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    #91
    It was a bit peculiar. The pitch in Athlone where Connacht used to play was Dubarry Park (where Ireland U20s also used to play) Dubarry were a shoe making factory in Balinasloe, the other half of the Buccaneers club.

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      #92
      The stocktake squad had a team bonding Carol singalong on Grafton and O'Connell Sts yesterday for Focus Irl
      Nulla semper amicus, servivit mihi, in iniuriam mihi neminem quem non persolvi

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        #93
        Sounds good to me. How bad if they forge a link with life less corporate
        Gwan Joe!!

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          #94
          Agree with a lot of what has been said above. Having the likes of Kelleher, Doris and Hanrahan/Burns in the match-day squad, would give some much needed freshness to the squad.

          I can understand the Jack Carty decision. In my opinion, Carty is making too many basic errors at the moment. If he sorts them out, he should come back into the reckoning. Billy Burns is very underrated, in my opinion. While he might not be able to produce the high moments that Carty and Hanrahan can, he has a baseline performance of 7/10 and he rarely dips below it. In my opinion, the pecking order of fly-halves should be: 1. Sexton, 2. Carbery, 3. Burns, 4. Hanrahan, 5. Carty, 6. Byrne.

          The biggest call that Andy Farrell will have to make is John Cooney vs Conor Murray. We all know how good Murray can be, but to be honest, there has been a chasm in the level of performance of Cooney vs Murray, over the past 12 months. Even Murray's biggest strength, his box-kicking, has been inferior to Cooney's. Round 4 of the champions cup was good example of this. In Harlequins vs Ulster, at least 90% of Cooney's box-kicks were contestable. In the Munster game the following day, I can only recall one of Munster's box-kicks giving the chasers a chance to compete. Admittedly, Munster's game plan may just have been to kick deep and Saracens were running all sort of blocking lines, but some of the kicks just seemed to be half-where to nowhere. They were neither short enough for Munster players to compete or long enough for Munster to gain any sort of territorial advantage. Murray is too good a player to leave out of the squad, but at the moment, I think Cooney should be the starter, with Jamison Gibson-Parkand Murray battling for the 21 jersey.

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            #95
            Originally posted by Mumhain View Post
            In my opinion, the pecking order of fly-halves should be: 1. Sexton, 2. Carbery, 3. Burns, 4. Hanrahan, 5. Carty, 6. Byrne.
            I woudln't have said this last season, but based on current/most recent form I'd move JJ up that pecking order and certainly place him ahead of Burns. Carty's provincial form was recognised with significant involvement in the national side last season and there's no reason the same can't happen for JJ, particularly at a time when Jack has unfortunately entered something of a dip. On top of that, Freddie takes virtually no place kicks, and until he can show he's capable of doing that regularly at provincial level he doesn't belong in a national squad ahead of a guy who's been kicking well for his provincial side throughout the season as well as showing some consistently good playmaking ability.

            I'd also move Byrne up at least one place, if not two or three - while he may not have quite the same attacking vision that JJ has been displaying recently, he's still very assured and a very reliable place kicker. In fact, if Carbery were unable to return on schedule and continues to miss out through injury up to the 6N, I'd have JJ and Byrne fighting it out for the bench spot. TBH I'd even throw Ben Healy into the training squad. Nurture the talent when it emerges.
            Tis but a scratch.

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              #96
              If Burns should be up the pecking order for steady, consistent performances, Byrne should too. He’s very solid.

              Carty will be back and I wouldn’t be surprised to see his form improve from here on. His try against us, throwing that dummy and going himself, was the act of a strong, stubborn character.

              Not all that much between JJ, Byrne, Burns and Carty, and there are a few more emerging of similar quality.

              Joey has a higher ceiling than all of them IMHO but he has a bit of work to do, if he can stay fit.

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                #97
                Originally posted by mr chips View Post

                I woudln't have said this last season, but based on current/most recent form I'd move JJ up that pecking order and certainly place him ahead of Burns. Carty's provincial form was recognised with significant involvement in the national side last season and there's no reason the same can't happen for JJ, particularly at a time when Jack has unfortunately entered something of a dip. On top of that, Freddie takes virtually no place kicks, and until he can show he's capable of doing that regularly at provincial level he doesn't belong in a national squad ahead of a guy who's been kicking well for his provincial side throughout the season as well as showing some consistently good playmaking ability.

                I'd also move Byrne up at least one place, if not two or three - while he may not have quite the same attacking vision that JJ has been displaying recently, he's still very assured and a very reliable place kicker. In fact, if Carbery were unable to return on schedule and continues to miss out through injury up to the 6N, I'd have JJ and Byrne fighting it out for the bench spot. TBH I'd even throw Ben Healy into the training squad. Nurture the talent when it emerges.
                I dont disagree with any of that, however, unless JJ can slot match winning drop goals and demand the ball to lash over a LBP gaining penalty he is not going to force his way into the reckoning.


                Test rugby is about those key moments of mental clarity and nerve than running the ball (IMHO). Not saying he cannot do that, he just needs to do it more often and consistently to be included in Abbotstown going forward
                I am the million man.

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                  #98
                  Originally posted by mr chips View Post

                  I woudln't have said this last season, but based on current/most recent form I'd move JJ up that pecking order and certainly place him ahead of Burns. Carty's provincial form was recognised with significant involvement in the national side last season and there's no reason the same can't happen for JJ, particularly at a time when Jack has unfortunately entered something of a dip. On top of that, Freddie takes virtually no place kicks, and until he can show he's capable of doing that regularly at provincial level he doesn't belong in a national squad ahead of a guy who's been kicking well for his provincial side throughout the season as well as showing some consistently good playmaking ability.

                  I'd also move Byrne up at least one place, if not two or three - while he may not have quite the same attacking vision that JJ has been displaying recently, he's still very assured and a very reliable place kicker. In fact, if Carbery were unable to return on schedule and continues to miss out through injury up to the 6N, I'd have JJ and Byrne fighting it out for the bench spot. TBH I'd even throw Ben Healy into the training squad. Nurture the talent when it emerges.
                  The kicking point is really valid one and one that I hadn't considered. If Cooney is the starting 9 then it becomes less of an issue, but yes, you wouldn't want him coming off to bench to kick for the first time in the season in an international match.

                  I'm less convinced about Ross Byrne. He didn't look like he was ready for international rugby 4 months ago(against England) and I'm not sure a whole lot has changed since then. Its one thing performing behind a dominant Leinster forward pack against poor quality teams, it's another thing performing against top class international packs, with big ball-runners running down your channel.

                  It could be that Burns isn't ready either, but I think we have slightly more evidence to suggest he could adapt to international rugby. He consistently starts for his province and performs well. This is despite playing with a relatively small Ulster pack - who are often on the back-foot.

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                    #99
                    Originally posted by Mumhain View Post

                    The kicking point is really valid one and one that I hadn't considered. If Cooney is the starting 9 then it becomes less of an issue, but yes, you wouldn't want him coming off to bench to kick for the first time in the season in an international match.

                    I'm less convinced about Ross Byrne. He didn't look like he was ready for international rugby 4 months ago(against England) and I'm not sure a whole lot has changed since then. Its one thing performing behind a dominant Leinster forward pack against poor quality teams, it's another thing performing against top class international packs, with big ball-runners running down your channel.

                    It could be that Burns isn't ready either, but I think we have slightly more evidence to suggest he could adapt to international rugby. He consistently starts for his province and performs well. This is despite playing with a relatively small Ulster pack - who are often on the back-foot.
                    Nobody wearing a green jersey looked like they were ready for international rugby that day. Honestly I think the perception around Byrne has been seriously influenced by the fact that we've been sold Carbery as the heir apparent for such a long time now that it is ingrained in our minds that he is for sure the backup to Sexton b/c he is far and away a better player despite the fact that Byrne has played well in many big games and not all of them have been against pushover teams. Cullen and Lancaster preferred him as the backup 10, the reason being Carbery could cover 15 so they played him there more often. Seemed to make sense but I have to wonder if that is actually the case or did they think that Byrne was a better fit for what they wanted to do ? Did they think/know Carbery was injury prone based on how they saw him train ? We don't know and possibly never will.

                    As for the rest of them, right now Carty is out of form, but played well last weekend when he came on, Hanrahan has done well all season and fully deserves a legitimate chance at making the 6N squad. Burns is playing well; the kicking issue reminds me of Wales with Halfpenny and Biggar. Biggar is a great kicker, Halfpenny was world class off the tee,so he took the kicks. Maybe it isn't that Burns can't get it done off the tee, its just that Cooney is just a notch above. At any rate, Cooney should be starting so it won't matter who the 10 is behind Sexton. The kicking duties would shift to Cooney is he is on the pitch.

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                      I watched Farrell's interview in the rugberdome (Abbotstown). I was heartened by what he said, he pointed out that sending the players Carol singing on Grafton was about making them 'comfortable with being uncomfortable' and they were having Santa visit after training for the players families. He also pointed out how important it was for the players to give back via charity and their time. All small little nods I felt to previous regimes

                      It's a small thing and you could view it from many angles but the slate is now clean and he's worth his shot at the gig. I wish him and those around him nothing but success
                      I am the million man.

                      Comment


                        Originally posted by Munsterboy View Post
                        If Burns should be up the pecking order for steady, consistent performances, Byrne should too. He’s very solid.

                        Carty will be back and I wouldn’t be surprised to see his form improve from here on. His try against us, throwing that dummy and going himself, was the act of a strong, stubborn character.

                        Not all that much between JJ, Byrne, Burns and Carty, and there are a few more emerging of similar quality.

                        Joey has a higher ceiling than all of them IMHO but he has a bit of work to do, if he can stay fit.
                        Byrne's own brother Harry has looked very good for Leinster as has the highly talented Frawley. At the moment I'd go for the solid but unspectular big brother Byrne as Jonny's international understudy. He can run a game quite well, does the basics but is starting to show bit of self confidence and running ability that was previously missing. I would not care if Sexton misses the 6N. I want to see the younger lads become embedded in the team.
                        Carbery seriously needs a long run of injury-free, good performances to nail the shirt long term. His reputation is better than his actual record.
                        Connacht's Fitzgerald could be a dark horse if he keeps it up for a couple of seasons.

                        Erse end of nowhere

                        Comment


                          Originally posted by Finnegan79 View Post

                          Nobody wearing a green jersey looked like they were ready for international rugby that day. Honestly I think the perception around Byrne has been seriously influenced by the fact that we've been sold Carbery as the heir apparent for such a long time now that it is ingrained in our minds that he is for sure the backup to Sexton b/c he is far and away a better player despite the fact that Byrne has played well in many big games and not all of them have been against pushover teams. Cullen and Lancaster preferred him as the backup 10, the reason being Carbery could cover 15 so they played him there more often. Seemed to make sense but I have to wonder if that is actually the case or did they think that Byrne was a better fit for what they wanted to do ? Did they think/know Carbery was injury prone based on how they saw him train ? We don't know and possibly never will.

                          As for the rest of them, right now Carty is out of form, but played well last weekend when he came on, Hanrahan has done well all season and fully deserves a legitimate chance at making the 6N squad. Burns is playing well; the kicking issue reminds me of Wales with Halfpenny and Biggar. Biggar is a great kicker, Halfpenny was world class off the tee,so he took the kicks. Maybe it isn't that Burns can't get it done off the tee, its just that Cooney is just a notch above. At any rate, Cooney should be starting so it won't matter who the 10 is behind Sexton. The kicking duties would shift to Cooney is he is on the pitch.
                          Some fair points, but I'm not sure about the whole Byrne was always selected ahead of Carbery at fly-half argument. I know the Leinster-based media like to spin it that way, but the reality is that Byrne was never selected ahead of Carbery in a big game at 10. The only reason Byrne was ever picked at 10 ahead of/with Carbery at 15, was because (A) Carbery was returning from international rugby fixtures and Leinster needed to adhere to the IRFU player welfare policies and (B) Leinster knew that Carbery was too good not to be starting somewhere and didn't want to lose him. They were fully intent on converting him to 15 so that they could get himself and Johnny into the first team.

                          I think Cullen and Lancaster always rated Carbery as the superior outhalf. Let's not forget Ross Byrne, Cathal Marsh and Joey Carbery were all fit and available for selection at the start of the 2016 season. Joey Carbery was selected to start vs Castres in the champions cup first round and he kept getting selected ahead of Byrne until Johnny Sexton regained full fitness.

                          I hope Byrne will go on to do good things for Ireland, but at the moment, I think there are better alternatives who have proven themselves more. There were a number of players who under-performed in the England warm-up game debacle, but that doesn't excuse Byrne's individual performance. He was poor in a number of areas. The first one being in defense - where he was consistently giving up easy metres and defending passively. Because of this, the entire back-line had to come in an extra few meters and it meant Ireland were defending with less width. The second being the decision making in attack. He executes all the fundamentals( especially kicking and passing) well, but to play an expansive game you need a fly-half who can really read the game well. Sometimes, especially in that England game and for Leinster this season, it looks like he has made his decision to kick without taking into account the changing defense he's facing.

                          Again, I'm sure he can rectify these areas, but until we see him get a consistent run of game time, it will be very difficult for him to proof himself.

                          Last edited by Mumhain; 25th-December-2019, 23:39.

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                            Ross Byrne does the basics very well but I think we need players who can do more than the basics. Otherwise it's just like having another Kearney. I'm not knocking Rob Kearney but I'd prefer all the backs to have some bit of a running threat with the exception of the 9 but if the 9 has a running threat then it's a bonus.


                            leinster can get by without RB being a threat but international rugby is a step up. I think Carbery is firmly in the driving seat. Ther3s a lot of talented 10s coming through. In the next season or two I think Harry Byrne and Ben Healy could become important players if they play to their potential. That's just 2 of many.


                            It's also worth noting that RB plays behind a pack that dominates most games. He has plenty of time and space to pull the strings.

                            Comment


                              Originally posted by Cowboy View Post
                              I watched Farrell's interview in the rugberdome (Abbotstown). I was heartened by what he said, he pointed out that sending the players Carol singing on Grafton was about making them 'comfortable with being uncomfortable' and they were having Santa visit after training for the players families. He also pointed out how important it was for the players to give back via charity and their time. All small little nods I felt to previous regimes

                              It's a small thing and you could view it from many angles but the slate is now clean and he's worth his shot at the gig. I wish him and those around him nothing but success

                              He gave a good interview. Looks like he has identified where Schmidt went wrong and will put his own stamp on the culture and style of play.

                              Comment


                                Originally posted by dropkick View Post


                                He gave a good interview. Looks like he has identified where Schmidt went wrong and will put his own stamp on the culture and style of play.
                                I really hope so- we could do without a tribute act.

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