Deccie’s Zygotic Mynci

The Irish squad for New Zealand is out. Albeit the first cut before the rest of the injuries.

There are 4 places still to be filled: a loose-head prop, likely Brett Wilkinson (it appears Tom Court is rubbish injured), a second row if Paulie doesn’t recover, a back-row if Chris Henry doesn’t make it and a scrum-half if Hugo “Isaac” Boss doesn’t make it i.e. places for Horan, Micko, Tommy O’Donnell and Tomas O’Leary.

Here’s our initial thoughts:

  • It’s good to see Sherry and Fitzpatrick going – tight-head is a place of low depth, but as we have discussed before, we have players, it’s just they don’t get picked, so we can’t know if they are good enough
  • Dan Tuohy (at last!) makes a non-extended squad – let’s hope he gets in the team ahead of Stakhanov.  I know we’re approaching broken record status on this, but O’Callaghan has done very little this season to keep getting picked.  As a senior player in the Ospreys Debacle he was particularly culpable.
  • Kevin McLaughlin is seriously unlucky – his leadership, versatility and form over the last months probably deserved a call-up (admittedly backrow is competitive). Given the usual mounting up of injuries, we still think we will see him out there before the last test
  • Despite being in the best form of his career, there is no place for Paddy Wallace. It seems Darren Cave is a direct replacement, and Earls is a winger again
  • Bob is the only specialist full-back, and it looks like Earls is his backup
  • The squad is short on specialist wingers, but Earls and McFadden are wingers in Deccie’s world
  • Simon Zebo is blessed, Little Bob and (especially) Craig Gilroy are much more rounded players – the All Black wingers will have him for breakfast without so much as a burp. 
  • It’s a real shame Ian Madigan didn’t get the nod.  Unlike many in a breakout season, he has kept his form up right to the end.  It was a real opportunity to bring a player who will go on to win many caps into the fold and show him what it’s all about

All in all, it’s a squad that’s got Deccie written all over it.  It’s nice to see names like Cave, Tuohy and Sherry involved, but we suspect they’ll be spending more of their time familarising themselves with the coffee machines than playing test rugby.  Ah well, we’re used to it by now.

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19 Comments

  1. Sboz

     /  May 21, 2012

    Utterly predictable as always from Kidney. Who’s he trying to kid any more? ROG and DO’C shouldn’t be on the flight, and Zebo is flakey in the extreme in defence.

    Why no Dave Kearney? Is it because his province strip is too blue for Deco? He’s a safer pair of hands and in the tackle than Zebo… And surely Kevin McLaughlin has a place too – he had a great game on Saturday.

    Kidney really needs to go. I will never understand why the IRFU keeps renewing contracts so that they end mid-world cup cycle. Start afresh, try new things out…

    In contrast, we have a coach who can’t activate the most exciting back line in European history (i.e. Leinster’s back line) and who seems to be blindly loyal to a bunch of struggling players in a struggling province who don’t deserve their places (two of whom, arguably, are struggling to get a spot on their own provincial teams).

    Madness!

  2. anoonamous

     /  May 21, 2012

    I’d go along with that. I think we’ll have to wait post Lions tour for the Irish press to do their job and start questioning DK. I can see it now, Sexton the star of a victorious (if Welsh driven) Lions team and the penny drops. Sexton is brilliant under Cheika, Schmidt & now Gatland. Maybe the forward orientated coach, who has never ignited a backline, is the reason Ireland aren’t getting the best out of their players. Maybe loyalty, while admirable, should not be blind…

  3. Tich

     /  May 21, 2012

    Have to agree with above,Zebo too raw for NZ.What does Mc Loughlin have to do,and what a wasted opportunity to give Madigan a run.O Callaghan well past sell by date,but Deccies loyalty knows no bounds.

  4. HenryFitz

     /  May 21, 2012

    In what sense was O’Callaghan particularly culpable in the defeat to the Ospreys? He didn’t miss tackles; he wasn’t standing out on the wing like Mick O’Driscoll; he wasn’t turned over in the tackle; he hit the rucks as usual. It wasn’t his fault the team’s tactics were cribbed from the Western Farce playbook. Sure, his continuing presence in the Irish team is questionable, but he really did very little wrong against the Os. The blame for that one lies elsewhere.

    I also don’t see why his selection for the tour is the cause of so much despair. Who else is there? McCarthy, Toner, Cullen? They’re decent players, but hardly likely to give the Kiwis any worries. O’Callaghan was at least Lions class twice, and is still the superior player, albeit that he has not had a good season.

    • ABROG

       /  May 21, 2012

      Have a look at his stats for the 6N.

    • HenryFitz

       /  May 21, 2012

      Had a look at the stats for the 6N. DOC wins all his lineouts (the few that Ireland throw to the front), misses one tackle a season, is the most disciplined lock-forward in the 6N, but isn’t much of a carrier or a turnover specialist. Then there’s what the stats don’t say: he hits a lot of rucks, stops momentum with his tackles and holds up his side of the scrum unless there’s a deck-chair propping in front of him. He does what’s asked of him. He wasn’t as prominent as last year, but it would be hard to blame him for any of the dropped points in the 6N, though I’m sure plenty will try if it saves speedbump McFadden, traffic-policeman Kearney and accordion Court from any unfair scapegoating.

      • toro toro

         /  May 21, 2012

        Unseen work!

        “Speedbump McFadden”? Nice try.

      • ABROG

         /  May 21, 2012

        Go back to defending Hugh.

      • ‘He does what’s asked of him’. That just ain’t cutting it HenryFitz and I suspect you know it. Look at the difference between his and Ryan’s performances this 6N. Forget the stats, just look with your eyes. Whatever he brings, it wasn’t enough for Munster to pick him even when their backrow was decimated for the quarter final and they could easily have stuck Ryan at 6 and avoided throwing in a rookie in O’Donnell.

        Listen, nobody wants to be here castigating a player who has given his all for his country, won over 80 caps and played every match in the Slam year – but time moves on, the game moves on, and grunt locks like O’Callaghan who are neither monster-enforcers like Bakkies Botha or Thorn or decent footballers like Tuohy or Ryan just don’t cut it these days.

  5. Christ it just gets worse at a national level! Yet another tired predictable selection from DK, the highs of the HC are now counterbalanced by the lows of ‘Deccies’ unimaginative conservatism. No Paul Marshall or Kevin McLaughlin, Jesus does he seriously believe DOC just be in the squad! No Dave Kearney or Mick McCarthy! O’Gara ahead of Madigan, where is Jame O’Hagen. It’s the same dreary shit from a coach long since by his sell by date. The Kiwis won’t lie awake worrying about Ireland, they must be laughing at this selection. No doubt there’ll be the usual crap about a tough game and how the Irish are tough opponents… How much longer does the IRFU think they can bike fans for tickets when this is the sort of rubbish backward selection that is the leit motif of Kidney’s tenure.

  6. Ruckinhell

     /  May 22, 2012

    A real pity that Madigan isn’t going, another self perpetuating cycle of BullHayesitis; this induces an urge to keep selecting a stalwart who is on a downward cycle and a procilitivity of citing the lack of “experienced” alternatives as a reason for doing so. Symptoms include the test case which made this famous, John Hayes, and one Ronan O’Gara. Only one known sufferer, a former teacher and spokesperson for the Talking in Circles Party. Madigan is good enough, and brings a completely different style to the table. We all know what ROG can do, and more importantly, we know what he can’t do at this stage.

    Zebo is a very raw player who was atrocious against the Ospreys but you can’t argue with his try scoring rate this year, 12 in 23 starts (4 off bench) is an excellent strike rate. By comparison, Gilroy has 6 from 29 games (27+2) and Kearney 3 from 21 (19+ 2). In a team with very little out and out pace, he could be a valuable commodity and try scoring should be the bread and butter of what wingers are measured by. He has serious deficiencies in his game but has the potential to be an outstanding Test winger if he works hard on these.

    • No arguing with the strike rate for sure, and agree that players with out and out pace, being as rare as hen’s teeth in this country, are hugely valuable. Interestingly, Gilroy had a phenomenal strike rate last season (8 in 14 appearances) but dimproved as a player this year. We probably would have had room for both of them (as an aside, why is the squad so small? I expected 32-34 to be named in the party?).

  7. Ruckinhell

     /  May 22, 2012

    I assume if you are only going to pick from a pool of 25 “trusted” players why take any more than 30? Deccie’s general reluctance to trust youth bar the usually cited examples (Earls when he first broke into the Munster team and Murray last year) is coming home to roost in Munster at the moment, where the dearth of decent 24-28 year old players is absolute stark and can be traced back to the lack of chances that guys from this age group were given in the 2005-2009 seasons. Succession Planning was not a forte of Kidney and it remains the case.

    While I’m reluctant to join the usual rabble of keyboard warriors who’ve been screaming “Kidney out” for the last few seasons, I can’t shake the horrible sense that this is groundhog day and we’re back in the final dark days of the EOS regime. Kidney is in many way a very different kettle of fish from Mr. “Ducks in a Row” (insert further cliché here), but the two are remarkably similar with regards to their “sticking to their guns” selection policy.

    • I agree with your comments, but I think DK has got a fair crack of the whip. But now the gap in performance between the Provinces and the National side are now too great to ignore. This was an opportunity to bring on the younger players and he bottled it. DOC has been a great servant but is now past his best ROG should also be left at home how else are we going to bring on the next Sextons. Overall my real concern is not just the predictability if the squad but the certainty that the tactics will not change either. SOB, will be reduced a crash bang merchant. Fez likely to go MIA, BOD and POC should be left at home to rest. No imagination and yet another nail in our international rugby reputation

  8. Ben Murphy

     /  May 28, 2012

    I have to laugh at the opinion of someone who wants Jamie Hagan included. He swapped Heineken Cup rugby for playing against Plymouth Albion and then he got injured.
    The Ireland team is not a pre-season warm up for the Leinster Academy lads.
    You want to go to New Zealand without our most experienced out half? You want to go without the one lock who really anchors a scrum (ask the props he helps!)?
    Madigan had a good season, yes, but he has to earn the Irish jersey.
    Zebo is going because he is a left wing – look at the balance of the squad. Gilroy and Kearney both right wing. Kearney very very unlucky to miss out though. Also I think O’Malley would have travelled if he had stayed injury free.
    Also look at the players Kidney has brought in: Healy, Cronin, Ryan, O’Mahony, Murray, Sexton, McFadden, Earls

  9. @Ben Murphy. Whatever about laughing at anyone, we agree Jamie Hagan has no business being near the squad. He’s barely done anything in 2012, and his last outing of note was getting minced in a home defeat to the Ospreys.

    I’m not sure about any of the rest of these points. Dan Tuohy packs down on the tighthead side for Ulster, and they’ve scrummaged well this season. I don’t think that stacks up as a reason to pick O’Callaghan, who has been woeful all season.

    Not convinced O’Malley would have made it. BOD was back in any case, so his gametime was going to be limited at Leinster, and Cave and Earls finished the season strongly.

    Gilroy plays left wing. He wears 11 and Trimble 14 – think back to his try v Munster scored down the left touchline.

    This business of ‘earning the jersey’ is the thinking that’s gotten us (and Munster, you could argue) into this mess in the first place. Nobody on Team WoC takes anything ROG has done for Ireland for granted but he can’t go on forever. This season we’ve started to see his form tail off a little bit – it looks like age is finally catching up with the great man. Rather than waiting until the last possible second to start bedding in his replacement (see: John Hayes) Ireland could adopt a forward thinking model and start grooming him now, so he’s a bit of experience for the day when he’s actually needed. Crazy I know, but it works for other countries.

    Lastly, all of those players you list are complete no brainers, I hardly see how Kidney can take much credit for them. It would have taken a very, very strange coach indeed not to have capped Healy, Earls and Sexton by now. If anything, Kidney was reluctant to pick Donnacha Ryan rather than keen to bring him through. As for Cronin, Kidney barely gave him a game during his time at Munster, and he got booted down to Connacht.

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