Georgia Team Out!

Stop press! The team for Sunday’s game is out – and, hilariously, Gerry was one player wrong. Seems Joe is a little tougher to read than Deccie. It’s essentially a warm-up for the Canada/Romania games in the RWC where the firsts get a rest and the rest get a run-out – but there are a few interesting calls nonetheless:

  • The most notable first teamer picked is Rosser – the big man needs game time to get to optimal conditioning for the Wobbly front row (stop sniggering at the back) and he’ll definitely get a work-out here. It’s mildly concerning that (i) it takes game time to get him going – what if he comes to the RWC undercooked? (ii) Ross has now started every test under Schmidt – this is into Hayes territory, and (iii) our backups are injured or not good enough to take his shirt.  But hey, what’s new?
  • While Dave Kilcoyne is the nominal third loosehead right now, we think James Cronin is a better player and might finish the year as incumbent at Munster -although the Irish Times Top 50 has them just one place apart, which tells us just how close it is!  Fascinating stuff!  No doubt Joe Schmidt is using it as a guide to selection.  If Killer comes out of a game against Georgia intact, that’s a big plus for him.  His scrummaging will be properly tested here.
  • Paulie, Lighthouse Toner and NWJMB are virtually nailed on for the RWC squad (Henderson is currently out after pre-RWC elective surgery) – there is one more definite second row slot up for grabs, and if Dave Foley carries his ERCC form into Sunday and out-shines Mike McCarthy, he’ll put himself into the conversation.  He’s a good, athletic lock with decent mobility and can carry reasonably well, and is certainly worth a look here.
  • In the absence (not enforced – but is it ever?) of Jamie Heaslip, Robbie Diack will wear the 8 shirt. Or, more to the point, Robin Copeland is (at best) third choice 8. Diack showed well in Argentina, and is clearly in the mix for one of the multi-functional backrow RWC slots, with (but still likely behind) Jordi Murphy, Dom Ryan and Rhys Ruddock. With Murphy to return as more specialised cover for the No.8 jersey, Copeland has missed his chance to gain some ground.  Truth be told, his problems begin with CJ and end with Stander.  There is no crowbarring the prime Bok out of the Munster team and Copeland has found his chances to impress limited as a result.
  • When asked on Sky Sports before the Bok game about whether he was happy with his depth at centre, Joe Schmidt sighed, hummed and hawed, and said “yes and no” i.e. No. He’ll clearly be feeling better since, but he still feels options need exploring. Angry Darren Cave gets another go after a pretty disappointing summer tour – and we’ll hopefully see Stuart Olding get good gametime as well
  • Dom Ryan gets a test debut and it’s merited on early season form.  He had become something of a forgotten man over the last two seasons, but with a run of fitness and form he has reminded us of his talents and knack of scoring tries.

It’s a pretty mobile pack with plenty of good handlers and carriers and lots of athleticism.  Coupled with the no-brainer selection of Reddan and Madigan and a pair of flyers out wide, all signals point towards a looser, faster game plan than we saw against South Africa, which seems sensible against a Georgia team that is likely to be beefy upfront but will struggle in a more open contest.  The appointment of Eoin Reddan as captain also looks shrewd.  Marmion has his champions, but Reddan is still very much second choice and still awfully good, albeit well behind the peerless Murray.  It’s a chance to remind him that he’s still a key part of the squad even if his future gametime is likely to be of the same order as Chris Whittaker enjoyed when he was first reserve to George Gregan.

Here’s the team:

IRELAND (v Georgia): Felix Jones (Munster); Craig Gilroy (Ulster), Darren Cave (Ulster), Gordon D’Arcy (Leinster), Simon Zebo (Munster); Ian Madigan (Leinster), Eoin Reddan (Leinster, capt); Dave Kilcoyne (Munster), Richardt Strauss (Leinster), Mike Ross (Leinster); Dave Foley (Munster), Mike McCarthy (Leinster); Dominic Ryan (Leinster), Tommy O’Donnell (Munster), Robbie Diack (Ulster).

Replacements: Seán Cronin (Leinster), Jack McGrath (Leinster), Rodney Ah You (Connacht), Devin Toner (Leinster), Robin Copeland (Munster), Kieran Marmion (Connacht), Ian Keatley (Munster), Stuart Olding (Ulster).

Go easy.

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16 Comments

  1. eatmypoint

     /  November 14, 2014

    Fingers crossed nothing happens to Ross, but when you compare the potential RWC squad to 2007 and 2011 squads where the back up props were Best and Youngs and then Court and Mushie our propping options look very strong assuming the few lads that are out can heal up in time! Agree that Cronin is a better player than Kilcoyne. Can’t imagine Copeland will be at the RWC and really excited to see how Foley and Marmion + Olding once introduced get on.

  2. connachtexile

     /  November 14, 2014

    Intriguing backrow cant wait to see it in action. Really hope to see Rodney as well. He didn’t get to scrum against the Springboks so really want to see how he’ll hold up against a international level pack.

  3. SportingBench

     /  November 14, 2014

    Any thoughts on the team the Georgians have picked? 🙂

    • Yes we do. Apart from the usual arry of Top14 props, shvilis and adzes it’s notable that the No.5 is called George Tractor. George Tractor!! Awesome.

      • SportingBench

         /  November 14, 2014

        Brilliant! I expect the first time he carries the ball for some reference to be made to motoring and/or ploughing. I’d be disappointed if there isn’t.

      • Hairy Naomh Mhuire

         /  November 15, 2014

        Georgia second rows called Tractor traditionally wear the number 135 on their backs.

        • Amiga500

           /  November 17, 2014

          Not a veteran 35 no?

          [or if he’s been souped up in the gym, a 35X?]

  4. Will be interesting to see what we try to do with the ball.a lot of games under Joe we seem to just play in their half,don’t concede penalties and wait for them to make an error or rely on our maul. Will we see a definitive attacking strategy in a game we are less concerned with what the opposition are going to do?

  5. Great to see pretty much all the 2nd string fella’s get a go, hopefully this will be a Fiji-esque performance where they really have a cut and make the 1sts very nervous.

    One things for sure, they will know exactly what Joe wants them to do and will have absolute faith and conviction in the gameplan.

    I’m not going to make a fool of myself (again) and question his selections, I just can’t wait to see how they play.

    I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited to watch a dead rubber of a game!

  6. connachtexile

     /  November 14, 2014

    Has the Georgian team being named yet? Hope to see Merab Sharikadze in action.

  7. Hairy Naomh Mhuire

     /  November 14, 2014

    Is Dorce starting not a little strange or is it simply a case that he’s still first choice 12 and needs a run out before the Wobblies?

    • I think alot of is Joe generally using rotation policy , Darcy is in the squad , so its his turn to play.
      Its a nice line-up and really shows strength in depth , I expect Ireland will be smart enough to not allow this become a dogfight , I think it will be a hammering but everyone will just rave about how awful a team Georgia are , they are not , regardless of the result , Georgia are a good rugby nation , getting stronger and stronger , A cricket score against them with a second string would show a good progression from Ireland teams past.

  8. Ref your thoughts on the locks for the World Cup – Dan Touhy is not on the list.
    I do not know if his present injury is likely to rule him out but based on earlier form this
    year, I would pick him ahead of MikeMcCarthy or Dave Foley.

    • Yeh Id have to agree with that , Might even be a better option than Toner(Who Im a fan of) , Touhys skills around the park are a class above Toner , and theres not an awful lot between them in the lineout.

  9. Cronin is injured. That’s why Kilcoyne is in the squad and he isn’t.

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