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The Tough Questions

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    The Tough Questions

    This Six Nations has thrown up more questions than answers. Even though it's not finished, I'm pretty sure it's going to be a disappointing tournament in everyone's eyes regardless of whether we win against England or not. Many of these questions have been addressed throughout numerous threads however I think it would be good to get them all in one spot and hopefully you might want to discuss;

    1. Defence - After the autumn, Andy Farrell received many plaudits. However there was the nagging thought that we'd conceded 11 tries in 4 tests. This was mainly written off as we won tests against NZ and Australia. However, the recurring problem of our defence doesn't seem to have gone away, particularly in the wide channels. How much blame can be put with Andy Farrell? The players selected?

    2. Selection - Schmidt has constantly been derided for his conservative selection policies. Has this hindered us in this Six Nations? Kearney is the obvious one. Is Schmidt doing the best he can with the players he has? Are we just destined to flit between 4th and 8th in the rankings? Or are we better than that?

    3. Ringrose v Payne - Schmidt get derided for his conservative selections however in this case Ringrose is the progressive choice. Yes the decision has been mostly removed by injury however, there were other options - Marshall for example. Do we stick with Ringrose who has mixed the bad with the good. Or would selecting Payne (when fit) address the problems raised above?

    4. Rob Kearney - no doubt most on here will say, it's time to go but his ongoing selection is tied very closely to the theme of Schmidt being conservative. We just don't feel like a team that's going to break the line regularly with Kearney at full back.

    5. Forwards coach - Under John Plumtree we had a great lineout. It seems to have been in steady decline since. This has coincided with the appointment of Simon Easterby. What can't be forgotten is that it's also coincided with the retirement of Paul O'Connell. In Easterbys defence, we've never looked better at scrum time, our maul goes well (when the lineout functions) and our breakdown work is generally decent. Is Easterby getting the most out of the players at his disposal?

    6. Backrow balance - At the moment 4 into 3 just doesn't go. And that means O'Mahony misses out. Australia have found a way to get Hooper and Pocock on the pitch at the same time however we've gone with either Stander or O'Mahony. O'Mahony is not the ball carrier that Stander is (but then again who is?) however O'Mahony brings real leadership, defensive lineout class and another option on our own lineout. Heaslip has been outstanding too for a long time. O'Brien has been a little patch however with Van Der Flier injured it seems that he's safe at 7. It's a case of damned if you do, damned if you don't. What combination is best?

    7. Build for the Future - Should we? If so, when? 2018 Six Nations? 2019 World Cup? Should we be taking short term pain and relegating Best, Ryan, Heaslip etc so that we can blood the likes of Scannell, Dillane, Conan, Sweetnam, Byrne etc. Or do we just stick and keep picking our best 23 for each test. England seem to be reaping the benefits of long term planning. Australia always do it and then turn up at World Cups. Is it time we considered this, particularly now we have a deeper pool of players?

    8. The Irish Glass Ceiling - We just seem to produce these huge results then just cannot back them up. Think 2011 World Cup. Beat the Wallabies then limp out to Wales. Same in 2015, beat France in a colossal battle then get blown away just as we're about to take the next step in the quarters. If we'd beaten Wales at the weekend we'd be going into a decider at home against the best English team in 15 years. And that's exciting. Now the best we can hope for is the frankly slightly embarassing tag of 'upsetting England'. To most of the rest of the world we're just that team that can 'beat anyone on their given day'. It's patronising. But frankly it's true until we can put together a couple of years where we knock off the big teams...regularly.

    #2
    Valid points and grest post.

    I would say short pain and blood away ESPECIALLY in friendlies

    Comment


      #3
      The thing to remember about blooding new prospects (properly) is that we are not going to get worse results than we are currently getting. We are going to go 2/5 out of this years 6N, which is the same as last year.

      Comment


        #4
        For me it's about selection. Incumbents are not playing to retain their jersey. Going on two of the last four matches I would say the following could and possibly should face being dropped; McGrath, Toner, SOB, Heaslip, Earls and Kearney. I still think Henshaw is being played out of position and looks like a make shift 12 and not a natural one.

        There's more than enough players around to be given a shot. I would love to see a few players given an opportunity based on form not injury i.e. Kilcoyne, Holland, Leavy, Olding and TOH.
        He's a guy who gets up at six o'clock in the morning regardless of what time it is.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by redherring View Post
          For me it's about selection. Incumbents are not playing to retain their jersey. Going on two of the last four matches I would say the following could and possibly should face being dropped; McGrath, Toner, SOB, Heaslip, Earls and Kearney. I still think Henshaw is being played out of position and looks like a make shift 12 and not a natural one.

          There's more than enough players around to be given a shot. I would love to see a few players given an opportunity based on form not injury i.e. Kilcoyne, Holland, Leavy, Olding and TOH.
          I still think Olding-Henshaw is a better partnership than what we have currently. Van Der Flier should have been starting in every game and shouldn't have been released to play for Leinster.

          Comment


            #6
            Posted in another thread but personnel is only a small part if the problem.
            We need coaching on how to attack space particularly in open play rather than set piece.
            Leinster with Lancaster's influence are running in tries for fun from all over the park.
            Obviously international is a massive step up but Scotland, Wales, England, and of course New Zealand are all better at converting line breaks in midfield (which we make plenty) into points.
            We dominate possession and territory in most games but only seem to be able to use the catch and drive or smash over (or rarely the cross field kick) to score.
            When we break the line with the players we have we should be well able to score. Sort out this and with very minor personnel tweaks (swap RK for TOH or Zebo, bring in sweetnam and or AByrne) we should start winning games.


            Sent from my SM-N9005 using Tapatalk
            The only difference between me and a madman is that I'm not mad.
            - Salvador Dali (1904-1989)

            Comment


              #7
              Ward calling for Heaslio and Kearney to be dropped for English game in today's Indo
              "There are a lot of points that we’ve left behind and this is with a young group. That probably tells you what they’re capable of and that they’re a very good side.

              Probably next year or the year after next they will take some stopping"

              Anthony Foley, May 2016. Axel RIP

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Waterfordlad View Post
                Ward calling for Heaslio and Kearney to be dropped for English game in today's Indo
                No, he's calling for Heaslip and Kearney to be dropped ini the future, but not for the English game...
                He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck either, but a real duck that was actually lame. Maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

                Comment


                  #9
                  It's hard work watching Ireland, because we're failing laboriously, not gloriously. We seek to win our "big" matches by expending an incredible amount of physicality and effort. Other teams seem to be able to win by injecting inventiveness, skill and pace - example were Hogg's two tries against us, and North's spectacular first try on Friday.

                  I'd love to put an energy meter on our lads, because I think you'd see a massive proportion spent when in opponents' 22, and to no avail mostly.

                  What I hated in our last two games was our complete inability to get the ball to our back three at speed. We get tangled up in midfield by working complex patterns, popping to one-out runners, or bashing Henshaw up the middle. It's becoming painful to watch. TOL & Gilroy are in-form players but they won't be the answer either unless the team give them a chance.

                  Sometimes it seems like our attacking game plan is designed for 15 forwards and no backs.
                  "I don't believe in fairytales," O'Connell once told me, "even though it feels like I've been lucky enough to live through a few. However it ends, I'll feel lucky."
                  Donald McRae, Guardian Rugby, October 2015

                  Comment


                    #10
                    'The tough questions' will be largely avoided nicely but the usual Joepologists on the Monday podcasts thanks to the Top 14 announcement today! Shame, cos the shameless back slapping should have consequences and accountibility.
                    The whole world cries out peace, freedom and a few less fat bastards eating all the pie.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by Lad View Post
                      I still think Olding-Henshaw is a better partnership than what we have currently. Van Der Flier should have been starting in every game and shouldn't have been released to play for Leinster.
                      I don't see Henshaw as an international class centre. He doesn't have the hands and passing capabilities IMO. I'd rather see Murray, Jackson, Zebo, Sexton, Ringrose, Earls, Payne for Saturday.
                      He's a guy who gets up at six o'clock in the morning regardless of what time it is.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Are all the things asked here tough questions? Don't get me wrong, some are, some are difficult questions, now I'm not a coach or any kind of tactician, but to me some seem to have pretty simple answers.

                        We defend narrowly, what is the problem here, why can't we fix this?
                        Scotland saw this, Scotland targeted this they stuck their wingers to the each touchline and we were punished.
                        They did their homework and rightly won.

                        Selection wise, should it be a tough question to consider dropping the likes of Kearney? To me it's not even a 50/50 call. He's not preforming for Leinster, I'm not sure what Schmidt was expected, but he hasn't preformed for Ireland either.
                        I'm sorry but that's not a tough scenario for Schmidt, it's a pretty obvious one..drop him.

                        The line out, seems to me we have a solution..our hooker isn't playing well and we're down a line out option.
                        It may be tough to consider dropping Best, but that's the reality of our situation. You replace Best with Scannell, ya you're taking a little bit of a risk dropping the captain and replacing him with a much less experienced player, but Scannell was excellent against Italy and when he's come on for Ireland. It either works or it doesn't but at this point we're really no worse off and to add that extra line out option you add in POM.

                        Backrow is a difficult call, as it's been said time and time again, 4 in to 3 doesn't go, who do you drop, but in my opinion it's not about dropping players, it's about rotating players. You look at who we're playing, what we need and you select your backrow to suit the needs of the team and the threat from the opposition. Schmidt has insisted with the same 6/7/8 for the whole 6 Nations and it's lacked balance and effectiveness and teams have nullified our backrow.

                        Building for the future is difficult when a coach refuses to use his squad. The only chance a lot of the young players will get is in the summer, it's hard to get that balance right of putting in new players in the 6 Nations when every game is a must win, but you have to use games like Italy more effectively.


                        I think it's a good thing that people are finally questioning Schmidt, not because we lost. Someone has to lose. It's the way we lose that is worrying and the repetitiveness of it all.
                        There are some big underlining issues with this squad that are well summarised in this thread, also our predictability in just about everything from team selection to tactics are making us an open book.
                        My worry is that if we beat England everything will go back to being rosy and the hard questions won't be asked, but they need to be asked or we're facing the same faith of every other Irish team.
                        The Maul is Back!! LONG LIVE THE MAUL!!

                        Stringer is bigger even than his own immense shadow. Pound for pound, he is the best tackler in the world. If you put him into bag of cats he\'d come out without a scratch. He was hit very late for Murphy\'s try. And when he got up, as we knew he would, the crowd cried his name as if he had just fixed the economy.Billy Keane-After Munster\'s famous loss to the AB\'s.

                        The Bull-Truly irreplaceable, a mountain of a man. 100 caps!!

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Christ almighty, he's replaced Tommy Bowe in the squad with Fergus McFadden. Not Gilroy, not TOH, not Sweetnam, not Byrne. Fergus ****ing McFadden.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Wallyman View Post
                            Christ almighty, he's replaced Tommy Bowe in the squad with Fergus McFadden. Not Gilroy, not TOH, not Sweetnam, not Byrne. Fergus ****ing McFadden.
                            Wha???

                            Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk
                            "Everything good about Ireland can be found in County Cork"....Lonely Planet Guide 2012

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by blackwarrior View Post
                              I'd love to put an energy meter on our lads, because I think you'd see a massive proportion spent when in opponents' 22, and to no avail mostly.
                              BBC had a great stat on Friday night: Number of attacking rucks in the opposition 22 per try scored. Ireland and Wales were by far the highest meaning that we typically expend a lot of energy & time before getting our tries. This has been a consistent flaw for us throughout Schmidt's tenure and seems to be getting worse rather than better.

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