Talking Bout My Generation! (and Donncha)

As should be custom by now, Deccie delighted and infuriated, mostly in equal measure this time. For all the excitement and anticipation of the young Ulster backs, there is a Donncha O’Callaghan starting for Ireland – again!

The team for Ireland, or the Ireland XV if you don’t want to piss off Aviva, is young and largely untainted by the type of trundling dross mostly served up in green for the last 2 years – the hope is that the 10-12-13 don’t listen to their coaches and play as they would for Ulster. It’s a pity Paul Marshall wasn’t picked as well – it’s difficult to see why Murray was preferred, particularly as he is likely to start against the Pumas, and we have loads of 9s.

Paddy Jackson, Luke Marshall and Craig Gilroy all make their debuts, and they could all concievably go to the next 3 World Cups – the future is now, and it brings to 4 the number of young Ulster debutants in this series – due credit to Deccie here.

The front row contains Mike Ross, which is a risk – we saw what happened in Twickers if he gets crocked, and this isn’t exactly the World Cup final. Perhaps Michael Bent just isn’t fit enough for 80 minutes of international rugger, but he’s surely able for 50 against a cobbled-together team ranked way below us? Dave Kilcoyne will make his first start – he’s held up manfully against more powerful opponents in this years HEC, hopefully he goes well.

NWJMB continues his meteoric rise and gets his first start for Ireland – he’s joined in the pack by the hugely-deserving John Muldoon (you’d expect Henry to come back in next week), captain Jamie, Dan Tuohy and … Donncha O’Callaghan. It’s mysterious how DOC hasn’t been thanked for his service and packed up – at this stage of his career, he doesn’t bring much to the table, not even leadership qualities – recall how Devin Toner had to call the lineouts on his debut. Expect Dan Tuohy to be the far more visible second row, as he has been at HEC level for a very long time now.

Ironically, the more experimental the side is, the more confident you’d be of them playing well, as they have had less time with Ireland’s concrete coaching team to get the spontaneity coached out of them. Fiji got caned in Twickers, and anything less than a comfortable win with a few tries (we have only 2 since the Scotland game) will be a disappointment – but we think we’re going to go well.

The team in full:

D Hurley; F McFadden, D Cave, L Marshall, C Gilroy; P Jackson, C Murray; D Kilcoyne, S Cronin, M Ross, D O’Callaghan, D Tuohy, I Henderson, J Muldoon, J Heaslip

R Strauss, C Healy, M Bent, D Ryan, C Henry, P Marshall, J Sexton, S Zebo

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  1. Morton Slumber

     /  November 15, 2012

    Interesting selection alright, good to see some of the young guys get a proper run out & Johnny Muldoon deserves a go.

    I would have thought Bent would be the first name on the teamsheet, can’t quite figure that out. Unless they want the experience of Ross to guide Kilcoyne.

    Why is Sexton on the bench ahead of ROG? can’t figure that out at all.

    • Can’t work out Ross selection either. They’ve put their heavy hitters on the bench, in case they need a dig out I presume, hence inclusion of Sexto. Wouldn’t surprise me if ROG was in the doghouse after last week’s feckless decision to kick the ball away in dead time!

      • Morton Slumber

         /  November 16, 2012

        ROG has a lot to answer for with that kick alright -if a younger player had done that there’d have been uproar from the media

  2. Bowe Gathers

     /  November 15, 2012

    Fantastic news, and credit to Pope Benedeccie (oh so begrudgingly) for picking such an inexperienced side. Pity not to see McFads at 12, where he ought to be, as I think this might be a step too far for Luke Marshall at this stage.
    It’s a bit of a win/ win here; if we hockey them then the New Kids on the Block will have all the confidence in the world, which ought to ameliorate their inevitable dropping next week, and set them up nicely to take over whenever the powers that be hold their next papal conclave. So chuffed to see all the young Ulster boys get a crack at the whip too, this is the least they deserve and (as an Ulster fan) all we’ve been asking for under the past two administrations. After last week this is literally the only thing that could have made me feel any better, to the extent that I’m risking some absolutely terrible themed pop: Vive l’Aviva!

  3. pedantic pete

     /  November 15, 2012

    Hmmm, not sure I’m completely with you on this one guys, re: the picking of Donners, Ross and Murray..

    Seems to me he had little option but to pick Stakhanov, given the shift put in by the other two 2’nd rows last weekend, and their certainty to play against Argentina. Are there other 2’nd rows in the squad that I’m missing?

    In any event, you do need SOME continuity/experience in the side, hence why Ross and Murray were also picked, and I can’t see them playing more than 50 mins..

    Your point re Sexton being surrounded by Leinster Backs on his debut is a valid one, but those Leinster backs were waaay more experienced that the Ulster ones surrounding Jackson this time round, which is why I think wee Paul doesn’t start.. and I’d be very disappointing if he doesn’t get a solid half hour to show his worth.

    For me anyway, its been tactics and not selection that’s been the problem in the last 5/6 games.

    • You are missing Henderson – who is actually a second row (also Toner and Caldwell for those who want to count them).

      Ross looks absolutely knackered. I really hope he doesn’t come out of these internationals injured for Leinster.

      Fully agree the main problem is tactics (or absence of a gameplan and ethos) but poor selection (either not based on form or players out of position) only compounds matters.

    • pedantic pete

       /  November 15, 2012

      true but Henderson hasn’t been playing there for Ulster. In fact, and I’m trying to think here, but has he ever made Senior Ulster start at second row? Fully agree that’s where his future is..

      The others (rightly or wrongly) just aren’t in the squad.

      I agree on Ross though, but the risk of having two debutante props lining out in the same game was probably a risk too far for Deccie. Here’s hoping for an early (unforced) shower for him on Sat.

  4. It is exciting to see some players finally being blooded by design, rather than injury-enforced necessity.

    The major ‘but’ is the Murray call. The XV game counts for nothing and should be a good opportunity to try out new players i.e. a future Ireland scrum half Paul Marshall. Not only will we learn nothing by starting Murray, he should also been given a break to allow him and his coaches to work on his major deficienies, namely two of the central aspects of a scrumhalf’s game: distribution and box-kicking – both of which were very prominent last weekend.

    Hurley is not an international. He is not even first choice 15 for Munster’s big games. It would have been great to see Zebo given another shot at 15. If the management really believes Zebo is a 15 – and it seems an inspired decision – then give him a chance to prove it.

    Would also have like to finally see McFadden played in position at 12 (not out of position at wing or 13) for Ireland finally. It is some solace to see Luke Marshall there, even if he is possibly only 3rd choice at Ulster.

    Can’t see why a knackered Mike Ross is starting…nor what Muldoon is doing at 7. Would have liked to see Tuohy and Henderson in the second row, with Muldoon, Henry and Heaslip in the back row.

    • Jimbob

       /  November 15, 2012

      I don’t think Deccy cares about Murray’s poor box-kicking – it’s part of his gameplan (the kicking, not the poor part). Remember Tomas “box-kick” O’Leary? That’s all I remember Kidney’s scrum-halves doing. Shite tactic but Deccy loves it and we’ll have to persevere until he’s gone.

  5. Anonymous

     /  November 15, 2012

    Agree that Ross is a bad call he looked very tired last week and next a week match will be pretty tough so you’d think they’d have rested him. Also agree that adding McF to the centre would give you some experience and maybe make things a wee bit easier on Cave, whom I’m delighted to see get his start. I think he has real potential to step up and take the 13 jersey off Earls (after Decci goes obviously). Murray is another bad call but Decci seems oblivious to his failings. DOC has been over the hill since last year an really adds nothing (bar penalty count). I assume that sexton’s on the bench because either ROG is injured again, can’t be arsed (unlikely) or last weeks performance was the final straw (highly unlikely). I’m actually looking forward to seeing how the new boyz get on. Haven’t felt this way before an Ireland game in a while.

  6. Paul Marshall should absolutely be starting, Muldoon should absolutely not be in at 7, where he’d be a possible 4th choice backup option at Connacht behind Faloon, JOC and Grace. Play him at 6 or don’t play him at all. If anything, instead of decrying a lack of 7 options Faloon should be given a shot, he would also be quite at home with the large Ulster contingent.

    Lest I be accused of far too much pro-Ulster bias 😉 I don’t see what Luke Marshall has achieved this year to merit the start. Off the bench, maybe, but he’s not starting for Ulster. Either McFadden or McSharry would be better starting. I hope I’m wrong, but I think they’ve taken a shot at a decent team and then conspired to add their own daft twists.

    • ummm, from your venerated position as our go-to man for more in-depth information on Connacht players than we can obtain ourselves, how is Faloon’s form gong over there in the west over the first couple of months of the season?

  7. Scrumdog

     /  November 15, 2012

    Great blog..far better than reading our ‘IRFU kissing’ rugby journalists drivel!

  8. I’m sure both GT and Tony Ward will be tut-tutting at the ‘anonymous vitriol of cowards’ on this ‘pitiful website’… 🙂
    Zebo needs game time @ 15, nothing gained with Hurley. McFadden out of position again, despite surplus of wings. Our best scrumhalf warms the bench. Ross risked in a nothing game? No more locks in Ireland? Muldoon is a 7?
    Bizarre selections, even by this regime’s standards. Sad to see us lurching from one crisis to the next with no strategy, as again evidenced by selection.
    Bring back Portugese Paddy; if he was good enough to fly around the world to face BNZ, surely he’s good enough to face Fiji, lol.

  9. paddy

     /  November 15, 2012

    Not happy with this selection, but it’s been a while since I have been so I shouldn’t be surprised. The inclusion of DOC generally does that for me. That said I think will give him a good chance to show he still has something to offer against moire weak opposition. He’s been way past it for so long now, but Deccie found an excuse to include him in the 6 nations squad and I expect him to take it.

    McFadden got screwed again! He’s now behind Sexton and Luke Marshall (whose behind Paddy Wallace in Ulster (who is probably ahead of McFadden(who did you screw) in Ireland))Not sure where I’m going here but I’m sure Wallace is still in the mix there somewhere. Luckily for McFadden, ROG isn’t in the team, otherwise he’d be behind Jackson as well.

    I’m gonna piss on Ulster fans parade here. I don’t see this as building for the future. To quote Axel Foley the Ireland management are (as always) concentrating on the game in front of them (and absolutely nothing else).

    The Ulster player I most wanted to see get a start was Paul Marshall and he’s on the bench so I suppose I should be happy that he’ll at least get a cap(possibly a minute like Leo Cullen did against France). He was probably never gonna get the nod ahead of Jackson at outhalf as we have plenty of 9s and ROG is getting the P45 at the end of the 2013 season. I still think he’ll be thought of as too young when the time comes.

    Gilroy is a good winger(we’ve a few of those), and who knows, he might even be in the running for 12. But the players I think with the most to gain are Cave and Tuohy (mainly), then Henderson. He’ll still be behind Fez, O’Brien & POM for 6, but it might help him push for lock in the future. They’ve got a chance to put in a good performance against weak opposition and they need to take it.

    Ulster fans have a fair point about being overlooked. But these players aren’t all first choice and for the most part play behind a good pack(Tuohy being the lone 1st choice rep of said pack). And usually off a quality scrum half like Piennar or Marshall. I’d rate the starting Ulster pack better than the Irish pack for Fiji. Don’t be surprised if they come away being told “You’re not good enough” -Tony or “Your still too young start ROG at 10 and Sexton at 12” -George.

    I wishtehm the best of Luck but I think they could struggle without a coherent attack plan behind a stuttering pack.

    Hurley at fullback……….He must of pissed off a couple of people that’d they’d tease him like that. Yeah you’ll be moved up the pecking order if every other wing who can catch and kick drops out with injury. He has as much chance of playing there again in a serious test match as John Muldoon at 7(as above 6 or nothing else). Where does Keatley figure?

  10. Rich

     /  November 15, 2012

    Refreshing –

    However – it is as we thought, a mix of “great to see him getting a run” and “what the hell is he doing there”

    Heaslip has the chance to show us what he can do, expecting him to step up, but i still cant get my head around the obsession we have with playing guys out of position, Henderson is a 4 playing 6 and Muldoon is a nailed on 6 playing 7?

    Anyways – I think the Murray selection is to give him a confidence boost against a supposidly weaker defence, whilst i am all for getting rid of the old gen, Murray is still young (marshall is 27), Marshall will get 20 mins at the end, probably at fullback, just the way we like it.

    Other than that – Sexton on the bench coming on at 12 could spell pints being dropped all over the nation – the “usual suspects” jigsaw coming together realisation that ROG is starting at 10 against Arg with Sexton at 12…….

  11. Leinsterlion

     /  November 15, 2012

    Is there anyone left in Ireland (barring the minister for propaganda and Hook) who actually thinks DOC or ROG have anything left to offer ? Any Munster fans? Were is their continued selection coming from? Im honestly baffled.
    Average and baffling selection,continues Eddies or Gert Small hatred for opensides by selecting Muldoon. And we wonder why we struggle for fluency with no 7’s on the park….Is Muldoon better then Jennings at openside?
    McFadden on the wing? Utterly pointless, maybe he should squeal to his mates in the press and get selected at center..
    Hurley,good selection,see what he has to offer, discard if he doesnt do anything.
    I dont understand the Irish reticence when picking players. Olly Barkley was picked for England before he played for Bath,this game means nothing,throw out the likes of Conway, Peter O’Mahoney at 8(his supposed position) Jordi Murphy et al see what they can do.
    We need the cavalier attitude of a Lieveremont, Blood young guys in meaningless games give them the “experience” that everyone is going on about. I mean what are we going to learn about Murray, R Strauss, C Healy, J Heaslip, D Ryan, C Henry, J Sexton, S Zebo(well i’d be in favour of an extended run at FB for him,but you get the point) from this game?
    The conservatism and “winning the next game at all costs” is the problem that has bedeviled the national team since the inception of professionalism. We need to start building for 2015!!!!!!

    • Leinsterlion

       /  November 15, 2012

      *Freudian slip there,meant to say Deccies not Eddies. Severe case of Deja Vu, its 2008 all over again

      • RedLigind

         /  November 16, 2012

        Munster fan here. Like many Munster fans ROG I feel is thoroughly past it, long before his futile and foolish chip kick against SA. It’s like he doesn’t care any more and he is stalling Keatley’s development by being there as young Ian has been very good. As for DOC, even an improvement in form this season doesn’t warrant national team selection. Billy Holland has been more impressive for Munster and Dave Foley has done well.
        I did say I was a Munster fan so alas one statement I have to make is the level of criticism Murray gets in massive and I find it unbelievable. His service is quick contrary to all the anti-Munster bias stating otherwise, his defense is superb and his sniping ability is good. He has played well this year (barring Racing in Paris) and if we’re talking about players for the future he is far more deserving than Marshall who is 27 and can’t start for Ulster. Murray is getting criticism that other young players don’t get it and I find ir unfair. Against SA he played well and was in no way responsible for the defeat.

        • Scrumdog

           /  November 16, 2012

          I agree regarding Billy Holland, he has flown under the radar recognition wise and is a thoroughly committed player on the field. He had a stormer against the All Blacks in ’08, and many more since, and that was five years ago. He plays lock or back row. and has built a wealth of experience with Munster and led Munster A. Holland has much to offer going forward.

        • Welcome to the site RedLigind. Great post. We , too, had a sense that there was a fecklessness about ROG’s kick, and he gave a sort of ho-hum shrug of the shoulders that was caught on camera after the whistle had gone.

          Murray played no better or worse than most around him, and you’re right, his form this season is good. His pass is fast and smooth once it gets moving – his weakness is a slowness to get the ball away from the ruck. The only reason we’d look past him for this game is because he’s nailed on to start agsinst Argentina – it’s not a criticism of him as such.

          We’d reiterate that our issue at the moment isn’t so much with the personnel selected than the style in which they play, to the extent that there is one.

      • Jimbob

         /  November 16, 2012

        Murray is getting a lot of flak, true, but his performances have been well below par. His service is not quick, laboured getting to each ruck and stepping through every pass he makes. The box-kicking is horrendous although i put this down to Deccy’s over-reliance on that tactic and forcing his scrumhalves to play it time and time again. Defensively he is good, agreed, but that’s not a scrumhalves primary job. He still has massive potential and with the right coaching can be excellent but it’s just not working right now.
        With regards to Marshall (who also has his flaws) he’s second choice to arguably the best SH in world rugby and is pushing him for selection; all other Irish scrumhalves would be behind Ruan Pienaar. He brings a different edge to the game and has performed superbly this season and last. Maybe he’s not as good as Murray, maybe he’s better, we won’t find out unless he’s given a decent stint on the field.
        For the Fiji game there’s merit in selecting either Murray or marshall. As for the Argentina game, I’d start Reddan with Marshall on the bench;the Reddan/Sexton combo is proven to work and Marshall can provide extra spark when legs are getting tired.

      • Leinsterlion

         /  November 16, 2012

        Good points RedLigind. Holland should be in for this game at least. Im afraid im in the anti Murray camp, I think the jury is still out on him.He hasnt shown he deserves his spot ahead of Redden( who has that “experience” everyones going on about).

  12. Chris

     /  November 15, 2012

    AHHHHH!!! Was excited when I saw the BBC headline, “Uncapped Ulster Trio in Ireland XV” but then I read the article and discovered Paul Marshall was on the bench and Luke Marshall was getting the run, poor Fergie McFads!

    Team should be (in my humble opinion):

    Zebo- gains further confidence at 15
    Earls- he’s a winger let’s play him there
    McFadden- needs to get a run at 12 to see what he can do
    P Marshall- what does he have to do to get a shot

    Bent- if he’s not fit enough he won’t get any fitter sitting on the bench, start him and then pull him if he starts blowing
    Henderson- so what he doesn’t play here for Ulster, that doesn’t stop Deccie shoehorning everyone else into positions they don’t play regularly
    Heaslip- all three bring together a balanced back row which is an area where Fiji were strong against England, Qera is a machine!

    And all this nonsense about needing Ross to add experience to the front row for an International, this is Fiji, scrummaging is their least favourite thing to do on a rugby field, just ahead of kick for corners!

  13. terrace dweller

     /  November 15, 2012

    Sorry to rock the Leinster boat but whilst McFadden is a solid player n he has had his chances but still has not made the break through even with D’Arcy fading rapidly. I have been very impressed every time Luke Marshall has appeared for Ulster.
    He has a real magic touch and I genuinely think that before the seasons over he will have replaced Wallace in the Ulster starting line up. He missed. Couple of games through injury earlier this season but he is real prospect.

    • Anonymous

       /  November 16, 2012

      D’Arcy showed why he merits selection in the second test in NZ where he kept SBW in check, and merits a lot of respect for locking up the 10-12 channel when O’Gara was playing inside him! He may have lost a little pace but should be deployed on a rotation basis with McFadden so McFadden can really learn the ‘what’s what ‘ at test level in the inside position.
      McFadden needs more playing time at 12. I have little doubt that this is the way to blood players and it is the method the All Blacks use!

      • Scrumdog

         /  November 16, 2012

        Sorry, that was a post from Scrumdog.

      • Leinsterlion

         /  November 16, 2012

        I’m not a big fan of McFadden however he should have been given his chance in the November internationals at 12. If he wasnt up to it we could then move down the pecking order until we find someone who. If we didnt find anyone,revert to Darce and start the process all over again. As it stands we have no one in the frame to replace Darce and we are looking at him starting the 6n,which isnt good for Irish rugby.

    • McFadden has never had a chance in his actual position of inside centre for Ireland. Instead of playing him out of position and musing over the mixed results, it would be nice to see him given at least one shot in position. Is Marshall even the second choice 12 at Ulster? Don’t get me wrong, it is good to see us finally trying someone new at 12 but McFadden would be justified in being bemused to have been passed over again.

  14. Hurley? Truly what is the point? He’s a poor player and we gain nothing from his selection. Picking someone like Henshaw (or even LOD) would also be a risk, but also a risk with a big upside. If the Hurley risk doesn’t get punished then that’s it, there’s no other benefit aside from that. I get to two hands when counting the better, available options than Hurley at 15.

    Never mind the fact that Zebo is the one player that most needed retaining in position to further help him get used to playing 15.

    And for those on about Ferg, he is obviously a completely different class of player to Hurley, but he really just isn’t international standard either. Marshall is the right choice for 12, and I’d rather McSharry in there before Ferg. Ferg isn’t even trusted too much by Schmidt to play in the center, and if we’re being honest, all he really brings to the wing is speed.

    Selection though, as always, will prove a pointless exercise if the coaching brain trust can force their gameplan (ha!) onto the players.

  15. Mike

     /  November 16, 2012

    Got to agree with most of the points here…

    Ross – surely they aren’t worried about the Fiji front row…? Bent needs game time

    McFadden – Give him a fair crack at 12.

    DoC – Bit of Munster experience at Thormond isnt a bad idea, and we have a stack of 2nd row injuries, but don’t make a habit of it…..

    Murray – Still getting the ball out too slowly. Needs to sharpen up before Argentina. If he doesn’t though, he has to be dropped.

    Muldoon – Great player, but it would need an extraordinary set of circumstances for him to play 7 in the six nations, so whats the point…

    RoG – No caps so it doesnt help Deccies plan of making him the most capped ever. Save him for a full cap fixture. Regardless of form.

  16. Bushmills

     /  November 17, 2012

    On the subject of youth selections for the future, what has happened to JJ Hanrahan? Correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t he the star of the U20 World Cup alongside Ian Henderson? I watched the recent Munster v Cardiff game on TV and amidst the generally dire display all round, Ian Keatly playing at 12 was a notable highlight. Clearly he is a talented footballer and has good size and seemed to slot naturally into the “2nd 5/8” position.

    Post ROG, isn’t a natural solution for Munster (and perhaps Ireland) Hanrahan at 10 and Keatly at 12? Has that combo even been tried yet?

  17. Scrumdog

     /  November 17, 2012

    There’s a lot of rugby talent around the provinces (reading this Tony Ward?) its a matter of those players being developed for the positions they’ll play in and given the opportunity to step up. Not just ‘favoured’ out of form players started and others slotted and shuffled into a second choice position a la Earls a winger to 13; McFadden a 12 to wing, Sexton to 12 to accommodate ‘has been’ ROG (with due respect!). Munster will need two top outhalves to rotate after ROG hangs up his boots but I agree it would be interesting to see a Hanrahan -Keatly axis. Why, oh why, Muldoon at 7 when the need is there to discover how our young sevens will perform at a higher level? Hopefully Murray will be pulled early and Marshall will play from the third quarter and a full 60 so we can get a good look at what he can do…a possible second Colin Patterson here!

    Let’s move on past O’Connell and BOD dont just slot them back into the starting lineup…put them on the bench…..and only if they’re in form!! Make them earn a recall to the jersey!

    Good luck to all the young tyros today! Kidney’s ‘reign of terror’ is almost over!

  18. That was an utterly abject Fiji performance. Ireland learnt nothing from it. However, Gilroy, Marshall, Henderson, McFadden and Jackson all took their opportunities.

  19. Rich

     /  November 18, 2012

    You can only play what’s I front of you

    Young players high on confidence playing an expansive and powerful game? The shackles needed ripped off and those young players did so. Those centres ate a breath of fresh air, and Gilroy must have ousted Trimble now…….

    Obvs we know we won t get so much ground or gaps In defence against Argentina, but did the backline vs SA show they would any better? I d rather see those young pups have a rattle. I would say Ireland learned a few things –

    – even under no pressure Murray cannot execute/ understand a box kick
    – our attack in close quarters is too predictable
    -our depth at hooker is stronger than we thought
    – we need to identify no 8 cover going into 6 nations
    -Jackson is now backup 10 to sexton

    • Luke Marshall looks the real deal; didn’t think Cave really shone though (certainly not compared to Marshall, Gilroy and McFadden) – he did fine but Fiji were truly shocking. Exciting as Gilroy was, I wouldn’t be surprised if Deccie switched Trimble for McFadden (who also had a stormer and would be a ‘safer bet’ for Kidney).

      To be fair to Murray, he played the team in front of him: attacking the fringes a lot and defending well when needed. It is poor management to force him into a strategy (box kicking) that he clearly cannot execute.

      O’Mahony is your 8 cover for the 6 Nations: whether you like it or not.

      • Scrumdog

         /  November 18, 2012

        Absolutely do not like the idea of O’Manoney included in any backrow unit. He’s provincial level at best. The Argies will have watched video and will set him up for penalties and antagonize him into retaliation and possibly even a red card….he’d be a target. We know the this match is going to be tempestous at best and the Argies are bringing more than usual!!

        The backrow is a problem with so many out injured and retired. Shane Jennings at 7 with Heaslip and Henry (6) would bring some balance to the back row unit and competition at the collisions.

        Who is Murray’s skills coach….where’s the ‘one movement’ sweep pass? Does he practice box kicking? Not a test level scrum half, given too many chances!

        Marshall is worth a run at center (with D’Arcy on the bench) and brings an ‘X’ factor to the game. Paddy Jackson on the bench may be premature but hey, we’ve got little else! Cave and Gilroy to get a start, with L. Marshall, Zebo,Bowe Sexton and Reddan? This will be a full bore test match and is worth the risk once covered on the bench.

  20. Anybody slagging off DOC feeling a bit silly now? He was miles better than Tuohy.

    Marshall has to start next weekend. He showed more in 80 minutes than McFadden has in the entire season to date and we can’t afford another D’Arcy horrowshow like the 2nd half against South Africa.

    • We’ve recognised DOC’s better form this season, and have been clear that Tuohy hasn’t been in the same form as last yer. We flagged in advance that our preffered pick for the SA game was McCarthy, who got the nod and played great. Neither of the players you mention did enough to oust him, and it’ll be McCarthy again this week.

      • Scrumdog

         /  November 19, 2012

        With all of the work DOC has put in since before the RWC he’s entitled to have a mediocre season. No player can keep at the top of his game indefinitely. He was duly benched when his form dipped. Donners is not finished yet and we need his experience around and he will last longer in the mix than the now injury prone POC

    • paddy

       /  November 20, 2012

      Marshall had a good game… against weak opposition.TBF a rabo game would have been harder than that. When was the last time you saw a provinical side run in 53 unansered points. The closest Ican think of was Leinster against a shite cardiff side. We can argue the merits of either player but he has pedigree(he’s won stuff – Marshall hasn’t yet), and I think he deserves a run out in that position given that he is cover for it. he’s been moved to 12 umpteen times without ever starting and thats unlikely to change.

      Gilroy was class. Not just talking about the tries. hope he pushes out Trimble soon

  21. Not so sure about that Scrumdog. Donners made his career out of tailoring his game to be POC’s rotweiler, doing all the ‘unseen’ work. The model was hugely successful when he had the energy levels to hit countless rucks and make umpteen tackles around the fringes. When POC is absent he usually looks a fairly limited player, because he doesn’t really have the skills to play the ‘senior partner’ role. That said, he’s making a good effort to play Rob Penney’s game and get involved a little bit wider out than he’s used to, so fair due and all that.

    Also, the game has evolved a little bit in the last few years, and the increased force of mauls and scrums generally calls for an absolute brute at tighthead lock, which explains the preference for McCarthy right now.

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