage perhaps - his words aren't a million miles away from what many people in Irish rugby circles think.

So I was going against the grain because the grain can appear to me often far too lazy a vehicle for people to latch onto.

Now, I could easily and without any threat of being two-faced support Sexton and his right to give Hook the broadside.  He had.  I love outspoken people who let the hair down and say what they think.  Would I think all of them are nice people that I'd like to spend a few hours with as pleasant company?  No.  But in media terms I like people with real bite in terms of saying what they think...O'Gara was always one of them - Gatland is actually one of them - we're finding the new England coach is one of them.  
Sexton is one - loved his line about being delighted by his first Welsh cap during the Lions tour.  It took a defiant self confidence to allow himself to say that at a very tense time.  Loved it.  But delighting in Sexton's sly and beautifully understated dogfighter personality does not require me to take up a mallet against the auld sore bear that is Hook.  They're both good for and have been good for rugby.  Rugby would have been a much more dour place without Hook over the years.  Let nobody say he hasn't added 'popularity' to a sport that needed it.

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Post by eirebilly Mon 07 Mar 2016, 2:17 pm

You know Fly, I would love to agree or disagree with you but my attention span is too short to read your posts Wink
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Post by SecretFly Mon 07 Mar 2016, 2:22 pm

You see, billy............ Rodders evades the Mods 'cause they have him on ignore. I evade them 'cause they just don't bother rifling through me garbage...................

Nobody else agree with me there and say it's garbage or the auld solicitor's letter is coming at ye!!!!!

I'm mighty sensitive lately. mad

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Post by eirebilly Mon 07 Mar 2016, 2:24 pm

Aahh, you know I like ye Fly Hug
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Post by SecretFly Mon 07 Mar 2016, 2:32 pm

eirebilly wrote:Aahh, you know I like ye Fly Hug

Ahh billy... you're a fine example of confusion of crossed purposes that often occurs on this site to be honest.

I have great old memories of you trying to defend your corner against the boys who tended to always misconbobulate your opinions and turn them into hidden diatribes. Wink

Billy: "I think Dave Kearney is not giving enough in his position"
Challenger: "You basterde, Billy. Stop always criticising Schmidt as coach simply because you're still mad he knocked your Munster pigeon out of his nest and because he's keeping that fool Earls off the team for the good of the entire Nation!!!!! Stop trying to propagandise Joe out of his job and stop talking about f**king Zebo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Ahh the sweet memories Hug

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Post by eirebilly Mon 07 Mar 2016, 2:35 pm

laughing

Don't forget the old, Payne would make a better 15 than 13 one there Fly.

Billy, you are laughable, lacking zero rugby knowledge and hate him because he is from NZ. You're also a Schmidt hater Very Happy

Got to love this site at times thumbsup
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Post by Notch Mon 07 Mar 2016, 2:50 pm

Well, what Sexton said about Hook is far milder than what people say to each other here on the regular and is allowed to stand never mind what is not allowed to stand. Really the role of moderators on here is to very rarely ban serial offenders who have become so obnoxious they put people off using the forums altogether, or to weed out sectarian/racial/misogynistic abuse of other posters which is relatively rare.

The actual point of moderation isn't to say some things are unacceptable, its to do the minimum amount needed to maintain a forum as a viable community. If you get banned it's not because you are acting in a  way which is 'wrong'. It's because you annoy enough people that we're worried the site will lose members on account of you being a colossal jackass.

The analogue to a moderator isn't so much that of the newspaper censor, more like the TV editor who tells a journalist not to swear so as to avoid alienating the grannies at home. Because while this is a forum for debate, it's also a platform for content and the content producers are YOU. Everything you post is also content that other users engage with and if the quality of that content drops drastically enough, people aren't going to want to engage with it. Now we let people say what they want to say, but even if you have a point in what you say if a wide cross section of the community finds the way you say it offensive you're going to find yourself in problems.
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Post by Pete330v2 Mon 07 Mar 2016, 2:56 pm

"People say he talks through his ass - I want examples where his opinions have been so off the wall as to be ludicrous"

"Tommy Bowe isn't an international quality winger"

That is all we need to say here ...... Smile

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Post by Notch Mon 07 Mar 2016, 3:10 pm

Pete330v2 wrote:"People say he talks through his ass - I want examples where his opinions have been so off the wall as to be ludicrous"

"Tommy Bowe isn't an international quality winger"

That is all we need to say here  ...... Smile

Remember when he said Leinster should sack Joe Schmidt after two pre-season friendlies?
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Post by SecretFly Mon 07 Mar 2016, 3:16 pm

Notch wrote:Well, what Sexton said about Hook is far milder than what people say to each other here on the regular and is allowed to stand never mind what is not allowed to stand. ....., but even if you have a point in what you say if a wide cross section of the community finds the way you say it offensive you're going to find yourself in problems.

It is what it is Notch.  No blame...just observation.  

Mods do their job, I do my observations.  606v2 has been a nice enough place for the duration.  Moderation hasn't been an issue for me at all - but I've alluded to it on and off through the years whenever it was in the 606 'news'.  

606 original (BBC version) was ironically a much more anarchical place - absolutely wild at times - and also ironically all the more popular and, genuinely for me, all the more fun because of it.  Sane people still knew how to be sane - but the zany off-the-wall characters were bat-schit crazy and an awful lot of fun.

Anyway, 606 is what it is - I'm not campaigning to change it.  My time here will be less and less due to natural progress though life and work priority changes anyway.  I'd simply defend free-speech to the death... and in whatever forum, live or online, I do so...because defending it defends a fragile thing called democracy - and democracy isn't as safe in this modern world as many people might casually think it is.
There should be no 'allowable' opinions only opinions that people should have the right to disagree with. So I support Sexton AND Hook... and ...........well no, not Rodders, he always goes too far.
May 606 choose to be what it is with my blessing.

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Post by SecretFly Mon 07 Mar 2016, 3:20 pm

Notch wrote:
Pete330v2 wrote:"People say he talks through his ass - I want examples where his opinions have been so off the wall as to be ludicrous"

"Tommy Bowe isn't an international quality winger"

That is all we need to say here  ...... Smile

Remember when he said Leinster should sack Joe Schmidt after two pre-season friendlies?

On the Tommy one, he obviously finally started listening to me.......... Wink

...on the Joe Schmidt and Leinster job...............even Joe himself felt he might prefer the sack after two pre-season freindlies! He doubted as much as Hook did...as much as the fans did. Was Hook alone in his opinions????? Nope, and Joe himself would admit to that - he's spoken about it often enough - that cold wind of doubt in the faces of Leinster admin and fans....................................................................

Case proven. Hook ain't all that far out there as people like to joke about. They've usually said what he's just said the night before in their local pub.

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Post by profitius Mon 07 Mar 2016, 3:27 pm

Notch wrote:
Pete330v2 wrote:"People say he talks through his ass - I want examples where his opinions have been so off the wall as to be ludicrous"

"Tommy Bowe isn't an international quality winger"

That is all we need to say here  ...... Smile

Remember when he said Leinster should sack Joe Schmidt after two pre-season friendlies?


That was classic Hook! Very Happy
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Post by Rory_Gallagher Mon 07 Mar 2016, 4:55 pm

I see that Jack O'Donoghue has been called into the Ireland squad at the expense of TOD who has missed out due to a shoulder injury. A real shame for him but great news for young JOD. Personally I think he is a tad small for international rugby at this stage but he has a lot of time to grow. He is very talented with great skill and pace.

Where do people see his future? I certainly don't think he is an openside flanker and I thought he played well at 8 the other day but he needs a bit more bulk so that he can make the hard yards. He will have an extremely tough time replacing Stander for both Munster and Ireland, who is only 3 years older. He is welcome to come to Ulster and we shall gladly give him the 8 shirt. Whistle

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Post by Pot Hale Tue 08 Mar 2016, 12:57 am

Rory_Gallagher wrote:I see that Jack O'Donoghue has been called into the Ireland squad at the expense of TOD who has missed out due to a shoulder injury. A real shame for him but great news for young JOD. Personally I think he is a tad small for international rugby at this stage but he has a lot of time to grow. He is very talented with great skill and pace.

Where do people see his future? I certainly don't think he is an openside flanker and I thought he played well at 8 the other day but he needs a bit more bulk so that he can make the hard yards. He will have an extremely tough time replacing Stander for both Munster and Ireland, who is only 3 years older. He is welcome to come to Ulster and we shall gladly give him the 8 shirt. Whistle

Im sure he'll take it.
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Post by The Great Aukster Wed 09 Mar 2016, 1:33 pm

His chance in the squad or the Ulster 8 shirt?

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Post by geoff999rugby Sun 20 Mar 2016, 9:57 am

Fortunate to have a discussion after the match with a senior member of the Irish set up and he provided some interesting info.
Maybe more than he should due to the enjoyable wine we were drinking  Very Happy

Highlights were:

Kearney, Bowe, Healy and SOB all consider near the end of their international careers due to age and/or injuries
Zebo is seen as the replacement for Kearney - Payne not being considered
If you see anyone other than Payne, Henshaw, McCloskey or Marshall at 12 and 13, in the next 12 months, I will be very surprised.
Ringrose and Olding not in consideration, at least in that timeframe
Trimble and Toner are just place holders until something better comes along, neither have a long term future
Gilroy, if he improves his defence will be right there - I took that to mean Earls, Gilroy and Fitzgerald could be the first choice wings going forward
Dillane and Henderson are seen as the long term second row - the big worry is, Toner aside, no one else is considered close at this time
Very worried about TH after Ross
Trying to find a way to fit POM, Stander and Heaslip in the same backrow - no answer yet.
TOD considered the best of the 7's available followed by de Flier, Henry no longer in the frame
There are no leaders in the camp - Best, Heaslip, Sexton, Kearney all not up to it.
POM is the one they are hanging their hopes on - needs to channel his aggression positively before he will get the job.

As I say some things there he probably should not have said but good for us to hear some gossip from the inside

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Post by Guest Sun 20 Mar 2016, 10:57 am

geoff999rugby wrote:Fortunate to have a discussion after the match with a senior member of the Irish set up and he provided some interesting info.
Maybe more than he should due to the enjoyable wine we were drinking  Very Happy

Highlights were:

Kearney, Bowe, Healy and SOB all consider near the end of their international careers due to age and/or injuries
Zebo is seen as the replacement for Kearney - Payne not being considered
If you see anyone other than Payne, Henshaw, McCloskey or Marshall at 12 and 13, in the next 12 months, I will be very surprised.
Ringrose and Olding not in consideration, at least in that timeframe
Trimble and Toner are just place holders until something better comes along, neither have a long term future
Gilroy, if he improves his defence will be right there - I took that to mean Earls, Gilroy and Fitzgerald could be the first choice wings going forward
Dillane and Henderson are seen as the long term second row - the big worry is, Toner aside, no one else is considered close at this time
Very worried about TH after Ross
Trying to find a way to fit POM, Stander and Heaslip in the same backrow - no answer yet.
TOD considered the best of the 7's available followed by de Flier, Henry no longer in the frame
There are no leaders in the camp - Best, Heaslip, Sexton, Kearney all not up to it.
POM is the one they are hanging their hopes on - needs to channel his aggression positively before he will get the job.

As I say some things there he probably should not have said but good for us to hear some gossip from the inside

I'm not surprised that Kearney, Bowe, Healy and SOB are all considered near the end of their careers. I made the point that I don't believe Healy and SOB will be playing in the next world cup, last week, and I doubt Bowe will line out in green again.

Disappointing if Payne isn't at least tried at fullback, but I'm not surprised at all. Zebo is better than Kearney, right now, although Payne would be better than Zebo.

It's a bit too early for Ringrose, I think, and Olding would need to prove himself with Ulster, before being considered for Ireland. I think the best centre pairing in the Provinces, at the moment, is Marshall and McCloskey, and I would like to see them both given a chance with Ireland.

I'm not too worried about second row. We could have Henderson and Dillane as first choice, and then Ryan and Toner with the likes of O'Connor coming through.

There are no stand out leaders in Ireland, but POM. I don't understand the thinking that he needs to channel his aggression before he gets the job. He was already doing the job, and has proven himself a good Captain.


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Post by geoff999rugby Sun 20 Mar 2016, 11:54 am

I believe there is a concern that he can lose his rag under pressure sometimes.
Having said that I have no doubt he will be the captain sooner rather than later

AOC not seen as ready yet but certainly on the radar.
Interesting, but not terribly complementary, comment about Toner.
Sometimes he can back off under pressure - whereas Henderson and Dillane never back off they are in your face big time and that is one reason they are liked so much.

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Post by marty2086 Sun 20 Mar 2016, 12:38 pm

The comment about Payne not being considered at 15 is baffling for me, Kearneys been so average and while Zebos been a threat at times Payne for me is the best option. Him at 15, along with the the other possible combinations in the centres is a better choice than Kearney at 15 and him in the centres.

Even if its to build depth he should at least be getting a run here or there in training so hes a viable option.

Was there any mention of half backs? Are Jackson and Marmion likely to get a look in any time soon?

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Post by Sin é Sun 20 Mar 2016, 12:41 pm

Good work there Geoff. Not really surprised though with anything said. I don't understand though why Healy just got a 3 year central contract with McGrath still on a Provincial one.

I think POM has himself well under control nowaways and I wouldn't worry about that. I think CJ will also be a good leader - he seems to have settled in very well.

Donnacha Ryan provides plenty of aggression and would not be one to back off. I doubt if he is a placeholder just yet.

I enjoyed the bit of aggro yesterday by the way.

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Post by Rory_Gallagher Sun 20 Mar 2016, 12:54 pm

I hope Donnacha Ryan can remain injury free as he has been superb for Ireland over the campaign. He deserves to hang onto the shirt and he certainly does bring that aggression that has been missing. We also miss POM for the same sort of thing. They bring that Munster edge that I think has been missing. Like Heaslip, I think that POM will play better alongside Stander as well. Geoff, do you think Henderson is definitely out of the equation in terms of featuring in the back row?

Interesting that they are trying to make the back row of POM, Stander and Heaslip work. Personally I would prefer to see POM, VdF and Stander looked at for the future. Geoff, did your source mention his thoughts on JvdF? Is he seen as the future?

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Post by SecretFly Sun 20 Mar 2016, 1:23 pm

Munchkin wrote:
There are no leaders in the camp - Best, Heaslip, Sexton, Kearney all not up to it.

Well - as regards Leadership - it is all too casual. The mood is casual. There is nobody there to get the growl into players when they need it - or a poker up the bum when absolutely required. Why?
Well, Best is a great player. I love his heart and his determination to fight the good fight in every game. But over the time of this Six Nations, I haven't seen the drive to take Captaincy by the proverbial balls and punch on verbally and through influence. I think he's finding it a bit of a burden. He might yet grow into it more but when his side are feeling sorry for themselves or when they're feeling they've done enough, he's the one that should be barking out the orders to keep it going and motivating his players to keep concentration levels up.

The other 'prospective' Leaders seem afraid to 'lead' lest they undermine the new man at the top. But who does most rallying, and chat, and motivational circling of the troops in times of doubt? Sexton and Heaslip. It seems a dead-man's game though as I can't really see emotional intensity levels ever changing through games. There is a lack of emotional attachment from most players that troubles me.
The fights were good yesterday though.... Cool ... a promising development that might cement this newish Ireland outfit together and have them walk through walls for each other. As yet, I don't see that commitment. I'll be happy when it arrives.

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Post by wolfball Sun 20 Mar 2016, 2:04 pm

Yeah The argy barge is positive. Not because in itself it's good (love ye scotland). Rather as a few of ye said it shows committment to each other on the pitch. Best as captain has been disappointing. He has been meek with refs and you don't want to be parisse and shouting all the time but a bit of assertiveness would be nice. Would love to see Henderson and McGrath develop as leaders but POM may become essential. Ie a player better purely as a player may need to be left on the bench as we so need POMs leadership on the pitch. POM is a good player who may be a world class captain. But I struggle to see him as both a world class player and captain.

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Post by Guest Sun 20 Mar 2016, 4:08 pm

SecretFly wrote:
Munchkin wrote:
There are no leaders in the camp - Best, Heaslip, Sexton, Kearney all not up to it.

Well - as regards Leadership - it is all too casual.  The mood is casual.  There is nobody there to get the growl into players when they need it - or a poker up the bum when absolutely required.  Why?  
Well, Best is a great player.  I love his heart and his determination to fight the good fight in every game.  But over the time of this Six Nations, I haven't seen the drive to take Captaincy by the proverbial balls and punch on verbally and through influence.  I think he's finding it a bit of a burden.  He might yet grow into it more but when his side are feeling sorry for themselves or when they're feeling they've done enough, he's the one that should be barking out the orders to keep it going and motivating his players to keep concentration levels up.

The other 'prospective' Leaders seem afraid to 'lead' lest they undermine the new man at the top.  But who does most rallying, and chat, and motivational circling of the troops in times of doubt?  Sexton and Heaslip.  It seems a dead-man's game though as I can't really see emotional intensity levels ever changing through games.  There is a lack of emotional attachment from most players that troubles me.  
The fights were good yesterday though.... Cool ... a promising development that might cement this newish Ireland outfit together and have them walk through walls for each other.  As yet, I don't see that commitment.  I'll be happy when it arrives.

I agree with all that, Fly. Best can lead, and he can be very passionate in his leading, but he's not a natural leader, and would be one I think is better suited to just concentrating on his game, although offering a leading role on the field. Just not as Captain. I don't think either of Sexton or Heaslip are suited to the role either, but do think Heaslip offers more as Captain. POM stands out for me as having most of the attributes necessary for the role. Not least his presence, and bloody minded determination he brings to the game.

I said on the Ireland v Scotland thread that I enjoyed the handbags. It was good to see from both sides, and Ireland can only benefit from developing a bit of spite. It shows heart, as you say, which can seem lacking at times. In fact yesterdays game needed it, and the intensity did seem to lift a level once they got in each others faces. A problem for Scotland is that they can be too nice, and although Ireland can be mean, they are sometimes guilty of lacking spirit. A leader in the mould of POM can help bring out that spirit in a side, and hopefully develop more of an aggressive edge. An edge that we need when things aren't going our way in games, in particular.

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Post by SecretFly Sun 20 Mar 2016, 4:36 pm

I miss the sight of old when in a hard game, that was going one way then the next, you'd sense that the boys in the Engine room at Ireland had had enough....you see them have maybe a little chat together, not in a circle, but whilst walking towards a line out or a scrum.... and just looking at the face of all (whether it be O'Connell or Heaslip or Best or any of the boys) you knew a decision was made to stop messing around and that they were now intent on aggressively pushing on with spite and legal violence Wink...to get the job done.  You could just sense the mood swing and the fire in the solid walks to the line outs.

I'm not getting that with this Ireland.  I never sense that the team have made a combined mental mark in the sand and are about to impose themselves both physically and emotionally.  I want to see those key points return when the team becomes one mind and go for the jugular in unison.

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Post by geoff999rugby Sun 20 Mar 2016, 6:06 pm

Didn't discuss half backs and Sin you are right re Ryan he will be key for a few years yet

Central contracts are a mess and seem to be more about keeping players in Ireland rather than giving them to the key players at least that is my take.
I got the impression Healy has not been that impressive in training.
Also just because there are concerns about certain players like Healy and SOB doesn't mean they wont be selected it is more of a case of us having to look forward to a time when they wont be there and that for the players I mentioned that could be sooner rather than later, at least in some cases.

As I said they have not found a solution of player CJ, POM and Heaslip in the same back row and I find it hard to see how it would work.
If it doesn't it will be interesting to see which one is dropped.
For Ulster fans I think we can forget about Henderson player in the backrow, Ireland want him to player Lock, CJ coming through makes that even more apparent - Ireland don't need Henderson in the backrow.
Both TOD and de Flier have impressed but TOD has his nose in front I believe - they would appear to be our 7's for the foreseeable future.

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Post by marty2086 Mon 21 Mar 2016, 10:09 am

geoff999rugby wrote:
I got the impression Healy has not been that impressive in training.
Also just because there are concerns about certain players like Healy and SOB doesn't mean they wont be selected it is more of a case of us having to look forward to a time when they wont be there and that for the players I mentioned that could be sooner rather than later, at least in some cases.

I noticed when Healy came on, he looked to have a smaller frame than he used to have though he was quite muscular in the past now looks like hes shed some of that. Maybe his injury had an affect there

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Post by SecretFly Mon 21 Mar 2016, 11:16 am

I'd think that you mustn't eat nearly as much if out with injury as you'd obviously need to do when in full training and playing each weekend. So the muscle definition and bulk size would obviously go down as a good deal of it is always 'pump' sustained anyway... probably also influenced more or less by the kind of injury and the amount of work it allows you to do whilst out.
Isn't that what many players say...that one of the parts they hate most is the constant eating!!! Wink I remember Bowe saying that anyway.

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Post by rodders Mon 21 Mar 2016, 11:40 am

geoff999rugby wrote:Fortunate to have a discussion after the match with a senior member of the Irish set up and he provided some interesting info.
Maybe more than he should due to the enjoyable wine we were drinking  Very Happy

Highlights were:

Kearney, Bowe, Healy and SOB all consider near the end of their international careers due to age and/or injuries
Zebo is seen as the replacement for Kearney - Payne not being considered
If you see anyone other than Payne, Henshaw, McCloskey or Marshall at 12 and 13, in the next 12 months, I will be very surprised.
Ringrose and Olding not in consideration, at least in that timeframe
Trimble and Toner are just place holders until something better comes along, neither have a long term future
Gilroy, if he improves his defence will be right there - I took that to mean Earls, Gilroy and Fitzgerald could be the first choice wings going forward
Dillane and Henderson are seen as the long term second row - the big worry is, Toner aside, no one else is considered close at this time
Very worried about TH after Ross
Trying to find a way to fit POM, Stander and Heaslip in the same backrow - no answer yet.
TOD considered the best of the 7's available followed by de Flier, Henry no longer in the frame
There are no leaders in the camp - Best, Heaslip, Sexton, Kearney all not up to it.
POM is the one they are hanging their hopes on - needs to channel his aggression positively before he will get the job.

As I say some things there he probably should not have said but good for us to hear some gossip from the inside

Amazed at some of that. Only in Ireland....






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Post by SecretFly Mon 21 Mar 2016, 11:45 am

Think Happy thoughts. The Stats say we virtually won the Slam rodders Wink

I think we have a good case now to go before the 6N committee and claim that we woz robbed!
Shocked Whistle

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Post by rodders Mon 21 Mar 2016, 11:54 am

SecretFly wrote:Think Happy thoughts.  The Stats say we virtually won the Slam rodders Wink  

I think we have a good case now to go before the 6N committee and claim that we woz robbed!
Shocked Whistle

It's been a while since we won a virtual slam so that marks a step forward in my book angel
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Post by theslosty Mon 21 Mar 2016, 12:02 pm

marty2086 wrote:
geoff999rugby wrote:
I got the impression Healy has not been that impressive in training.
Also just because there are concerns about certain players like Healy and SOB doesn't mean they wont be selected it is more of a case of us having to look forward to a time when they wont be there and that for the players I mentioned that could be sooner rather than later, at least in some cases.

I noticed when Healy came on, he looked to have a smaller frame than he used to have though he was quite muscular in the past now looks like hes shed some of that. Maybe his injury had an affect there
You're definitely right, he looks considerably smaller. Healy has always been very muscular but he was still a fairly small for a prop in 2011, people forget how quick he was. He bulked up a lot in the next 2-3 years to become a monster which seemed to improve his scrummaging but to the detriment of his speed on the ground.
However even if he is aiming for that slimmer body type again I cannot see him regaining that pace, he looks physically destroyed from all the injuries and operation.

Following on from that SOB was at his best in 2011 when he was of course a massive unit but also had great pace, maybe it was the hip surgery in 2012 but ever since then his pace has completely gone and always seems to be carrying an extra bit of weight.
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Post by JmD Mon 21 Mar 2016, 12:21 pm

I posted here (maybe on the previous squad discussiom thread) that multiple Ulster players had already said Payne would never play fullback for Ireland, so that one doesn't surprise me, even though it's clearly a terrible decision. Ringrose and Olding do need at least a season of experience before being thrown in.

Henderson and Dillane are two very obvious talents, but as far as I'm aware, right now neither of them call lineouts. They're probably about 2 seasons away from being a viable starting partnership for that fact alone.

The tighthead situation is dire, but it has also been handled very poorly. Marty Moore is off to Wasps (thanks, Nucifora) and rather than the heir apparent Tadgh Furlong getting valuable experience, we had 34 year old Nathan White riding the pine to close out the 6 Nations.

Trying to force a backrow of POM, Stander and Heaslip will only end badly. Wales already tried forcing all their top backrow players onto the field at once and it ended badly. The smart option is to use one as an impact player from the bench.

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Post by theslosty Mon 21 Mar 2016, 12:31 pm

If SOB and POM recover fitness there will be some competition for the back row.

I still don't see anything about Schmidt implying he will leave after the SA tour. It makes me think that maybe he wasn't bothered about forward planning as he didn't intend on hanging around.
I also get the impression that Schmidt has been slightly distracted from his job and perhaps has ever so slightly lost his way since the Argentina loss. Of course given the private issues that Joe faces I don't mean this as any personal slight on him.
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Post by GunsGerms Mon 21 Mar 2016, 12:40 pm

theslosty wrote:If SOB and POM recover fitness there will be some competition for the back row.

I still don't see anything about Schmidt implying he will leave after the SA tour. It makes me think that maybe he wasn't bothered about forward planning as he didn't intend on hanging around.
I also get the impression that Schmidt has been slightly distracted from his job and perhaps has ever so slightly lost his way since the Argentina loss. Of course given the private issues that Joe faces I don't mean this as any personal slight on him.

Since the Argentina loss the media and fan pressure on Schmidt to change tactics has been ridiculous. I think suspect some of this has filtered through to the team as they have been running everything now even when it is really stupid to do so. The whole focus post WC was that we lost that game because Argentina can run with the ball and we couldn't. However, that wasn't the case. The biggest difference was that we lost the breakdown battle and our defence was uncharacteristically poor.

We haven't had a defence coach in a while so I think that the team will improve when Farrell arrives in April.

I don't think Schmidt will leave and I certainly hope he doesn't because he is the best option to take us forward. His kids are in school here. One of his sons has epilepsy and is looked after very well by his school in Dublin. I doubt it would be easy to just take all his kids out of school at this point but you never know.

Also why do people keep banging on that Schmidt doesn't care about forward planning? He has capped just as many players as any coach in world rugby during his tenure.

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Post by SecretFly Mon 21 Mar 2016, 12:43 pm

As JmD alludes to - Most of what Ireland does (even with the Kiwi coach) is still so straight-laced traditional in thought.  I'm reminded of the bumptious Colonel Hathi from The Jungle Book movie.  Let's be having proper traditions, what ho?!  

A game - a modern game - goes for a full 80, often at the very pace it started out with - high paced and aggressive all the way to the end.  Therefore, this old bloody circus of Always putting your 'considered' Best Players on in the beginning is to me a bloody nuisance of an unspoken tradition that too many sides pay silent but obedient homage to much too often.
And players themselves play a part in that game in almost demanding, for honour's sake, that if the boss considers them best, then he should also select them first and put the 'other guy' on the bench.

I think the modern game requires a much more clued in use of 'Best' Players and Bench options.  The best or hardest part of a game doesn't always happen in the first half.  And it's only a poor cliché to keep saying you 'might not win the game in the first half, but if you don't use the best players you have, you may well lose it in that first half'

*Yawn* - yeah, nice lyrics for an old old song.

Using POM, Stander and Heaslip strategically through a game might better serve our desire to keep the foot on the belligerent gas for an entire 80.  There should be no problem for a player to settle for a 2nd half IF he's given meaningful time in it to do serious work.

Oh, and I repeat - the 10 doesn't need to do the kicking for points. Whistle *sneaked that in* - Another 'rugby tradition' that's killing us softly.

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Post by Notch Mon 21 Mar 2016, 12:44 pm

I always thought Best was officer class- a guy who is the perfect lieutenant, a great foil for any Captain, who can provide leadership but isn't comfortable with it all on his shoulders.

Having said that, I don't think there's anyone else as suited as him until POM gets back which is more of a comment on the other contenders for the job.
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Post by theslosty Mon 21 Mar 2016, 12:52 pm

Guns I a very much a supporter of Schmidt but when he keeps on picking Eoin Reddan over Kieran Marmion, Madigan (France-bound) over Jackson, Kearney over Zebo etc you have to admit there are legitimate complaints.

I agree with what you say about the lack of defence coach. I think the loss of POC has hit us especially hard but its also players like Healy, SOB and Kearney who were world class maybe 2-4 years ago but nowadays are anything but. I'm hoping Henderson will come back strongly as he is our only world class forward in the tight five.

I got the impression that Schmidt was looking to leave the Ireland job because of those family pressures you mentioned. Unfortunately if he was going to stay I don't think he would have ever hinted at getting out of his contract early.

Agree that Best is very much a leader by example but can't rally the team in the same way POC could.

Fly, it's all well and good complaining about Sexton's goalkicking (which isn't as bad as you make out) but there is no real alternative other than playing Madigan at 12.
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Post by SecretFly Mon 21 Mar 2016, 12:56 pm

GunsGerms wrote:

Since the Argentina loss the media and fan pressure on Schmidt to change tactics has been ridiculous. I think suspect some of this has filtered through to the team as they have been running everything now even when it is really stupid to do so. The whole focus post WC was that we lost that game because Argentina can run with the ball and we couldn't. However, that wasn't the case. The biggest difference was that we lost the breakdown battle and our defence was uncharacteristically poor.

I take your point, Guns.  But I still firmly believe Ireland arrived at the WC in nowhere near the conditioning level required to have a series of hard hard games against potentially the very best sides in the World, who had come extremely well conditioned.
I remember so much people/commentators in the media, pundits...falling for the lame-duck trick pulled off by the All Blacks.  People felt they had come under-cooked and seemingly unready to do the business.  I listened to all this and I felt it was a bizarre approach to take as you could clearly see what New Zeland were doing in the Pool stages - they were purposefully giving themselves mini hills to climb so that they could work towards being as ready as the sides that were playing in much tougher groups.  It was genius what they were doing...and nobody seemed to see it.  I also read before the WC that all the New Zealand players had purposefully lost a good deal of weight because the word for their campaign was going to be 'Pace'.  And so it proved to be...they just blew other teams out of the water when they really wanted to.  They knew they had the tools to do the job.

We never remotely approached that level of preparedness.  We obviously don't have the skills but as regards being ready to fight against high-speed and accurate sides, we're just not remotely close to being competitive there - neither then nor now.  We were blown out of the water by speed, agility and the stamina to keep that going.  Argentina have needed to learn how to at least meet the challenge of the SH.  We still ignore it.  Even as England and Wales continue to drive their conditioning sciences to the extreme - we still have players that look so laboured at pace.
It simply needs changing.  In my view Speed killed us at the WC.

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Post by theslosty Mon 21 Mar 2016, 1:11 pm

Fly I think a lot of what you say there may be true but it's hard to believe Schmidt who is so concerned with every little detail would not have his team in the best physical condition possible. And in fairness, the France game was an excellent high intensity 80 minute performance. It was probably the most brutal game I've seen since the Lions 2nd Test v SA in 09.
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Post by rodders Mon 21 Mar 2016, 1:21 pm

theslosty wrote:Fly I think a lot of what you say there may be true but it's hard to believe Schmidt who is so concerned with every little detail would not have his team in the best physical condition possible.

They are in the best condition possible, as in possible for players who don't begin proper conditioning and coaching until they are their late teens and twenties.

The problem is most of our main rivals are developing skills and conditioning much earlier than we are, whilst our youngsters are poncing around playing Victorian era schoolboy rugby tournaments.
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Post by SecretFly Mon 21 Mar 2016, 1:45 pm

theslosty wrote:

Fly, it's all well and good complaining about Sexton's goalkicking (which isn't as bad as you make out) but there is no real alternative other than playing Madigan at 12.

This is my very point theslosty.  My very point.  It 'isn't as bad as you make out'.  That seems to be the common opinion as it never creeps into most conversations either here or in the punditry studios.  

I say it's point blank a direct issue.  He all too readily and repeatedly leaves 3, 6, 9 or 12 points behind him in a game.  The long build-ups to the kicks again suggest he's never comfortable and it's always a big battle in his head.  I'm seeing what I'm seeing and looking at the scores tick by in games.  I can't see how it's not seen as an issue - it is - points are points and we need a more methodical kicker.

So onto the potentials then.... you mention Madigan.  There again I (forgive me Wink ) - I say that's lazy thinking.  The 'other guy' that 'kicks' is seen as the only option.  Why?  
Tradition.  Have any of the other regulars been asked to try it?  Is there ever a practice session whereby some of the others are made test out their lasers on a goal or 10?  I doubt if they ever kick a ball between the posts even in a friendly post-training competition.  Nope.  Rugby is much too serious...leave it to the traditional kickers.... the 10 is always the best kicker on your team. It's obvious. It's a rule of thumb, innit?  At least Halfpenny always says so. Wink

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Post by Rory_Gallagher Mon 21 Mar 2016, 1:57 pm

If Sexton wasn't the best kicker in the starting XV it would be someone else taking the kicks. At the moment he is the best goal kicker aside from Madigan, who doesn't deserve a starting place on the team. We don't have anyone else really.

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Post by Guest Mon 21 Mar 2016, 2:00 pm

Joe Schmidt certainly thinks tradition matters. Didn't he use the excuse of accurate kicking as a reason not to include Jackson?, even if in a subtle way. He mustn't have been watching Jackson play for his Province. If he did he would surely have seen that Jackson was kicking very well from the tee. He made the point that Sexton hasn't missed a kick for 2 years, for Ireland (not sure if that's true), but then Sexton robbed him of that excuse in the very next game with an awful kicking display.

I agree that the best kicker should kick from the tee, but I doubt it's a skill many would have, outside of the present 10's. They devote many hours to hone their skills, and I can't see those that don't suddenly proving themselves the better option, during training.

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Post by SecretFly Mon 21 Mar 2016, 2:01 pm

rodders wrote:
theslosty wrote:Fly I think a lot of what you say there may be true but it's hard to believe Schmidt who is so concerned with every little detail would not have his team in the best physical condition possible.

They are in the best condition possible, as in possible for players who don't begin proper conditioning and coaching until they are their late teens and twenties.

The problem is most of our main rivals are developing skills and conditioning much earlier than we are, whilst our youngsters are poncing around playing Victorian era schoolboy rugby tournaments.

Will you listen to what coaches say please, people.  

Gatland, on record as saying the Welsh players coming to him from Club are never remotely close to being conditioned enough for a series of tough Internationals.  According to him, he has had to do the hard work over and over again of getting them ready to last the pace.  
That talk admittedly has died down now as it seems he's content enough that most Welsh players (and Regions) have finally gotten the message and try to maintain the standards even when players are back at their Regions.  
If nobody can see the clear distinction in the energy levels Wales can hadbitually throw at a series of high grade games and parallel it with our more sedate (one furious game per season) approach then we're again in difficult waters.  Because if the fans can't see or acknowledge what's there to be seen then what hope have we that the coaches will be urged to see it.  Nothing to do with kids or schools.... and everything to do with a desire to approach the subject of conditioning as seriously as the Welsh, the English and the SH.  We don't have Duracel batteries for a high paced game and let nobody tell me we do.

PS - Jones too has admonished the conditioning levels of the English!  And said it isn't good enough and needs to improve.  The English - who run hard and fast any chance they get.  Jones claims one of the ingredients of his 'certain' degree of success with Japan was the fitness they arrived in to fight, which at the time I think he claimed was the fittest of any side in the competition.  Not all sides can be 'the fittest' obviously.  So obviously too when a coach decides to make an issue with it, he's claiming directly the benefits that come from being at least one of those sides that are - the fittest.

We're not.  We can't do pace and add it to accuracy.  It's just something we don't have the lungs for.  But should.

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Post by SecretFly Mon 21 Mar 2016, 2:08 pm

Munchkin wrote:Joe Schmidt certainly thinks tradition matters. Didn't he use the excuse of accurate kicking as a reason not to include Jackson?, even if in a subtle way. He mustn't have been watching Jackson play for his Province. If he did he would surely have seen that Jackson was kicking very well from the tee. He made the point that Sexton hasn't missed a kick for 2 years, for Ireland (not sure if that's true), but then Sexton robbed him of that excuse in the very next game with an awful kicking display.

I agree that the best kicker should kick from the tee, but I doubt it's a skill many would have, outside of the present 10's. They devote many hours to hone their skills, and I can't see those that don't suddenly proving themselves the better option, during training.

As my memory seems to recall (though it gets fuzzier by the day in terms of rugby Whistle ) but I seem to recall auld Rod Kearney not being a bad kicker. Sometimes the 'skill' is just there. No, I still don't think coaches or players even consider having a go and seeing what the 'natural' skill levels are like. No harm done if they're all useless but I genuinely doubt it's ever even tired in 'fun'. Rugby is too serious. The 10 is always the best, 'cause that's his job....

Hmmm.... rugby is too serious to be giving up nearly 10 points in serious games. That'll continue to come back to haunt us and give the opposition hope.

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Post by Notch Mon 21 Mar 2016, 2:11 pm

SecretFly wrote:So onto the potentials then.... you mention Madigan.  There again I (forgive me Wink ) - I say that's lazy thinking.  The 'other guy' that 'kicks' is seen as the only option.  Why?  

Tradition.  Have any of the other regulars been asked to try it?  Is there ever a practice session whereby some of the others are made test out their lasers on a goal or 10?  I doubt if they ever kick a ball between the posts even in a friendly post-training competition.  Nope.  Rugby is much too serious...leave it to the traditional kickers.... the 10 is always the best kicker on your team.  It's obvious.  It's a rule of thumb, innit?  At least Halfpenny always says so. Wink

McFadden is a very good kicker, and I'd be very interested to know how much that fact informed his apparently 'baffling' selection on the bench, as well as his obvious versatility. The thing about contingency planning is that hopefully you don't get to see every contingency. Certainly McFadden was used as a back-up kicker by Schmidt at Leinster and Schmist would be well aware he has that string to his bow. How do we know he isn't kicking in practice? Can someone cite evidence for that or is a 'known unknown'? Obviously Madigan is the best place kicker in Ireland right now.

What I'd be interested to know is whether Sextons potential weakness as a kicker makes Madigan and McFadden more likely to be picked? If Sextons kicking does go completely to pot but we still need his all-round game at 10 you have McFadden. If not you have Madigan.
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Post by Guest Mon 21 Mar 2016, 2:20 pm

Yep, Kearney can kick, and I agree that players like him should maybe have been encouraged to practice that particular skill. They would still have to prove themselves the better option though, and under pressure in the tight games. Kickers have to be mentally tough. All our 10's are, but even Sexton can let the pressure get to him. Owen Farrell has a great boot, but he can be got at by the crowd. Madigan is probably the coolest under pressure.

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Post by SecretFly Mon 21 Mar 2016, 2:32 pm

Sexton is needed.  He's a very good player.  He can turn a game around with a few flourishes.  That's why my conclusion is seek out another regular on the team who Might bring a less self-conscious approach to kicking.  Sexton's mind goes AWOL when kicking.  You can see it - it's a constant battle with him in his mind.  He's just not a great kicker and never at this point will be.

Anyway...that's my 10 cents for this season, you'll all be glad to hear. Wink I won't be able to have much dealings with rugby until the next International window comes up.  

But that's my repeating and stubborn shopping list too!

An alternative kicker - with Sexton still IN the team.

Murray told to quicken his game (in all games, not just the special 'few' he selects for special occasions) or get offloaded to the sideline Bench for a stint.

Fitness levels need to be outrageously lifted up now from here on in.  If that needs a totally new Fitness and Conditioning Commandant with new ideas and a no-nonsense resolve then so be it.  I'm sick of hearing how good our current behind the scenes guys are as our players puff and pant whenever the speedometer rises above 50.

If we sort those things out.  We have a really good chance of actually making an impression AND sustaining it.

Get it Done Joe!  I won't be happy if I come back here and Murray is still having the fag at the back of his pack!

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Post by theslosty Mon 21 Mar 2016, 3:12 pm

Fly, you talk about training players who wouldn't usually kick - but that's your exact problem with Sexton - not a "natural" kicker.

As someone who plays a fair bit of soccer Sexton has the best boot in the team and there is no evidence to suggest otherwise. He can spiral the ball very effectively, use the outside of his foot, place hanging up and unders, kick for the corner ROG-style, hit winning drop goals ROG-style...

Rob Kearney does have solid kicking technique but he slices a lot of his clearance kicks, no way is Murray a better kicker than Sexton either.

P.S. I'm not even sure what your problem is with Sexton's goalkicking, he didn't miss one until the Italy game.
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