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Ireland V South Africa. Aviva Stadium. Nov 8th 2014 - 17.30 KO. RTE2

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    Ireland V South Africa. Aviva Stadium. Nov 8th 2014 - 17.30 KO. RTE2

    Autumn is upon us, although its wintertime, anyway the Bokke arrive on Saturday and we will have our hands full to beat them, their confidence is high after a good finish to the RC for them.




    Ireland’s Form


    A year to be remembered! silverware is no familiar friend for the Irish team, and yet the glamour comes nowadays with the almighty Grand Slam. Ireland are 6 wins out of 7 in 2014 and only lost that game in Twickenham by a penalty. We dispatched Argentina on the summer tour without too much real difficulty or fanfare, largely due to the fact that the Pumas were missing most of their best side and the tour appeared to be a dry run to allow Schmidt understand the logistics and coordination of taking the Irish team on tour. We’ve played what might be deemed ‘test’ rugby under Schmidt, its not as loose and malleable as Leinster were but thats to be expected when you move from club to test level. There is a focus on being efficient, extremely efficient, using the few chances that appear at this level to ruthlessly convert into points and yardage. Some may suggest its been a little boring but we’ve been averaging 26 points a game this season, we’ve seen some players reborn such as Andy Trimble who was frankly incredible during the win in Paris. Above all else, I would subscribe to the notion that Joe plans his week ahead of a game on how Ireland are going to dismantle the next opponent, nearly worked against NZ 12 months ago, hoping it’ll be the same imagination and attention to detail this month, the injuries are going to demand it.


    Our injury toll is significant, key men are MIA: Healy & Sean O’Brien are the headline absentees, however several more are touch and go such as Rory Best and Mike Ross. Best has a calf strain and Ross hasn’t played since Leinster - Munster a month ago, Marty Moore is crocked and Nathan White ripped an arm muscle. As has always been the case, the key to beating the Springboks is to match them in the tight and the set piece and try to eek out a few chances when they appear. We have some fresh faces in the camp for the month with a view to the RWC ahead, concentrating on Dave Foley & Jared Payne because I believe those are two fellas who will be in the RWC squad next year, fingers crossed this month goes well for them.


    The big question though this November is how/where we will get a replacement for BOD? Beyond the individual jersey to be filled there is a dearth of leadership, calmness, alignment, and communication that has retired and that will take a little time to replace.


    Sadly, there is plenty apathy to the Irish team at the moment, myself included for reasons I cannot really pinpoint. We should be aiming high and using this month to bolster what was a very thin squad last spring ahead of a mammoth 2015 when there will be a lot of Irish games to get behind. Having said that, as we battered seven shades of shyte out of New Zealand last year the entire nation wanted the win as badly as any provincial fans wants a european cup on final day. Tear into the Boks and apathy with vanish in an instant.


    South Africa Form


    Dangerous, they can be nigh on unplayable when the mood takes them and they can be in touching distance during any game on the road, little seems to phase them. Their last game, against NZ in the Rugby Championship at Bloemfontein was yet again a cracker, they ran everything at the Kiwis’ both around and sometimes straight over the All Blacks. They are 7 wins and 2 losses so far in 2014 losing in Perth by a single point and in Wellington by 4. This is a hugely capable and dangerous side of giant men, ranked 2 in the world for good reason.


    Since Heyne Meyer took over 2 years ago there has been an emphasis on South Africa using a broader skill set, the old cliche that they are a big pack and great halfbacks doesn't fly, and hasn't done so for a long time. They live in a dry climate, with dry training pitches and balls that haven't sat in mud for 15 mins whilst the players warmed up. All their forwards have incredible hands and passing skills. Bismarck Du-Plessis is a fantastic technical hooker, but also one of the best broken field and loose game forwards I’ve seen in the pro game, he’s a mountain of a man and not afraid of physically hurting opponents in the tackle, the man is a good barometer of the side as a whole. They will run turnover ball from deep, they will punch holes with carriers and then flood through with great support runners, you cant pin them back, Willie LeRoux and Habana will return ball as good as anyone anywhere.


    The list of exceptional talent is gigantic: Etzebeth (Ireland have never produced anything of his ilk, ever) Burger, Coetzee, Pienaar, Devilliers, Habana, LeRoux etc etc etc. This is a Bok squad that includes several fellas who would make a world XV continuously. We will have our hands full to beat this team.


    Things to watch out for


    How vital Murray-Sexton and Madigan can be, compliments of Stuart Lancaster:


    The kicking game is also crucial, especially against certain teams. “When you play South Africa they put everyone in the front line so the scrum half is in the line, both wingers are up, there are 14 very big men in the front line and just a full back in behind,” says Lancaster. “So sometimes it’s intelligent rugby to kick the ball behind them and put pressure on them and score in that way. It’s not just about running the ball from everywhere.”
    Lancaster frequently points to the fact that on average 95% of New Zealand’s kicks are contestable. It is a percentage England are striving hard to attain, and for example it is why Care was hauled off in Paris last season for a succession poor kicks.
    Of those 41 tries by the All Blacks in 2013, 16 were also from turnovers. “The majority of tries in modern rugby come from turnover ball or kick returns – unstructured situations,” says Lancaster.


    Our set piece has got to be perfect, Matfield, Bakkies and Etzebeth will devour our lineout if the throw and the jump isn’t spot on, they are bigger and they’ve also got bigger lifters launching them.


    Key men


    Handre Pollard: South African 10 who enjoys a searing run to the gainline, bowling over tacklers or kicking for territory, looks close to the complete package. More Steyn and Goosen ready to play too


    Paul O’Connell: We will need to be better than the sum of our parts to win on Saturday, that starts with the Captain, and he will need his leadership group (Heaslip, Best, Sexton Darcy, Murray) to demand the same from the entire 23.

    Zeebs and Tommy Bowe: We must contest the ball in the air, and make life difficult for their back three.


    Romain Poite: yep.


    Quotable and notable


    10 years ago this month, keeping it local:

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    8 years ago this month:

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    5 years ago this month:

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    and Jamie
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    I am the million man.

    #2
    Hard to see us winning this one. It looks to be as good a South African side as we've faced for some time and we're missing some key players already with the potential for one or two more to be unavailable.

    Comment


      #3
      Thanks Cowboy. Interesting that over on Green and Gold they really don't rate the Saffer scrum, yes that is right, Aussies criticising the Saffer scrum. With L'idiot in charge, I hope Jack McGrath is ready to do what ever it takes, legal or otherwise, to get on top. I hope that the whole team are ready to fly in from every angle, seal off etc because the breakdown will be an absolute free for all. The one edge that Ireland have, as we have seen from the provinces in Europe, is superior fitness. Big men get tired so a precise game, moving the Bokke around and trying to keep them on the turn is the way to go. I am very worried about the Irish lineout, Best put in one of the worst throwing displays I have ever seen in the Leicester V Ulster game and Cronin has been in poor enough form in the set piece for all his work in the loose. I do have a wee sneaky feeling Ireland will win this game though with a spivish looking Heaslip to the fore.

      Comment


        #4
        Hard to dress it up too Mike, think we should go 6/2 split on the bench and try to play a tight boring game in the hopes we can eek penalties in their half.


        Poites' breakdown free for all giveaway is gonna result in mucky ball and hopefully no injuries.

        Cant remember the last Irish game I hoped for rain!
        I am the million man.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Cowboy View Post
          Hard to dress it up too Mike, think we should go 6/2 split on the bench and try to play a tight boring game in the hopes we can eek penalties in their half.


          Poites' breakdown free for all giveaway is gonna result in mucky ball and hopefully no injuries.

          Cant remember the last Irish game I hoped for rain!
          Probably against Australia. Can remember the home crowd cheering when it started to rain just before the RWC game against Australia at Lansdowne Road in 1999. That sense of optimism was soon deflated by Ireland's performance.

          Comment


            #6
            Don't see why there's such doom-and-gloom. Compare the team that played two years ago. Ireland will field a stronger pack, with the addition of O'Connell and Best. More leadership and experience. A 15 who's played there before. A settled half-back combination. Mike Ross just back from injury again, and the same backrow, all two years more seasoned.

            15-Simon Zebo, 14-Tommy Bowe, 13-Keith Earls, 12-Gordon D'Arcy (Ronan O'Gara 75), 11-Andrew Trimble (Fergus McFadden 58 mins), 10-Jonathan Sexton, 9-Conor Murray (Eoin Reddan 61); 1-Cian Healy (David Kilcoyne 45), 2-Richardt Strauss (Sean Cronin 75), 3-Mike Ross (Michael Bent 70), 4-Mike McCarthy (Donncha O'Callaghan 70), 5-Donnacha Ryan, 6-Peter O'Mahony (Iain Henderson 70), 7-Chris Henry, 8-Jamie Heaslip (captain).

            This time, Ireland are 6N champs instead of coming off a 60-0 in NZ. They've got a settled side. They're coached by the greatest genius ever to have worn an IRFU baseball cap.

            Then compare to South Africa from 2 years ago. Their backrow is much-depleted by the loss of Louw and Alberts. The front five are likely to be a bit better, but not hugely. They had a 100% lineout record in 2012, so they're not going to top that. Their scrum has had an average season, only turning it around towards the end. They're a much less intimidating prospect up front than they were. And then there's no Pienaar, widely touted as "the best scrum-half in Europe".

            15-Zane Kirchner, 14-JP Pietersen, 13-Jaco Taute, 12-Jean de Villiers, 11-Francois Hougaard, 10-Pat Lambie, 9-Ruan Pienaar; 1- CJ van der Linde (Heinke van der Merwe 63), 2-Adriaan Strauss, 3-Jannie du Plessis (Pat Cilliers 55), 4-Eben Etzebeth (Flip van der Merwe 70), 5-Juandre Kruger, 6-Francois Louw, 7-Willem Alberts (Marcell Coetzee 64), 8-Duane Vermeulen.

            Of course, their style and standard of play has improved under Meyer, but they still lost twice away from home this season and should have lost a third. An understrength Wales were within a couple of points of them. They pulled it out for the New Zealand matches, but were otherwise fairly ordinary. They're an improved side, but so are Ireland, aren't they?

            Comment


              #7
              Can't believe that tap and go try by ROG was 10 years ago...... holy christ I'm old.

              Comment


                #8
                South Africa look a good bit stronger to me, and certainly look to have a more potent game plan. Here's the team that beat New Zealand a few weeks back, rumoured there won't be any changes.

                15 Wille Le Roux, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Cornel Hendricks, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Francois Hougaard; 1 Tendai Mtawarira, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 5 Victor Matfield, 6 Marcel Coetzee, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 8 Duane Vermeulen.

                That's a significantly better backline than two years ago. Le Roux is far more dangerous with the ball than Kirchner, while Habana and Hendricks have the kind of pace on the wing that we simply don't. Serfontein is an upgrade on Taute, as is Pollard compared to Lambie. Pienaar looks great for Ulster but never impresses me hugely for South Africa. Springbok fans don't seem to rate him either.

                Front five is an upgrade too. Beast is a better player than CJ vd Toe Injury, and Bismarck is certainly a step up on Strauss. Don't know a huge amount about the two flankers but Vermeulen is a player who's improved quite a bit in the last two seasons.

                We're a better team too. My memories of the game in 2012 are that we got into an early lead without actually doing very much but profitting from some South African mistakes. We struggled to make any line-breaks of note and never really looked like getting back into the game once South Africa got ahead. Seem to recall our backs lining up very deep and the Boks containing us easily at the gain line. I'd hope that Schmidt will have sussed out their weaknesses and that we'll look to attack in those areas. I can see this being similar to the England game last season where we struggled to break them down but were still able to unlock them with a few pre-planned moves. South Africa won't spurn the kind of chances England did that day though.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Mike Gibson View Post
                  South Africa look a good bit stronger to me, and certainly look to have a more potent game plan. Here's the team that beat New Zealand a few weeks back, rumoured there won't be any changes.

                  15 Wille Le Roux, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Cornel Hendricks, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Francois Hougaard; 1 Tendai Mtawarira, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 5 Victor Matfield, 6 Marcel Coetzee, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 8 Duane Vermeulen.

                  That's a significantly better backline than two years ago. Le Roux is far more dangerous with the ball than Kirchner, while Habana and Hendricks have the kind of pace on the wing that we simply don't. Serfontein is an upgrade on Taute, as is Pollard compared to Lambie. Pienaar looks great for Ulster but never impresses me hugely for South Africa. Springbok fans don't seem to rate him either.

                  Front five is an upgrade too. Beast is a better player than CJ vd Toe Injury, and Bismarck is certainly a step up on Strauss. Don't know a huge amount about the two flankers but Vermeulen is a player who's improved quite a bit in the last two seasons.

                  We're a better team too. My memories of the game in 2012 are that we got into an early lead without actually doing very much but profitting from some South African mistakes. We struggled to make any line-breaks of note and never really looked like getting back into the game once South Africa got ahead. Seem to recall our backs lining up very deep and the Boks containing us easily at the gain line. I'd hope that Schmidt will have sussed out their weaknesses and that we'll look to attack in those areas. I can see this being similar to the England game last season where we struggled to break them down but were still able to unlock them with a few pre-planned moves. South Africa won't spurn the kind of chances England did that day though.
                  I'd agree with most of that, and definitely agree that S.A. are stronger now, especially if Pollard can keep improving. The only thing I would say is Hendricks might be a bit dodgy under the high ball so if we can get Murray putting up box kicks with Bobert and Zebo chasing them down then we could definitely put them under pressure that way. Also, I'd strongly disagree with the assertion that Habana is still faster than Zebo or Gilroy, Habana has pretty much become a flanker on the wing.... still a savage player but doesn't have anything like the pace of old.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Great photo:

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                    From: http://www.thescore.ie/victor-matfie...61465-Nov2014/

                    Comment


                      #11
                      As for the idea the Bokke can't play in the rain - it pisses down in Newlands. Anyone remember the Emerging Bokke v. Lions game there in 2009?
                      Ceterum censeo INM irrumandum esse.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Mike Gibson View Post
                        South Africa look a good bit stronger to me, and certainly look to have a more potent game plan. Here's the team that beat New Zealand a few weeks back, rumoured there won't be any changes.

                        15 Wille Le Roux, 14 Bryan Habana, 13 Jan Serfontein, 12 Jean de Villiers, 11 Cornel Hendricks, 10 Handre Pollard, 9 Francois Hougaard; 1 Tendai Mtawarira, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 4 Eben Etzebeth, 5 Victor Matfield, 6 Marcel Coetzee, 7 Oupa Mohoje, 8 Duane Vermeulen.

                        That's a significantly better backline than two years ago. Le Roux is far more dangerous with the ball than Kirchner, while Habana and Hendricks have the kind of pace on the wing that we simply don't. Serfontein is an upgrade on Taute, as is Pollard compared to Lambie. Pienaar looks great for Ulster but never impresses me hugely for South Africa. Springbok fans don't seem to rate him either.

                        Front five is an upgrade too. Beast is a better player than CJ vd Toe Injury, and Bismarck is certainly a step up on Strauss. Don't know a huge amount about the two flankers but Vermeulen is a player who's improved quite a bit in the last two seasons.

                        We're a better team too. My memories of the game in 2012 are that we got into an early lead without actually doing very much but profitting from some South African mistakes. We struggled to make any line-breaks of note and never really looked like getting back into the game once South Africa got ahead. Seem to recall our backs lining up very deep and the Boks containing us easily at the gain line. I'd hope that Schmidt will have sussed out their weaknesses and that we'll look to attack in those areas. I can see this being similar to the England game last season where we struggled to break them down but were still able to unlock them with a few pre-planned moves. South Africa won't spurn the kind of chances England did that day though.
                        I don't see how we are a better team then 2012 with our best ball carriers all injured, an uncapped centre regardless of whom he picks and some other players plumb out of form.
                        Looking at that SA team we can't even make the conditions work for us because unlike previous teams they can play it either way.
                        I think there is a real danger that we could be ovre-run in the last 20 minutes. I think if we keep it to single digits it's a good day out.

                        I'd target the Australian game for the win.
                        I always knew Madigan was a closet Scrum Half. Ignore All things that suggest Continuity.

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Weather forecast looks good, I think that is a good thing but I think I am in a minority on that.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Apologies if this is the wrong place to post this but I have a spare ticket for this match if anyone is looking for one.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I know the team hasn't been picked yet but can I just be the first to say that I have a problem with it, there are too many players from one province starting, too many that have no form, and some form players have been left out. It's a joke really, joe out now, see you all Saturday.

                              Comment

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