The Horror!

Joke shop selection! Honeymoon over! Schmidt out!

Those are some the balanced reactions to Joe Schmidt – gasp – dropping Conor Murray for Eoin Reddan for the visit of the red-hot (when beating up on not-England) Wobblies. You can see what he is trying to do – put some pace on the ball and run at the Wallabies, but its a big surprise – we’d have gone for Murray. Sure, Reddan might have looked spritely against a beaten side, but he’s been pretty sub-standard most of the season and he can consider himself lucky.

Schmidt had a habit of picking Reddan for the big home games for Leinster, and its one he has continued in green. Murray hasn’t done a huge amount wrong, but Schmidt is playing the squad competition card, and its also clearly a horses-for-courses selection. Its also a massive risk, for not only is Reddan’s form unimpressive but has the potential to the fans hung up (again) on interprovincial rivalries.

The big guns roll back into the pack in the form of DJ Church, Paul O’Connell and Sean O’Brien – this is where Ireland look notably stronger than the Wobs and could be the winning of the game. Likewise, Luke Marshall and Johnny Sexton is an upgrade in quality and has a really nice balance.

Off the bench, Murray can make a difference, and Ian Madigan and Robbie Henshaw have been picked for their versatility. And its great to see Henshaw get rewarded for some sparkling form out Wesht.

The Wallabies are gaining confidence under Ewen McKenzie and the new team is taking shape – this won’t be easy, but it is winnable. Tingles.

Rob Kearney; Tommy Bowe, Brian O’Driscoll, Luke Marshall, Fergus McFadden; Jonathan Sexton, Eoin Reddan; Cian Healy, Rory Best, Mike Ross; Devin Toner, Paul O’Connell; Peter O’Mahony, Sean O’Brien, Jamie Heaslip. Replacements: Sean Cronin, Jack McGrath, Stephen Archer, Mike McCarthy, Kevin McLaughlin, Conor Murray, Ian Madigan, Robbie Henshaw.

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59 Comments

  1. He who shan’t be named’s disdain for Toner is feckin funny too!

  2. Patrick

     /  November 14, 2013

    It might seem harsh but as an Englishman our lack of squad rotation and experimentation this Autumn has been depressing. If your not going to squad rotate during November internationals then when? If this match confirms Reddan as an international non-starter then its served its purpose of identifying wheat from the chaff, it might be a detriment to the team on the day but a benefit in the long run. Although Ireland really should be targeting this test as a must win imho.

  3. Ger Gilroy

     /  November 14, 2013

    Good to see the Munster bashing is more specific in the second post of the day. Don’t think I have ever heard ye mention another journos place of birth?

    • Don’t think any other journalist warrants it! (Bar Farmer Farrelly potentially).

      Anyway, I hear bad things happen if you say his name three times…

    • Amiga500

       /  November 14, 2013

      No one is forcing you to read it!!

      Don’t like the site, feel free to take yourself off…

      • Ger Gilroy

         /  November 14, 2013

        I loved the articles but the constant jabs at ex Munster players is ruining it and
        @ shane Neil Francis?! and basically any BCC Ulster journalist reporting on Ulster are as bad if nor worse than CG.

        • Really? Have any of them called the Irish captain an ‘absolute knob’, called his own paper ‘the most anti Irish and pro Leinster paper in the country’ and called an unannounced selection by a coach 80 mins into the job ‘jokeshop’?
          Sorry there aren’t any journalists operating on these islands that are ‘worse’ than that!

          • Ger Gilroy

             /  November 14, 2013

            aHe is right about Heaslip, he doesn’t work for the examiner anymore and isn’t he allowed a personal opinion on twitter?

          • Jimbob

             /  November 14, 2013

            He said that about the indo a few months before working for them. He’s entitled to a personal opinion, of course, but he also has to maintain a professional decorum and an unbiased approach to his work. If I called a client/competitor/colleague/partner a knob on twitter; I’d probably be sacked.

    • Leinsterlion

       /  November 14, 2013

      I take they dont stock “Beats” or Nike Mercurial Vapours in your local chip shop-cum-barbers-cum-doctors.

  4. Rava

     /  November 14, 2013

    I think not having a direct wing replacement is a mistake. If Bowe doesn’t come through we are seriously short of pace.

  5. Rocky

     /  November 14, 2013

    Still think it is ludicrous that Tuohy has not been selected in the 23. Interested to see how Marshall does – many in Ulster consider Olding a better prospect at No 12. Hope Henshaw gets a run out for ten minutes at least.

    • Barry

       /  November 14, 2013

      I have watching Olding this season and whilst he is fantastic in attack especially his hands in midfield traffic I don’t think he is at Intl level when it comes to defence – yet!

      • Bowe Gathers

         /  November 14, 2013

        They offer two completely different skill sets. One is silky and ghosts past defenders with ease, the other is a 12 come 7 with a pair of hands to boot. Ulster seem to be swapping them at the 50 minute mark for every game. In a horses for courses era it makes sense to start solid then open it into flair when legs tire…

  6. osheaf01

     /  November 14, 2013

    LeinsterLion will be a happy man today. One down (Murray), one Unfit To Lace His Leinster Counterpart’s Boots (POM) to go…
    Interesting to see Archer ahead of Kilcoyne on the bench as loose-head.

  7. osheaf01

     /  November 14, 2013

    Doh, Archer is, of course, covering tight-head.

  8. Sparking

     /  November 14, 2013

    Joe Schmidt’s only concern will be the winning of this game, the fans imagined slights to one province or the other is hardly his concern as long as the morale of the team is good.. It should be noted that Ulster and Connacht supporters are rarely participants in the rivalry, how about renaming it the East/South rivalry?

  9. Leinsterlion

     /  November 14, 2013

    Well at least we have signaled an intention to play some form of front foot rugby as opposed to kicking it away from the base…er displaying an astute tactical awareness. Redden for all his faults can and has on occasion displayed some ability to pass well and quickly when the mood strikes him.
    Toner retains his place by default I assume we are targeting them come lineout time otherwise no point in him being near the squad, due to his utter averageness.
    Backline is average Sexton and potentially Marshall and Kearnage aside, none of the explosiveness the Aussies have, although Genia is apparently playing like a drain(still not as bad as Murray, hey oooh!), so it could even out.
    Front row will handle the Aussies pissed-outside-of-chip-shop-attempting-to-fight, interpretation of scrummaging, with the ease of a prime Mike Tyson.
    Back row will be hit or miss, Im giving the edge to the Aussies slightly more cohesive unit.
    Australia are however a bad team, woeful one week average the next, my worry is if the average Aussies turn up they could turn us over by having numerous quality and explosive players and while they might be terrible in structured play they have all the athleticism that we dont, to tear us apart. No rain, Aussie win, rain, we win, although Australia are crap so they are their for the taking, no matter the weather.

    • Ireland's Answer (allthingsrugby1)

       /  November 14, 2013

      Leinster Lion Toner has stole one opposition ball all season?

      • Leinsterlion

         /  November 14, 2013

        Possibly not, I have no idea tbh. Why is he picked? IMO, it must be due to his familiarity with Schmidts systems if not for being a reliable target at 6’11, even if he does nothing on opposition ball besides being a large target to avoid. The lineout is an important, but small facet of the game, so Schmidt must be seeing him do things in training that Tuhoy isnt.

    • Murray dig asides that’s almost balanced. You’re letting me down, you big pussycat you…

  10. Cian

     /  November 14, 2013

    Nicely balanced article, I took exception to your claims on Twitter earlier that Reddan had a stormer against Samoa and that his selection was unquestionably a positive development, but Schmidt’s selection is justified and in keeping with his usual strategies.

    You’d have to wonder if a fast & loose game is the best option against the Wallabies, but one would assume Schmidt has a cunning plan. Hopefully the competition will be good for all the scrumhalves – it’s definitely not a form selection, but it could be the right one.

    The rest of the team & bench is quite exciting – I thought Toner had a fine game against Samoa and I’d love to see what Henshaw, Madigan and Marshall can do. This is probably a good game in which to see if Archer can continue his progress this season too. I’m worried about our back line vs Folau & co., but there’s definitely hope.

  11. DaveW

     /  November 14, 2013

    While I see that it’s important for the coach not to lose the faith of the supporters, I’m uncomfortable with him having to balance a selection decision against an idea that Leinster and Munster fans might got for each other’s throats if he picks one over the other.

    Surely that’s our problem as fans to not act like immature children?

    • Jimbob

       /  November 14, 2013

      Absolutely, it’s about getting behind the team no matter what. There are a lot of players injured/coming through the ranks in all the provinces and abroad who will be capped under Schmidt whether it’s to fill a gap or to execute the gameplan, who are we to begrudge them selection?

  12. Len

     /  November 14, 2013

    JS continues his policy of horses for courses with Ireland how refreshing. Saw a couple of ultra parochial comments on another site (all from the one idiot calling for “joe Schitt to go”) but again generally positive. Reddan is a good if risky call. His form has been lacking since his return but he’s the best passer we have in the squad. McL is a solid player but I’m not sure what he’ll add off the bench. I agree Mads covers more positions and gives us a fight fire with fire (unpredictable) option at 10. I’d be one of the people Rocky mentioned re Olding v Marshall but it’s nice to see us add some pase into the centre. Again looking forward to the game.

  13. Alan McG

     /  November 14, 2013

    Long time listener, first time caller… Go easy on me!
    GT is 2/2 in calling squads for November internationals… Wonder if Joe sees him as easily manipulated like last 2 coaches!

  14. Barry

     /  November 14, 2013

    I think Ireland will win by 10 pts or more

    NZ will destroy England and then I’m going very controversial and predicting Ireland’s first win v All Blacks

    Deluded? Maybe

    Hopeful? Definitely

    I’ll certainly back us +15 or whatever HC turns out to be

  15. I think Murray is the better player, but you’ll never build depth or have competition if you have an automatic starting 15. In other, more successful countries, they never have the number of 100 cap players Ireland do, because they have rotation and competition. I actually think that if this tactic continues throughout Schmidt’s tenure, and if it breeds results, it might lead to less and less interprovincial sniping, and allow people to see that having different players challenging for the same shirt can actually help everyone’s performance. Some of the fights in comment sections this week between Leinster and Ulster fans over the D’arcy/Marshall issue were reminiscent of classic Munster/Leinster bickering, but if they both have genuine opportunities to play, and to rest, I think it will build Ireland into a more cohesive unit.

    • Kevin Maggs' Hair

       /  November 15, 2013

      Interestingly, the AB’s have 4 guys playing tmr with 100 caps and plenty with 50+!

      • But that is relatively unusual for them. And I think certainly a number of the Irish players at or around 100 would have a tough case getting to 100 in most other countries, and probably would have benefitted themselves from having the slightest competition. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing for a guy to reach 100 caps, but if he does, he’d better be pretty ridiculously good, in my opinion.

  16. Liaddy

     /  November 14, 2013

    The best comment yet is from Munstermicko, the well known commentor on the independent page rugby comments:

    “Tis worst this is gettin. Murray dropped now, by the time the allblacks game it will be wall to wall ladyboys/nordys. I new this would happen, I worned the irfu in this very paper that if ye let this smith fella in he would do this an he has. Tis high time Munster pulled the rug from under the jakeens up in dubland an started our own internatinal teem. Ye think i’m goin to watch australia v the pale this weekend ye have another thing comin.”

    I think he’s actually a Leinster fan who’s trolling, but you have to love him!

    • He is a well-known troll. He occasionally tweets us dross on Twitter but he’s best ignored. Needless to say he’s blocked below the line!

      • Bushmills

         /  November 14, 2013

        I thought us Irish were famous for our sense of humour? How can anyone still not know that Munster Micko is a wind up?? I acutually find it very entertaining, and the idiots are the ones who pen their indignation and outrage below his posts. He should have a book series like Ross O’Carroll-Kelly!

    • Leinsterlion

       /  November 14, 2013

      He’s actually the only reason I visit the indo rugby section, comments guaranteed better than the articles. MunsterMicko=best sports taeks, Hook eat your heart out.

      • curates_egg

         /  November 15, 2013

        Are you MunsterMicko?

        • Leinsterlion

           /  November 15, 2013

          No, I’m only funny half the time,sometimes I’m trying to make a point by flailing wildly at my keyboard in the hopes something coherant appears.

  17. Liaddy

     /  November 14, 2013

    And the link to Conor George’s (since-deleted) tweet that’s referred to in the comments:

    • Winthorpe Lewis III

       /  November 15, 2013

      That’s grossly unprofessional -you get dropped & decide to leak it to the local media ahead of the official embargo being lifted…

  18. I’d like to think Barry’s on to something here. I reckon we’ll prevail against Oz. I also expect NZ to mash Dylan Hartley agus a chairde. By the same token, we’ve a bone to pick with the All Blacks since our last meeting in Hamilton. The usual “brave defeat” is not enough to make up for the ignominy of that day. I would hope that the desire for redemption/revenge might just be what we need to finally put those arrogant f***ers back in their box for once!!!!!

    • Bob

       /  November 15, 2013

      Here’s hoping Schmidt doesn’t peruse WOC in his spare time, He’s one of THEM you know (arrogant farmer) *shock* *horror*

  19. ruckinhell

     /  November 14, 2013

    #SchmidtOut . The clarion call led by the great Jeremiah of the South, Prophet George, who verily predicted that the villanous Joe would spurn the great rugby offerings of the proud Province of MUNSTER.

    I would have started with Murray myself but see the logic of Reddan starting, although I’d have given Marmion a chance. Reddan adds pace to the game, no doubt, but is quite frankly one of the worst decision makers I’ve seen at that level and is usually good for at least one “WTF” moment per game. Living Off Scraps™ has predicted that Murray will start against the All Blacks and I suspect that Uncle Joe has made two composite selections (risky against Oz, but very close to available first choice tbf if he brings on Murray and probably McCarthy.) He also has a bench with genuine impact options.

    Uncle Joe has made some good rotations on the bench and I can already see the logic of his selection. If he can create a good cadre of 30-35 solid choices that he has faith in I think we’ll be motoring nicely for the 6 Nations. Uncle Joe, I believe!

  20. osheaf01

     /  November 14, 2013

    Reddan will be grand if he doesn’t throw an intercept try into the mix with his excellent passing. Would worry about his defence against, say, Mike Phillips, but he’s similar in type, if not ability, to Genia.
    What’s the weather forecast for Saturday?

  21. Scrumdog

     /  November 14, 2013

    It is an exciting time for Irish rugby with the new coaching regime. A coach, who alters his line up to instill competition and increase his test match player pool, has to be on the right path. Schmidt is open about the way Ireland plays and answers questions…..this is an absolute breath of fresh air for Irish Rugby, from everything that’s ever gone before! A rotating Irish squad with depth that plays and works like a team (well oiled machine) is the goal. This approach was sorely needed and its obvious that JS is in complete control and wont need approval of his strategy from the amateurs on the IRFU ‘rugby committee’ or whatever they call themselves.
    The bigger picture is that anyone who plays consistently well for the provinces could be called up to the national squad and this in itself will ‘up’ the competition all around. The ‘provincial patriots’ like MunsterMicko /Conor George will squeal on but the rest of us look to the future with optimism…give it time!.

  22. Elvis Barnet

     /  November 16, 2013

    OK, I’m an Ulster fan, so make your judgements now. I’m also rather bored and embarrassed by the inter-provincial nonsense which, like a nervous cliché, always seems to raise its head and ugly body above the parapet with more regularity come the appointment of a new coach.

    Do I love to see a good complement of Ulster players on the Ireland squad? Absolutely – but I love winning more.

    I fervently support the other three provinces against any team in any competition – except, of course, Ulster, when my main wishes for a match are two-fold. 1) An Ulster win, and 2) No injuries to Irish players.

    I was rather incensed at some of the criticism towards Paddy Jackson in the six nations – he wasn’t brilliant but much of the criticism was completely unwarranted. (I’m a big fan of Madigan btw). Still, though he had a wonderful match last week, for which I don’t think he received the plaudits he deserved, I’m unconcerned that he is dropped for the Oz match. Further, I agree with the decision. It makes sense.

    I’m also a big fan of Murray and I was shocked at him being benched for today. However, I can see the logic. I watch as much rugby as my wife allows and a little bit more (some kind soul has put full matches up on YouTube which I watch after the little woman has gone to bed – and still get stressed despite knowing the result). I have seen that Schmidt likes to have as big an impact bench as possible, moreso than many other coaches. Plus it is good squad rotation and bodes well for squad depth come the RWC. And despite being an Ulsterman, I don’t think Paul Marshall – fine provincial player as he is – is the way forward for Ireland.

    As for D’Arcy, he has been a wonderful servant for Ireland and has provided some wonderful moments in green. But I do think his time has come and L Marshall is the way forward – Olding just isn’t ready.

    Nothing controversial above I assume, but now is where I risk the ire of the Leinster massive. Especially because my two concerns relate to where I can only see Ulster players as the best replacements.

    Toner. I just don’t see him as an international standard player. In fact, when I’ve seen him come on against Ulster I’ve felt relieved. Is DOC fit? Still, he really does seem past his best and I can only see Tuohy as the possible replacement. Nevertheless, Although Toner concerns me, I’m not too upset at going with the new coach on this one.

    Now I’m sure I’m going to cause upset. Please, it’s an honest opinion and not parochial statement. But it’s McFadden. I expect him to be turned inside out today. Other than shoe-in tries (cue the abuse) he seems all fingers and thumbs deer in the headlights on the international stage. That said, I’m not going in all guns blazing for Trimble. For Ulster, Trimble shows that he’s an international class winger. But not so much for Ireland (same for Earls).

    Without injury, the Ireland match day squad should be Bowe, Zebo and Gilroy. In that pecking order. In the current situation, I think that if not Trimble, for AI experimentation,
    Michael Allen could be worth a punt. Not against the ABs but last week and today would have been ideal to give him a run out an blood him for the future.

    Let the flaming begin.

    • Your point on PJ is well-made. The abuse he got from the RTE panel last season was an utter disgrace. Pope was presented witha a quote from Anscombe which said Jackson was under huge pressure, and he said “That tells me Paddy Jackson has some mental defect only Mark Anscombe know about”

      In reference to a young man making his debut! Just because he took ROG’s place. It was obscene top be frank

  23. Elvis Barnet

     /  November 18, 2013

    OK, I take it all back about McFadden – one of the few players who seemed interested in winning on Saturday. I was genuinely impressed and don’t mind eating humble pie on this one.

    And I was wrong about Reddan too. Has anyone seen how well Stringer is doing at Bath, lately? I’d even stick Paul Marshall in now.

    I can’t, however, change my mind on Toner who looked completely out of his depth.

    If Sexton isn’t fit for Sunday then Paddy Jackson is a must. Schmidt seemed to think Madigan did alright, but to me, if someone is absolutely intent on kicking possession straight down Israel Folau’s throat, they should be in a different time zone when the All Blacks come to town.

    To be honest though, on the evidence of Saturday, New Zealand could send their 7s team and get the job done.

  24. Rocky

     /  November 18, 2013

    Is that their Under 7s? You’re probably correct, Elvis!

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