Casualty Ward

On hearing the Tommy Bowe and James Cawlin injury news last week, our minds casted back to our last Southern Hemisphere tour – to New Zealand and Oz in 2010. It was a similar type of season to the current one – a shorter summer than usual for the top players (Lions Tour 2009, RWC warm-ups 2011), 2 Irish teams in the HEC semis, 2 Irish teams in the Magners/Rabo playoffs (in all likelihood) – and we were decimated by injuries, particularly in the pack, where even Ed O’Donoghue got picked.  We’re bracing ourselves for an attritional end-of-season.

That tour was 2.5 tests (counting the Maori as half a test, even though caps were not awarded), so this one will be more intense – expecting the front-liners to play three Tests in NZ in two weeks is asking a lot (Admittedly, on the rotation front, Deccie’s penchant is not for turning). Also, it would be normal to expect more season-ending injuries than the ones already announced, so we thought we would cast an eye forward, look at the players capped on that tour, and see what we can expect (or fear) in June.

Note: we are taking the selection hierarchy as per Deccie – for example, Stakhanov would be #1 choice at 4, not #4 choice as advocated by some of the underpants brigade (including us).

So, lets start by looking at who played in 2010, in order of Deccie preference and by position – we’ll start with the backs:

15: Kearney – 2, G. Murphy – 1

14, 11: Bowe – 2, Fitzgerald (inj.) – 0, Earls (inj.)- 0, Trimble – 2, Horgan – 1, J. Murphy – 1

13: You-know-who – 2, Duffy – 1

12: Dorce – 1, P. Wallace – 2

10: Sexton – 2, ROG – 1

9: O’Leary – 2, Reddan – 1

All-in-all, not bad, and a very good cadre of replacements. Of that lot, you’d only fear for sending Duffy and Johne Murphy into the House of Pain. Neither will make the squad of course, nor will Horgan (retired), Geordan Murphy (retired from Deccie-land) or O’Leary (gone to pot). Jones, Gilroy, Cave, Little Kearney and O’Halloran should go if injuries take a similar toll. Murray will be the scrum-half.

If backs decide how much matches are won by, it’s forwards who decide who wins. And the situation up front was … er … grizzly. If you are feeling squeamish, look away now.

1: Healy – 2, Horan – 1

2: Flannery – 0 (inj.), Best – 0 (inj.), Cronin – 2, J. Fogarty – 1

3: Hayes – 0 (inj.), Buckley – 2 (inj. in last test), Court – 1

4: O’Callaghan – 2, Cullen – 0 (inj.), Tuohy – 1

5: O’Connell – 0 (inj.), O’Driscoll – 2, O’Donoghue – 1

6: Ferris  – 0 (inj.), Leamy – 0 (inj.), McLaughlin – 0 (inj.), Muldoon – 1 (inj. in 1st test), Henry – 0 (needed at 8), Ruddock – 1, Ronan – 1

7: D. Wallace – 1 (inj. in 1st test), O’Brien – o (inj.), Jennings – 1, Ronan – 1

8: Heaslip – 1 (suspendedafter 1st test), Leamy – 0 (inj.), Henry – 2

Grim – that’s 13 forwards out.  We were down to (at least) the 3rd choice guy in 7 positions to get through the tour, and the seventh choice blindside. Picture an equivalent perfect storm of injuries/suspensions as above, replicated with today’s pecking order and we’d rule out: Best, Cronin, Ross, Court, O’Connell, Ryan, Ferris, O’Brien, Leamy, O’Mahony, Jennings, Heaslip and Coughlan.  Ireland could take the field for the final test with a pack of:

Healy, Varley, Archer, O’Callaghan, McCarthy, McLaughlin, Henry, Ruddock

with Sherry, Hagan, Tuohy and Muldoon in reserve.




  1. Roryokane_raz_

     /  April 16, 2012

    Id love to see a Ireland team vs Nz on the first test being.
    Kearny 23- Zebo
    Sexton 22-ROG
    Reddan 21-Murray
    Ferris 20- O’Mahony
    Ryan 19- Tuhoy
    Ross 18- Hagan
    Best 16-Cronin
    Healy 17- Court

  2. Anonymous

     /  April 16, 2012

    Give the youth a run out…

    15. Kearney
    14. Earls
    13. O’Malley
    12. McFadden
    11. Gilroy
    10. Madigan
    9. Marshall

    1. Healy
    2. Cronin
    3. Erm. Ross
    4. Toner
    5. Tuohy
    6. Ferris
    7. Henry
    8. O’Brien

    Might as well see if they sink or swim…

  3. as long as deccie picked on form i’d have no problem, but that’s unlikely – e.g. picking TOL ahead of Marshall this year? blooding too many players down here would be rugby suicide but ‘stakhanov’ and others are long overdue being put out to pasture

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