Guinness Series week 2 review

19/11/2012

Frank Quinn writes: The RWC draw is not sorted for Ireland, we retain 7/8th place – provided we beat Argentina and then go into the second tier of the draw (5-8), in early December in London. This is now a must win game.

We play the full blown test match against the Pumas next Saturday in the Aviva to revive flagging fans and judge our “New Era Team” in what promises to be a blood and thunder Tier one test match. We have to win this game if not Declan Kidney teams will have lost six test matches on the trot. In the last test match against South Africa we did not score a try and we did not score at all after thirty minutes (a barren 50 mins.).

 

As long as we win, we don’t have to worry about the Argentinean or other countries threats to our ranking following Scotland’s defeat in Murrayfield by the Springboks. The Scots can look forward to a difficult draw from their third tier position (9-12) in the England based RWC 2015. Wales, now 8th, also come into the reckoning and they have two very difficult games to play. By beating Wales – Samoa come into the picture with the chance of a top eight place – so results have turned what looked like a static IRB RWC ranking list into a free for all

Australia put one over on England, who were in the betting at 2/5 and Australia were under the cosh to produce and safeguard their top four in the RWC draw were freely available at 5/2 in a two horse race – I did not resist the odds. For Robbie Deans, the Wallaby coach it was a handsome result, beating the “Poms” and retaining his job. France has taken the number four slot by a slender margin in the rankings – having jumped England. Wales has lost two vital games and dropped down to eight place and play New Zealand and Australia before the RWC draw.

The quote of the weekend was:

“In their absurd new plumb coloured kit, England looked no more than a bunch of damsons in distress for long periods of the match against depleted opposition”

Richard Williams in the Sunday Independent, reporting on the Australian test match.

There were no surprises in week two as New Zealand, South Africa and Australia won and retained the top three positions in the IRB rankings.

So now the talk of the week is on Declan Kidney’s selection for the Puma game on Saturday at 2 pm. Only three players survived to play against Fiji - from the South African game, to be tested again or to give leadership?

“New Era Team”

The new players did their thing against Fiji, scored tries, made good, made mistakes, held the opposition to a zero score, did not receive caps, will not be in the record books and generally it was a pass the parcel job.

As a direct result of the Fiji game, Andrew Trimble on the wing is under threat from inform Craig Gilroy, Tommy Bowe should hold his place and based on D’Arcy’s tackle count against SA he stays at twelve, Darren Cave made a big play for the BOD shirt, to take it from Earls.

That could leave Keith Earls out in the cold or warming up the fifteen jersey at the expense of Zebo/Hurley. Fergus McFadden has to included in the replacements as does Paddy Jackson, which will mean Ronan O’Gara dropped from the squad, provided Sexton is fit

A fit Reddan (Paul Marshall as standby) should make the replacements after a Murray selection at scrum half.

Healy, Strauss and Ross for the front row start and Cronin, Bent and Kilcoyne in the replacements.

Mike McCarthy, Ryan, Tuohy for the second row – Donnchadh Ryan for a fitness test

Jamie Heaslip retains the captaincy and is joined by two of - the O’Mahony/Henry/Henderson trio.

All in all – we won just one game from the last six (lost last 5 test matches), it will be two and a half months to the start of the six nations, and from the 45 players on call at the training sessions at Carton House we need 30 for the February six nations games.

Let’s hope “The New Era” players appreciate this state of affairs and give their all against Argentina - for themselves first and as a result for Ireland and for the fans at the Aviva.

It has not been a very inspiring Guinness Series from an Irish perspective, you feel that the middle game against Fiji went down like a lead balloon and dragged down the series. A point of view to he taken on board by the IRFU for next season’s series – the momentum needs to be fed by quality games. They will need to negotiate with the IRB fixtures panel and the Tier One teams to ensure quality opposition in 2013.

I don’t think we should go the Wales and England route by paying the southern hemisphere countries to hang around and play the extra match on December 1st to generate cash (also count for RWC points). We need our players in their clubs, we are good at what we do and we have our own RaboDirectPro12 games and we have the Heineken Cup in mid December to give us the Christmas Spirit. We have Clubs in strong positions in both Tournaments and it is indeed something to savour and to look forward to.

 

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