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Ward says goodbye to real world.

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    Ward says goodbye to real world.

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    <TD background=/images/tile3.jpg>Dempsey now knows he's the best full-back in Europe</TD></TR>
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    THERE was no World Cup, no Grand Slam, no Six Nations Championship and no Triple Crown won in Croke Park on Saturday night but what was achieved by Eddie O'Sullivan's multi-talented squad was exceptional.


    Talk of winning World Cups on the back of this, albeit massive, victory is dangerously premature but, as a statement of intent, this record four-try-to-one, 30-point hammering of the world champions is hugely significant.


    Indeed, in terms of confidence and experience, there are huge similarities between where Ireland are now and where England were at this stage in 2003 in the run-up to the World Cup - and we all know what happened then.


    New Zealand are so far ahead of the posse it's scary and, though there was precious little in it when the sides clashed in 2006, avoiding the All Blacks in the quarter-final is essential if Ireland are to improve on their disappointing World Cup record.


    As things stand, there are still six tests to be played - including a daunting trip to Argentina - before our World Cup campaign kicks off in Bordeaux (against Namibia) in September. Two matches each against the Scots, the Italians and the Pumas.


    But we cannot get too far ahead of ourselves, it's the Scots next up at Murrayfield, which provides Ireland with the opportunity to complete back-to-back Triple Crowns, making it three in four seasons.


    It has taken until the third match in this campaign to get us back to where we were in November and there is now no doubt that it was the absence of Brian O'Driscoll against France that cost this squad the Grand Slam. When the English media accused the Irish of "choking" against the French, one could not help wondering how England would have coped minus Jonny Wilkinson in Australia in '03.


    On Saturday, Wilkinson, like every other player in white, was immersed in a sea of green. It was a stunning performance by Eddie O'Sullivan's men and the head coach will have been particularly pleased by the contributions of some of the so-called lesser lights.


    Paul O'Connell won the official Man of the Match award, no complaints there, but anyone from Girvan Dempsey to Marcus Horan could have got the nod and there would not have been an eyebrow raised. That is the measure of a complete team performance.


    Horan is the most comfortable Irish prop on the ball since Nick Popplewell and let us take a moment to pay tribute to the great Cappamore bull John Hayes.


    Hayes is playing the rugby of his career and is the most effective fringe defence pillar since the modern game of wall-on-wall attack and defence evolved. On Saturday, the man's tackle count and the effectiveness of his hits defied prop forward logic.


    The second-rows were back to their barnstorming best while the backrowers were uniformly excellent. Denis Leamy was everywhere while David Wallace and Simon Easterby produced their most balanced performance yet as flanker unit.


    While I accept there is a hidden aspect to Easterby's destructively defensive brief, there are matches when he is anonymous. Not on Saturday.


    Having Easterby to do his stuff for 60 minutes before springing Neil Best from the bench is an ideal scenario.


    Beyond the forwards, Peter Stringer's speed of passing and all-round efficiency confirmed what a loss he was against France.


    His confidence


    is at an all-time <
    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again (like picking Gordon D'Arcy) and expecting different results.
    Albert Einstein

    #2
    Read that was wondering what Ward had been taking[img]smileys/lol.gif[/img]
    Excellence is hard to keep quite - Sherrie Coale

    Comment


      #3
      In fairness to Dempsey, he has been playing consistently wellsince the start of the season. When he went off injured against us at TP, I was sorry he was injured, but delighted that Leinster would be considerably weaker as a result.

      Comment


        #4


        Sorry but he was very poor against France, average against Wales &amp; while he did play well against Eng, it was an ideal situation with the way we were dominating.


        He's not even close to Patterson &amp; I'd also have Poitrenaud &amp; Morgan (Welsh lad) way way ahead of him as well.





        EDIT : I do realise it's Southwell (who's also better than Girv) who plays FB for scotland but Patterson is the best FB (&amp; it's his best position) in NH IMO.
        Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again (like picking Gordon D'Arcy) and expecting different results.
        Albert Einstein

        Comment


          #5
          Great thread title Mcork!! He must have still been fairly sozzled writing that...

          Comment


            #6


            sounds fair to me.[img]smileys/c&#111;nfused.gif[/img]


            Dempsey was up there for man of the match on saturday. Only other decent full back in the tournament is poitrenaud who has dissapointed me so far.


            which part do you attribute to lunacy?
            The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad.
            - Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

            Comment


              #7
              Girve was excellent on Saturday. His best game ever in green. Quite honestly he didn't put a foot wrong.

              Best 15 in Europe though? [img]smileys/shock.gif[/img]

              Comment


                #8


                Patterson is'nt playing full back, morgan is out injured and poitrenaud is not playing to his best. So at the moment on saturdays evidence Dempsey is the best full back in the tournament which is whatWard says. Title of the article is a bit misleading though.


                I also disagree that dempsey was poor against france, he made some amount of wonderful takes at full pace, never lost the ball and was one of the only Irish backs to kick well.
                The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad.
                - Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

                Comment


                  #9
                  Girve must be some character. He has taken abuse for years and I am as guilty as any. Nearly everyone was calling for him to be dropped but he kept working away and getting better.

                  Well done Girvan Dempsey.

                  Comment


                    #10


                    Originally posted by Dermot G
                    Girve was excellent on Saturday. His best game ever in green. Quite honestly he didn't put a foot wrong.

                    Best 15 in Europe though? [img]smileys/shock.gif[/img]

                    Fully agree. MCork you're being too harsh, Upfront you're being too Wardish, it takes more than one class performance to be called the best in Europe. There's probably 3 full backs in France alone that are better.

                    Comment


                      #11

                      Originally posted by Upfront_1979
                      ...I also disagree that dempsey was poor against france, he made some amount of wonderful takes at full pace, never lost the ball and was one of the only Irish backs to kick well.
                      He missed several straight up tackles, and kicked poorly.

                      Comment


                        #12


                        Girve is a fine player. Its a bit OTT but I'd have Girve as irish no 1 any day. The bit about Horan being the most comfortable Irish prop on the ball since Popplewell is what struck me. I sincerely doubt if there has ever been a prop in irish rugby who even comes close with ball in hand to Horan. He is sensational in this dept.


                        My computer thinks I'm gay
                        What's the difference anyway
                        When all the people do all day
                        Is stare into a phone

                        Comment


                          #13
                          this site needs one of those sky sports analysis tools where we can pause the game and draw little arrows to show whats happening! Its the only way we'll ever settle any arguments around here. Oz what do you reckon?
                          The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad.
                          - Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

                          Comment


                            #14


                            josh lewsey.... best 15 in europe

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by Mcork

                              Sorry but he was very poor against France,
                              average against Wales & while he did play well against Eng, it was an
                              ideal situation with the way we were dominating.


                              He's not even close to Patterson & I'd also have Poitrenaud & Morgan
                              (Welsh lad) way way ahead of him as well.


                              *


                              EDIT : I do realise it's Southwell (who's also better than Girv) who
                              plays FB for scotland but Patterson is the best FB (& it's his best
                              position) in NH IMO.
                              What about Shaun Payne, after all he has the benefit of youth on
                              Dempsey (tm MCork)
                              Karma

                              Comment

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