Thirteenwatch: Episode 1

With his BODness out for this year’s Six Nations, in the absence of an Ireland backs coach, we’re stepping up our responsibilities and getting on the hunt for Ireland’s next 13, as a favour for Deccie.  We’re not even asking for a reward, it’s just our way of giving a little bit back – that’s the sort of guys we are. 

This week each of the provinces had an Irishman in the 13 shirt.  We were watching closely to see how they got on, and we’ll be back to update episodically over the next few months.

Eoin Griffin (Connacht)

Plenty of promise here.  Griffin made the crucial break for the first Connacht try, before perfectly executing the two-on-one to put O’Halloran in the corner.  He has plenty of gas, but is still a bit raw – witness his killing of the space when put into a wide channel shortly after Duffy’s try.  O’Driscoll would have straightened the line to give his wing the best chance of scoring. 

BOD Rating: not international class yet, but one for the future. 7/13

Fergus McFadden (Leinster)

Made yards in contact, but his partnership with Dorce looks flawed.  Both men want to plough into the nearest defender and neither really has great distribution skills, which makes for a one-dimensional, dare we say it, almost Ooooooooooohhhh! partnership.  Fergus was better than the badly-out-of-form Dorce, but still looks more of a 12 to us.

BOD Rating: needs a more complementary partner if he is to replace BOD. 6/13

Darren Cave (Ulster)

Less heralded than teammate Nevin Spence, but is getting the nod for Ulster at the moment, and is probably the form contender.  It was a day for the fatties in Ravenhill, but Cave put in a good shift against a quality opponent in Rougerie and was involved in the Ulster try.

BOD Rating: Cave is no BOD, but can expect to be in the shake up for caps if he keeps up this vein of form. 8/13

Danny Barnes (Munster)

Munster’s backline never really sparked this weekend, and was largely dominated by Saints’ potent mix of boshers up the middle and Ben Foden’s classy running.  Barnes showed some neat touches on the ball, and played a big part in Munster’s second try, but still has much to learn, particularly in defence where his passive line-speed allowed Foden and Ashton to create a superb try in the first half.

BOD Rating: still learning the position, but will get plenty of game time this year 6/13

Luke Fitzgerald and Tommy Bowe (Leinster & Ospreys)

Neither played 13, but both looked sharp as a tack, and will be contenders for the shirt if they get a run there.  Given Leinster’s misfiring centres, Luke could be due a run in the 13 shirt.

BOD Rating: need to see if they get a run in the 13 shirt, but if either or both get a chance, they would be strong contenders 7/13

Notes for Deccie: Early days Deccie, but if you’re starting Dorce you may want to think twice about partnering him with McFadden.  Yes, Deccie, we know Earls will be back in February.  No, Deccie, I don’t think that’s a good idea.  On the wing, Deccie, where he can score tries.  Come back, Deccie…




  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Don't mean to freak you out or anything, but I just posted this last night minds think alike and all that…

  3. Hope it's ok to post the link, can't get it to hyperlink for some reason.

  4. Come back Kieran Lewis, all is forgiven!

  5. @Connachtman – thanks for the linkage. It seems we're of a similar mind on this one. I wonder if you could tell us more about this Griffin lad, looks a handy prospect. I saw on the Munsterfans forum, they're already hoping they can pilfer him when his contract is up. @Ronan Lyons being stuck behind Dorce and Drico held back Lewis' development. At one point he was heralded as the third best centre in Ireland, but it never really happened him. The worry was that McFadden would be the same, but I think his versatility came to the rescue last season and his spell on the wing got him to the World Cup.

  6. As yourself and a couple other people were asking for a bit of info on Griffin, I put together a little piece for ye! again, hope you don't mind me invading your blog with my own efforts! Here's to keeping those greedy Munster hands of this Connachtman eh!P.S. Still don't know how to hyperlink here so it's a copy and paste job I'm afraid! I'm sure ye'll cope…

  7. Yeah, hyperlink doesn't seem to work in comments section. Thanks for publishing that, Connachtman, we tweeted it and put the article on our facebook page.

  8. Legend man, proud to be associated with such a fine establishment!Hopefully it won't be long before we hear an oooooooooooohhhh for young Griffin!

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