Ireland v Russia: Preview

Tomorrow morning, as Palla greets the citizens of Rotorua with a doffed cap, Egg Chaser will be sleeping and letting the UPC auto-record thingy kick into gear. Then when he gets up and avoids Twitter, all will be revealed. Ireland will win with a bonus point, anything less is virtually unthinkable, but what should we look for?

Minnow Conditioning: The Russkies, amazingly, have a fully professional league. This should ensure their conditioning is a little better than, say, Romania and Namibia, who looked drained in their 3rd matches. The Bears are hardly likely to be like Duracell bunnies with 10 minutes to go, but they won’t collapse either. If Deccie empties the bench after 60 minutes (revolutionary, I admit), the game could peter out as opposed to exploding in a Bok-esque try-fest.

Solid as a … errr …. rock. Ireland’s defence has been excellent in this tournament to date, with only 1 try conceded, and that an 80th minute intercept. However, the 10-12-13 axis that made that happen (mostly) has been replaced with the fun-sized Rog-Pwal-Superstar combo. We do think that they will do ok – Rog and PWal aren’t salloon doors in reality and are reasonably familiar with one anothers games, and Earls (surely) can’t be as bad as he was against England – but its worth keeping a beady eye on, especially because of…..

Bath-barians rugby: The Russians came into this tournament touting themselves as a team who like to throw the ball around at every opportunity. They showed some sharper teeth in the last 50 minutes against Italy (after Yanyushkin came in at 9) and kept pace with the Azzuri in that time. Ireland aren’t exactly renowned for their patient approach, but throwing the ball around from the first whistle might actually pay dividends (for once) against a team who want to play it loose.



  1. Couple of thoughts as game finishes up here.Starting to see logic of why it is leamy on the pine ahead of jenno. It allows o'brien to concentrate on purely being a 7. It wouldn't be fair to ask him to get used to that position and then move him around the back row every fart's end. The way they are doing it o'brien can concentrate on purely his 7 duties, leamy can concentrate on being the utility player covering 6 7 and 8 and Jennings knows he is 2nd choice openside (presumably coming directly in to starting team in the event of injury to sob – shudder). It's more about having all positions covered rather than trying to change the game. Kidney has just said as much in post-match interview.I think Jamie h is starting to play his way towards form – exhibit A being a useful second half whilst in 2nd or 3rd gear. A Few of the old questions about trimble's defence…might he be better just standing at 12 and hitting guys in straight lines against Italy (if darce ain't fit).DOC-what fleetness of foot!

  2. Speaking of o'callaghan, it does disturb me how much Conor O'Shea sounds like Miriam. God only knows what goes through poor Tom McGurk's head. The guy truly is the consummate pro.Anyway it was a fine example of cow capping at pace by Donnacha, it would've certainly impressed at the national ploughing championships.Starting to feel a bit like the scrum v commentators. Have you heard those fellas – they spend 80 minutes not talking about the rugby. Jesus its bad, tg 4 makes more sense to me and my native tongue is not awesome.

  3. I for one was not convinced by the performance. Apart from the sloppiness the big worry is at centre where we have no form player. Bod, either through injury or something else, isn't doing anything out there. And Keith "I just want to run around the park" Earls isn't capable and McFadden didn't impress either. This is a big defensive hole. Less moany: Trimble looks good. It is absurd that he isn't starting every game.

  4. Yes lads – thats true – our centres have been creaking for a while now, I have a feeling this is going to be their last tournament together at national or provincial level.The bench thing annoys me – Deccie still goes on about covering positions, but at the highest level, no-one does that any more. Jennings I can buy as a game-changer, but what does Leamy bring beyond covering 6 – he's a liability with the referee as well. Still, its not going to change.Just posted on selection dilemmas for Sunday – thoughts?

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