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Kidney's Ireland: Front rows, midfield and injuries headaches before this 6Ns

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    Kidney's Ireland: Front rows, midfield and injuries headaches before this 6Ns

    I'd say Kidney hated the weekend just gone, seeing all Irish provinces beaten convincingly against English & French opponents - can't augur too well for Ireland and the great man's plan to try to win the 2013 6Ns (& potentially his last as Irish coach).

    On top of this, Earls & Jones have been added to the current injury list, he's lost Strauss & Bowe to fairly serious sounding injuries, POC, BOD, Ferris, Kearney & a host of other top line players are still stuck in long term rehab. This doesn't give the platform that a seasoned strategic planner like Kidney would want. Ireland look to be paying the price in fit personnel that a season bookended between 3 test tours to NZ and a full on world cup as well as the usual HEC, Rabo & 6Ns in between- will cost you, all far from ideal!!

    There are some positives though, Rory Best is back & playing well, SOB is back and fighting fit . Sexton is playing great rugby at the mo, as is Conor Murray, Zebo, POM & Cian Healy.

    The way Ross was bossed at scrum time at the weekend is a big worry though, and Ireland's scrum is a big worry ahead of the 6NS. France, England, Wales & Italy are all strong at set piece and Ireland will want to at least match them here and ideally dominate them, or at the very least be able to upset them occasionally. Neither Leinster or Munster have looked overly convincing at centre or front row this season to date, Ulster look a bit better in these positions but only a bit, Ireland are going to have to come up with something better between now and the 6Ns in these areas and to further grow & develop a game plan to play to their strengths, & they have some considerable ones, and mitigate these weakness areas as much as possible. That ain't easy!!

    Nonetheless, If Ireland can get more power back in the back row (POM, SOB & Heaslip aint bad to start but they'll need a 4th & most probably a 5th here (Henry & Ferris would do nicely), with POC back in the 2nd row, and BOD back at centre with a fully fit Earls (& Darcy) available, then maybe Kidney can turn a few of his plans into glorious reality in the 6Ns.

    Hopefully by getting a few guys back and by having good healthy competition and a good work ethic in the squad leading up to the 6Ns, it will allow Kidney the confidence to actively rotate his squad thru games (Scotland & Italy games look ideal for rotation) and to use his subs bench actively during games to bring home the bacon.

    Ireland had a really good autumn considering, some of the young guys are putting their hands up high, if they can be accompanied by a return of a few of the golden greats, this could yet be a wonderful 6Ns for Ireland. Its on a knife edge... Here's hoping...
    Last edited by Daithi; 17th-December-2012, 19:20.
    ____________________________________________
    Munster were great when they were Munster.

    alas they are just north munster now.......
    ____________________________________________

    #2
    I think we are ok in the back 3 for now. Kearney still injured but Zebo showed again at the weekend he is more than capable at 15. Bowe out is a big blow but on the flipside Gilroy will get a run of games for Ulster which will help his Irish chances. McFadden/Trimble are actually playing fair well for Leinster/Ulster on the wing at the moment too.

    Centre I'll agree is a worry. Cave doing well at Ulster might get his chance to prove himself if Earls/BOD are still injured. Darce still the best 12 we have and that won't change this year.

    Sexton playing very very well at 10 and the same with Murray at 9. His box kicks the last few weeks have been insanely good. Loosehead and hooker we are sorted.

    Healy/Killer/Court all playing well. Best back to fitness a huge plus too. Most accurate thrower and unreal tackling numbers. Tighthead is a worry with Ross having his a$$ handed to him more often now. We'll see more of Bent in the next few weeks and hopefully he can prove himself.

    Second row is coming along fine. McCarthy in the form of his life. Tuohy back to fitness. Ryan recapturing form and DOC as good as he's been for a while. POC would be a welcome addition obviously but I wouldn't count on it.

    Flankers have seen Henry/Henderson showing up well up north in Ferris' absence, SOB will hopefully get back to speed in next few weeks. POM was been consistent at Munster with DOC2 improving each week.

    At number 8 we've Heaslip playing well in blue but underperforming in green and Coughlan knocking at his door currently too.

    Main worry for me is tighthead and 13 going into the 6 Nations.

    Comment


      #3
      I don't think the provinces are in the bad situation suggested by the whitewash. Ulster and Connacht are both doing better than expected so far this season and Munster are pretty much meeting expectations. Leinster will be a concern and the injury situation will be of great concern.
      We're either going to be missing a lot of players or have a lot of players with very little rugby under their belts.

      Cave is playing great and really going under the radar for whatever reason, D'acy is in form, Murray and Sexton are in form and we've no end of back 3 options. I'd be very optimistic about the state of our backs approaching the 6Ns. Backrow looks strong if Heaslip turns up and with or without POC our lock options are plentiful. Ditto Strauss with Best's return to form and Court behind Healy. TH is an ongoing problem with no end in sight but whats new.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Dowlinz View Post
        I don't think the provinces are in the bad situation suggested by the whitewash. Ulster and Connacht are both doing better than expected so far this season and Munster are pretty much meeting expectations. Leinster will be a concern and the injury situation will be of great concern.
        We're either going to be missing a lot of players or have a lot of players with very little rugby under their belts.

        Cave is playing great and really going under the radar for whatever reason, D'acy is in form, Murray and Sexton are in form and we've no end of back 3 options. I'd be very optimistic about the state of our backs approaching the 6Ns. Backrow looks strong if Heaslip turns up and with or without POC our lock options are plentiful. Ditto Strauss with Best's return to form and Court behind Healy. TH is an ongoing problem with no end in sight but whats new.
        I think it's in the lap of the Gods to be honest. I can't see Ireland doing much without POC, Ferris and Bowe. Add Kearney and a half fit BOD to that and you're looking at a third of the first choice team out. Five Lions to put it in context. No team can afford that.
        I always knew Madigan was a closet Scrum Half. Ignore All things that suggest Continuity.

        Comment


          #5
          Hmmm Cave & Darcy v the French, English or Welsh centres...fofana, tulagi, Roberts, et al , its a weakness area.
          ____________________________________________
          Munster were great when they were Munster.

          alas they are just north munster now.......
          ____________________________________________

          Comment


            #6
            BOD will be fit, I am completely confident that he will be absolutely firing by the time Ireland go to Cardiff. This is his swansong and I suspect the operation was undertaken to give him the best possible chance of being fit enough to do himself full justice in his attempt to make a fourth Lions tour. I hope to see Luke Marshall getting more gametime for the Nordies in the next few weeks but suspect Paddy Wallace will be carrying on at 12 for them which might lead to his being called up for the six nations which will keep the mods occupied!?!

            Back up scrum half is an area of concern for me: Reddan is simply not good enough, unless he is behind a completely dominant pack which, with the best will in the world he is unlikely to get in the six nation, and Wee Paul Marshall's form seems to have dropped off now he is not getting the gametime he enjoyed with Pienaar playing for the Saffers. Personally I think Boss should be on the bench for the Wales, England and France games although I would hope that we are getting close to Murray playing whole games and only being replaced if he is injured; apart from Racing (when I am convinced his recent concussion was an issue) Murray has been quite simply outstanding for Munster and Ireland this season, particularly pleasing has been to witness the development of his understanding with Sexton.

            I would be delighted to stand corrected but I suspect we will be unlikely to see Bueller in a Green jersey this term and sadly, I suspect, again. What an absolute tragedy that such a great player has been hobbled by an injury picked up playing for the Lions, think what he might have achieved playing for Ulster and Ireland without the injuries? However, we are looking strong in the back row with the emergence of Henry and Henderson up north allied to POM's good form, SOB's positive return and potentially the call up that Coughlan more than deserves and which would apply some pressure to Heaslip, to which I am sure he would respond in a positive manner.

            I desperately hope that Jackson is the back up Out half for the six nations. There is simply no excuse now for not looking to the future and although the young man has had some blips, he is next in line and deserves his chance. If Sexton gets injured in the first twenty minutes it might be hide behind the sofa time but that is a risk that has to be taken. Assuming all goes well and Jackson can be brought on as a positive substitution in a positive situation, he could slot in at 10 next to Sexton (who can continue to take the place kicks unless the game is safely won) and BOD.

            We have real strength in depth in the back three although Tommy Bowe is obviously a massive loss. I don't know if Kearney is going to be back fit and firing, I am always suspicious about back operations, but I think Zebo has the potential to be a world class full back. If BOD and D'Arcy (who has proved me wrong I am pleased to admit) are fit then the Earl will have to wait one more year before he inherits the 13 jersey although I am sure Darren Cave and the northern correspondents will have plenty to say about that assertion. In the mean time he is a handy enough player to stick out on the wing.

            If Paulie is fit it would obviously be great to see him play but if it was felt that taking the whole season off and getting himself 100% fit would give him a chance of playing a significant role for Munster and Ireland through to Autumn 2015 then I would love to see such an eventuality. We have proper strength in depth in the second row with Ryan, DOC (who like D'Arcy has been a revelation this term), Tuohy and McCarthy all having shown themselves to be international quality players; add in Stevenson who I hope is fit to take his chance and Henderson who can do a job there and patience can be employed with Paulie.

            Strauss doesn't sound as bad as first thought although Best's outstanding form for the Nordies would have relegated the Leinsterman to the 16 jersey. I am never convinced by Cronin's darts, for all he offers tonnes in the loose, and I would be sh*tting myself if Best went off after 15 minutes. For this reason I think Sherry pushes him very hard for the third hooker spot.

            We have great strength in depth at LHP with Court and Killa both pushing hard behind the best Loose head in the world in Healy.

            And so to f*cking Tight head. Ross looks to be struggling for form although two massive games against the behemoths of Clermont in six days would stretch most fellas, particularly when their prop has got Cudmore and Hines up his arse and you have got Plug/ Browne/Toner. I feel confident he will be much stronger by the time we get to the six nations. The problem we have, however, is that behind him we have a lad who is essentially untried, in Bent. Archer is not playing and Fitzpatrick is not fit so the third choice THP is Loughney. The cupboard is bare and candles will need to be lit if we are going to give a very good Irish side a platform from which to play; as Adam Jone's absence for the Ospreys and Wales clearly demonstrates, the game becomes very difficult if you haven't got a tight head.

            Comment


              #7
              There's been a real cascade of serious injuries over the past 18 or 24 months and last weekend just highlighted the impact they had on Ulster (Muller), Leinster (BOD & RK) and Munster (Paulie - never mind Fla, Leamy, Wally and the rest at this stage).

              Is this just unlucky or is there something amiss in the Irish set up with conditioning, or training or with diagnosis?
              Munster – Champions of Europe 2006, 2008, 2019.

              Comment


                #8
                Archer is not currently a viable option for THP - just not good enough ...yet.
                It remains to be seen whether he ever will be.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by the plastic paddy View Post
                  I desperately hope that Jackson is the back up Out half for the six nations. There is simply no excuse now for not looking to the future and although the young man has had some blips, he is next in line and deserves his chance. If Sexton gets injured in the first twenty minutes it might be hide behind the sofa time but that is a risk that has to be taken.
                  Explain why it's a risk that "has to be taken". Picking inferior, untried players with no international caliber in a tournament we must win for the manager to keep his job (probably) is not a risk that has to be taken.
                  Paddy Jackson looks jittery beside the best game controlling halfback in the NH, imagine him beside Reddan or Murray when he's having one of his episodes.

                  Name one game against a European superpower that Paddy Jackson has excelled in? You can't because it never happened. Even with the South African stablisers on his bike he still hasn't shown that level in the admittedly few opportunities he's had against serious teams, without and there's simply no merit to selecting him when there's two proven alternatives.
                  Last edited by Dowlinz; 18th-December-2012, 13:46.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Dowlinz View Post
                    Explain why it's a risk that "has to be taken". Picking inferior, untried players with no international caliber in a tournament we must win for the manager to keep his job (probably) is not a risk that has to be taken.
                    Paddy Jackson looks jittery beside the best game controlling halfback in the NH, imagine him beside Reddan or Murray when he's having one of his episodes.
                    Sorry Dowlinz, can you tell me when Murray last had one of his 'issues' in an Ireland jersey? As for the rest of your post, it is not the job of the Ireland coach to make use of players to keep him in his job, it is his job to coach Ireland to win games now and in the future; fortunately I am confident that Declan Kidney knows that. P.S. ROG's form only just justifies his place for Munster (and that is clearly open to debate) so it could be said that a fella who has just played his first losing game of the season in the middle of december might be a better option for the national team.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by the plastic paddy View Post
                      Sorry Dowlinz, can you tell me when Murray last had one of his 'issues' in an Ireland jersey? As for the rest of your post, it is not the job of the Ireland coach to make use of players to keep him in his job, it is his job to coach Ireland to win games now and in the future; fortunately I am confident that Declan Kidney knows that. P.S. ROG's form only just justifies his place for Munster (and that is clearly open to debate) so it could be said that a fella who has just played his first losing game of the season in the middle of december might be a better option for the national team.
                      It's his job to pick a 6N squad that he believes is best equipped to win the tournament. Not to pick a squad that will aid his efforts in 2014 and beyond.

                      Paddy Jackson involved in the matchday sides would be a large gamble however you look at it. Jackson is not the game manager at Ulster, nor is he one of the key reasons why they've been so impressive this season. He has however changed from the liability player of last season into a fellow who fits in well at this level. Fits in, not excels.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by the plastic paddy View Post
                        I desperately hope that Jackson is the back up Out half for the six nations. There is simply no excuse now for not looking to the future and although the young man has had some blips, he is next in line and deserves his chance. If Sexton gets injured in the first twenty minutes it might be hide behind the sofa time but that is a risk that has to be taken. Assuming all goes well and Jackson can be brought on as a positive substitution in a positive situation, he could slot in at 10 next to Sexton (who can continue to take the place kicks unless the game is safely won) and BOD.

                        This is what Thornley has to say in todays IT on the subject:

                        There seems to be a change-for-change-sake mood toward bringing one of the younger out-halves coming through, most obviously Paddy Jackson, to the exclusion of O’Gara for the forthcoming Six Nations. But little about the events of last weekend support that view. Besides caps shouldn’t be handed out like confetti at a wedding. They should be earned. And as of yet, no one has earned the right to displace O’Gara. Aside from his tactical kicking, there were still some sublime examples of his skills’ set, not least his banana kick to touch and the perfectly weighted chip ahead for Simon Zebo in response to Saracens’ blitz defence, and they’ll miss him terribly when he eventually retires.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Interesting that 'aside from (ROG's) tactical kicking', Thornley manages to only cite two examples of ROG's tactical kicking. That said he is right, of course, we will miss ROG terribly when he retires but I think we will miss him more if we are no closer to finding his replacement until he is gone.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by rathbaner View Post
                            There's been a real cascade of serious injuries over the past 18 or 24 months and last weekend just highlighted the impact they had on Ulster (Muller), Leinster (BOD & RK) and Munster (Paulie - never mind Fla, Leamy, Wally and the rest at this stage).

                            Is this just unlucky or is there something amiss in the Irish set up with conditioning, or training or with diagnosis?
                            Rb,, i think a season bookended with a WC to start and a 3 test tour to NZ to finish, with the usual 6 Ns, HEC & rabo in between, just takes its toll on a country with Ireland's player numbers.

                            Maybe improved conditioning could be achieved, but afaik the irfu player ones are already recognised as pretty good.
                            ____________________________________________
                            Munster were great when they were Munster.

                            alas they are just north munster now.......
                            ____________________________________________

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