Job Done

Six tries, no injuries and some minor selection dilemmas for the visit of the real minnows next week – virtually everything you’d want out of a game against Georgia really. We blogged on Friday about the very few thing we might be able to take from the game, and so it came to pass. The match followed a very familiar pattern of good team vs. minnow: low-scoring first half followed by floodgates opening as the pressure takes its toll on the little ‘un.

In general, the pack will be happy they did their job and the backline less so.  The much-vaunted Georgian scrum seems to be better on paper than in actuality, as a few canny punters predicted would be the case.  Ireland weren’t on top in the scrum, but they were ok there, comfortable in the lineout and strong in the maul.  They found plenty of gaps to exploit.  They created umpteen chances but found their finishing a bit off, in the first half in particular.

The front row will be reasonably happy.  Rosser needed to get some game-time because … er … just because, right. He managed 46 minutes of difficult scrums and one hilarious mini line break before giving way to Rodney Ah Here. The most relevant thing from the weekend for Ross was probably the pillaging the Wobbly front row took in Paris, followed by the incompetence of the backups, who were milked by the French. We’d almost feel comfortable letting Ah Here loose on the Wobs (who have resolved to play a few new faces), but Rosser it will be. And he’ll be better after yesterday.

Dave Kilcoyne enjoyed a slightly less troublesome time than Rosser, had one even better run and scored a try. Job done, and a decent showing against tough opponents. Took one step towards an RWC plane ticket, did Killer.  Scoring tries is not bread and butter for props, but it’s a handy habit to have and Kilcoyne chips in with plenty.

In the row, Dave Foley was man of the match and out-shone his partner Mike McCarthy. McCarthy appears to be a good scrummaging second row [citation needed!] but his star is very much on the wane, and has been since his man-of-the-match award against South Africa two years ago.  Calling Foley ashore early was a probable sign a bench slot on Saturday has been earned, and his performances this year warrant it.  In the backrow, all three men showed up reasonably well, with Dom Ryan especially busy on his debut.  None shot the lights out, though, and we suspect all will drop out of the team for the Wobs match.

In the back division, it was a case of good top ‘n’ tail, poor middle.  Felix Jones had a fine match and both half-backs played well but the entire three-quarter line was pretty middling.  If Schmidty wasn’t happy with depth at centre before, he certainly isn’t now – Dorce and Darren Cave did very little of note in the 80 and only a spicy cameo from Stuart Olding (admittedly against tired and run-out opponents) brightened up the Milky Bar Kid’s options there. If Henshaw is now nailed on to start, who his partner is will be interesting – if Payne is fit, he looks set to continue, but what if he isn’t? D’arcy is most likely to get the call, but he looked rusty here.  No doubt there will be a clamour for Stuart Olding and on the evidence of his glitzy cameo here, it’s not hard to see why.  In retrospect, we may have learned more from starting him, but hindsight is always 20-20.

If this series was to be Simon Zebo’s  time to shine, he’s running out of time. The jet-heeled Corkman controversially (at the time anyway) lost out to Andrew Trimble and Little Bob last Six Nations and was a minor cause celebre – he hasn’t exactly set the world afire and you think if there were better options then Craig Gilroy to choose from, he might lose his place for the Wobbly game. In particular, his moment of trying a redux of his ankle flick instead of jumping on the ball will have been noted by Joe Schmidt – this is the type of play from wingers that will have him spitting bullets. Zebo has clearly taken Schmidt’s feedback of the last 12 months on board, but in his case, there is more to do.

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66 Comments

  1. “He managed 46 minutes of difficult scrums and one hilarious mini line break”

    Haha – he really is hilarious when he gets the ball – he moves like a player in a videogame where you’ve picked the nation with the worst scores.

    Thought Madigan was very good yesterday, was unlucky to miss out on MOTM. Rodney Ah Here made a few good carries to be fair to him, one really good aggressive one near the end.

    • He did, fo’ sho’ but he made a mess of an overlap on the left touchline by passing the ball way, way too late.

    • There was one point at the start of the second half where he was tracking with D’Arcy on the Georgian 10’s arcing run and you could see the look on his face was just “ah jesus can he not just slow down a bit”. Priceless.

  2. One line assessment from me would be: Pack solid if unspectacular, backs did themselves little favours, decent bench looked good against tired opposition.

    One thing I definitely noticed being at the ground was the lack of body language Cave/D’Arcy had towards each other, they very much seemed to be taking a head down approach to their own games than trying to be a cohesive unit much of the time. Cave probably wasn’t as bad as people would like to jump on, considering he’s this series’ Paddy Wallace hauled ashore from holidays, but D’Arcy was at his foot-shuffling worst for me.

    I kind of half expected the first half to be a tight affair with the Georgians being pumped up for it, and you could hear Barnesy over in England “oooooh”ing along with the Aviva crowd at some of the hits. That said I was disappointed that the backs couldn’t manufacture a try before half time. Madigan was probably as guilty of this as anything and ended up running himself into a big Georgian tackle more than once. Also our ruck support was awfully shoddy at times.

    Overall we probably won’t learn anything from this game until the Six Nations, where I would expect Joe will probably start rotating players in and out a little. Jones was a contender for MotM for me and while he probably won’t oust Bob just yet (you would think that Angry Bob vs Izzy is too big an aerial match-up to miss), he’s certainly getting back to be a very handy back-up. Honourable mentions to Olding (who could have earned a bench spot as utility back), Marmion and Copeland.

    • Stories in Oz are Portly will be lining out at 15

      • Sounds like he’s going full strike power in the backs then: Genia, Cooper, AAC, Lilo/Toomua, Kuridrani, Folau, Beale maybe? If half backs are switched on (which they probably will be) will be tough to defend against!

    • Hairy Naomh Mhuire

       /  November 17, 2014

      Watched post match analysis when I got home & was a little surprised to hear Shaggy talking up the possibility of Jones replacing Zebo on the wing. Don’t know if he has an inside track but I guess after Henshaw / Payne anything is possible.
      Commentary around D’Arcy is a little reminiscent of what was being said before the BNZ game last year. He may well have the same response if selected against Oz!

      • This was Georgia though – its fair to ask what level can Dorce get to at this stage in his career. I think if BOD hadn’t just retired and we had a stable outside centre he wouldn’t be as close to the team as he is

  3. I didn’t think Reddan was all that – some of his passing was sloppy and he didn’t even attempt to tackle Nemsadze as he went through for the Georgian try (though D’arcy and McCarthy will rightly catch most of the flak for that).

    Amazing how far Foley’s come in a short while. After the summer development tour Mick Kearney was called out by the management ahead of Foley, so a few months ago he was (at best) 7th choice lock for Ireland. Obviously injuries have some part in his elevation, but the way Schmidt talked him up after the game you’d think he’s jumped McCarthy and the unlucky Touhy and is on the plane and contesting with Henderson for a place on the bench for the big games.

  4. ruckinhell

     /  November 17, 2014

    Foley was excellent under the restart and I think took 4 lifted catches in a row cleanly. An underappreciated but important skill. Was busy and didn’t try anything too fancy, just played to patterns and let the tries go to other players. If the rest of the team were as focused on playing the system rather than getting tries (Zebo, TOD were notably poor at this) in the first half we’d have picked up a couple more early scores.

    Zebo actually put in another strong shift without the ball (he was praised by Murray Kinsella in an article during the week which was an application of Demented Mole’s ruckmarks when analysing the SA game) but in attack he was so indulgent and greedy. Joe will not have been impressed but I don’t think it was enough to have him demoted for the Oz game. Gilroy is a player I like quite a bit but is still not back to his best.

    Madigan was excellent, very composed and made some great line breaks. If Payne was out my preference would be a Madigan-Henshaw centre partnership.

    • I actually think Madigan only really got going once Keatley came on. D’Arcy and Cave didn’t really provide a huge amount in attack, and probably forced him to try a bit too much himself in the first half especially. His kicking was delicious though.

    • Id like to see Madigan Henshaw aswell , But I dont think it will happen , Id love to see Henshaw – Bowe , When Dave Kearney is fit again he will come back into the team , as he should , hes going to be brilliant , I also think Bowe has lost that edge in his pace , still quick and strong , hes got great hands too and an eye for the gap

      Backline for the six nations if everyone is fit :

      9.Murray
      10.Sexton
      11.Zebo
      12.Henshaw
      13.Bowe
      14.D.Kearney
      15.R.Kearney

      21.Reddan
      22.Madigan
      23.Trimble

      • Luke Fitzgerald if he stays fit for a good spell , would be guaranteed the 13 Jersey

      • SportingBench

         /  November 17, 2014

        Surely Trimble would be in the team ahead of either Zebo or Dave Kearney if fully fit? He’s been a start the last 12 months.

        • Ah yeh , but in terms of building the team its a good pick , do you think Trimble will start at the world cup , Hes 30 , He could lose an awful lot of pace by then , Im expecting Zebo to come good in an Ireland shirt by the World cup.

          • SportingBench

             /  November 18, 2014

            30 isn’t that old particularly in Ireland where there is a tradition of players flowering later than in other countries. Secondly, seems strange to single out Trimble as a candidate for going off the cliff given he’s 6 months younger than Tommy Bowe and only 6 months older than Jonny Sexton yet age doesn’t edge them out? Thirdly, I imagine Schmidt will be wanting a number of options for the WC and will pick based on who is playing best and over the last year, Ireland’s best winger by a country mile, has been Andrew Trimble.

          • Ok , well Bowe is playing wing , so is Trimble(What wingers have Flowered in later years?) , Id have neither there as there getting on , both are great centre options , but Trimble just dont have the distribution , Johnny Sexton is a flyhalf , I dont know why you would mention him,(He will peak at about 31/32) Im talking about blistering pace , Bowe has lost it , I suspect trimble will too at 31 , Ive watched Trimble for years and years now and Ive always been a fan , but he is by no means are best option because hes had one good season, Its gonna be all about D.Kearney come the world cup , Zebo needs to find another gear or could be dropped , but I expect he will deliver on his potential.

            No need to get Angry buddy , Just an opinion.

  5. Think you’re about right in your assessment. I’m disappointed we couldn’t generate tries in the first half while they still had close to full energy, albeit they were better than I expected.

    Forwards were decent enough, Foley and Ryan probably the pick. Credit also for Rodney, who I thought was feisty when he came on. He’s a handy rugby player, whether he’s an international prop is another question, yet to be answered.

    In the backs, the centres were poor. Cave can point to flying over from America late doors, but it was just about his worst showing in an Ireland shirt and I don’t think he’ll have many more opportunities. D’Arcy was no better and shouldn’t play next week, even if Payne is out. Otherwise Madigan and Jones were very good, wingers OK, Reddan lively.

    I’d pick the same team as for the Boks next week, if Payne is fit, with maybe a change or two on the bench otherwise. If he isn’t, then I’d shift Henshaw to 13 – not a bad option at all if Kuridrani is at OC for Oz – and either play Olding or Madigan at 12, my preference being the latter, with the other one on the bench (as well as Jones). So:

    McGrath, Cronin, Ross, Big Dev, POC, POM, Ruddock, Heaslip
    Murray, Sexton
    Zebo, Henshaw (Madigan), Payne (Henshaw), Bowe, Kearney
    Rep: Strauss, Kilcoyne, RAY, Foley, Ryan, Reddan, Madigan (Olding), Jones

  6. Why was Cave flown over from his holidays when Olding was available and in camp?

    • Cave is a bonefide 13, Olding is a 10/12/15 utility who (afaik) hasn’t played 13 and Joe is very much about having players playing specific positions they’ve played for their clubs/provinces.

  7. I’m seeing a striking amount of criticism of O’Donnell around the place, which surprises me. I thought he was clearly the pick of the back-row, with one clean turnover and another effectively won before Cave blew it by tackling the scrum-half, the highest tackle count, and some powerful carrying in tight. Unlucky not to get a try too, and it was the right decision to go for the line from that distance. Ruddock was excellent against South Africa but I’d be concerned that he might not have the mobility to deal with an Australian back-line that’s far more likely to create some clean breaks, and O’Donnell’s speed, engine, and cover tackling would seem more suited to dealing with that.

    I presume a lot of the criticism of the back-row is on foot of the number of penalties we conceded for holding on, but if there’s one thing we should have learned since Schmidt took over Ireland, it’s that the breakdown is a 15-man responsibility; pinning it solely on the back-row, as the RTE panel did at half-time, is a bit reductive. When Diack got turned over in the first half, for example, both Zebo and Gilroy ran support lines off his left shoulder, allowing three Georgian defenders to get over the ball. Awful stuff.

    Outside of that, I’d agree with most of what’s already been said. You really notice how much more comfortable Madigan seems at 10 under Schmidt than under O’Connor; he just has so much more clarity in his play and it allows him to show his class with ball in hand. He was extremely physical in the tackle as well, which bodes well for his chances of playing 12 in big games at some point. I’d add too that the subs exploited the space that was out there extremely well, with Keatley’s distribution at 12 immediately adding an extra dimension to our play. Although that might be more to do with the contrast he provided in midfield to what was an attacking black hole…

    • Bushmills

       /  November 17, 2014

      Totally agree with you re TOD. Very refreshing to see a genuine no 7 in an Ireland shirt. I thought he was very busy and must be in the frame to take on the excellent Aussie skipper Hooper.

    • Leinsterlion

       /  November 17, 2014

      We looked much more cohesive with Keatley at 12, Darce looked a spent force without some form of attacking ability outside him to hide his deficiencies.

      • Paddy

         /  November 17, 2014

        We were playing against 13 men for part of that. They had a man in the bin when a player got injured and they’d no replacement. There’s only so much you can read it into these games.

        • Leinsterlion

           /  November 17, 2014

          True. I dont rate Cave at all though, Darce has credit in the bank, though he is not first choice.

    • ehhweasel

       /  November 17, 2014

      Against a team like Georgia (strong pack, no backs) playing three number tens is a great way to make space. I think too much is being put down to the Georgians being tired when Olding ran riot, he would have found space out there much earlier rather than D’arse running into contact all the time.

      I was under the impression that Cave had had his chance already. I don’t think anything was achieved from starting him except that we can definitely put him out to pasture now. I accept the point that Schmidt wants people in their natural position but when you have so many extremely talented and versatile players it seems like a waste playing a Ford Mondeo because it fits in the space while you leave your Porche on the bench. Plus he moved Henshaw inside and that seemed to go ok.

      What more do people want from Tommy O’Donnell? He turned over ball, made tackles and looked like scoring. I think he’d be even more effective against Australia, though Ruddock has probably earned his place.

      Felix looked like he was really enjoying himself, he had a great match and it’s nice to see him in an Irish jersey.

      Marmion looked sharp when he was on, how many games can he realistically hope to be involved in between now and RWC?

  8. Ireland's Answer (allthingsrugby1)

     /  November 17, 2014

    This whole series seems to be more about who is out of contention than who is in contention for the world cup. Bar any drastic form changes Schidmt is looking to build a very settled squad.
    *Starting Ross was a clear indication he thrusts no other tight heads only Ross and Moore when fit. Can’t see another one making the squad at the moment. Jack McGrath could be doubling up.

    Loose heads: Pretty untimely injury for James Cronin. Will be a tight call between him and Kilcoyne alongside Healy and McGrath.

    Looks like Best, Cronin and Strauss will be the hookers. D Casey a very dark horse.

    In the second row we have 3 certainties: POC, Toner and I Henderson. Next line looks to be Dave Foley or maybe Donnacha Ryan but his career is in the balance at the moment. Big Mick, Dan Touhy and the likes thereafter.

    The back row will be intriguing. POM, Heaslip, SOB and Henry are all certainties for me. Then you have Ruddock who isn’t miles behind and after that J Murphy, Dom Ryan TOD, Diack, Copeland etc. Serious depth but have a suspicion TOD could travel given his specialist attributes.

    Might do the backs another day!

  9. Ireland's Answer (allthingsrugby1)

     /  November 17, 2014

    One other thing being a good tackler does not make you a good defender necessarily. Tackling is very basic. Defense is extremely difficult to get right especially when defending in the centres. It is all about anticipation and reading the play and using ones own judgement. That is what made the BOD – Darcy is defense so great.

  10. Leinsterlion

     /  November 17, 2014

    Was at the game so dont have a full view of what went on+ pre and post drinks etc. What stuck in my mind.
    -Gilroy very poor, counted three/four missed tackles and the tackles he did make were awful and would be brushed off by a top class winger, added to a drop (of a high) pass under little pressure. Very poor outing imo
    -Darce and Cave offered nothing, two men with patently limited athleticism, only dirt trekker material at this point.
    -Zebo has no acceleration, he has a good step and eye for a gap, but he cut back to support instead of trying to go outside or went for the hole but couldnt speed through, is he carrying a niggle? One large black mark His overrunning of Diack happened right in front of me, a child could see Diack was not going to get his hands free but Zebo ran a stupid line and ball was turned over in a great position.
    -Front row got mangled in the scrums, Killer may have had a nice day around the park, but he is a liability in the scrums. Ross, I dont know, what was the point?
    -As you say McCarthy was anonymous. Our slow ball at ruck time obviously means he was not doing famed unseen work, he simply was ineffective.

    • ESPN has Gilroy making seven tackles and missing none.

      • Leinsterlion

         /  November 17, 2014

        I wonder what they define as a miss, or a tackle for that matter, he went in high twice, was palmed off and only “made” the tackle as cover came in to take the ball carrier down, those are missed tackles in my book.

    • With my untrained eye, Kilcoyne didn’t seem to be in too much trouble in the scrums. One penalty conceded in an 80-minute shift is pretty decent against a fancied front row. I have doubts about his scrummaging but yesterday would not be an exhibit I’d point to in order to make the case.

      • Leinsterlion

         /  November 17, 2014

        Maybe it was just my vantage point, I recall one collapsed scrum that went inexplicably for us and whilst the Georgian scrum never “killed” us, we looked anything but solid.

        • seiko

           /  November 17, 2014

          Isn’t scrummaging an 8-man effort? Ross not pulling his weight is going to make it a lot harder for his loosehead.

          • Leinsterlion

             /  November 17, 2014

            Fair point, I included Ross in my op, but mainly focused on Kilcoyne in the reply. Ross obviously did not put in a shift in the scrums and offered none of Kilcoynes dynamism(what was his try? 6/7m out? great explosiveness).

  11. To what extent does it matter that Ireland didn’t score tries in the first half? I agree that the lads were sloppy and wasted some good opportunities, which is always irritating, but I’m a little puzzled at the prominence of this narrative implying that all the tries in the last 20 didn’t really count as much because the Georgians were tired. Surely that was the point? I thought it was fairly telling that Schmidt himself pinned credit for the 2nd-half try-fest on the 1st-half effort. It’s characteristic of Schmidt teams to play a tight 50-60 minutes, then unleash the Cronins/Oldings off the bench to rack up a high score in the final quarter (see also: switching SOB across to the blindside for the last half hour, which he used to do all the time at Leinster). In the end what matters is the final score, no? (Unless you’re so bad it hurts; ref: Wales v Fiji)

    Having said that, I largely agree with the assessment of individual players. I don’t think anyone played themselves into contention for a starting spot against Oz, but that’s no great surprise. I would also bring back Henshaw/Payne if possible, but if not I’d start Olding at 12 and have Madigan on the bench. I do think this match provided additional proof that MOC needs his head examined for refusing to give Madigan a proper run at 10…

    • Aiit, bulldog, hope you’re well. I was disappointed because I’d like to think we are able to generate tries when we have pressure, even if a defence is fully fit. Before they became knackered we still were working with huge amounts of territory and possession, so lots of opportunity to cross the line, and we didn’t manage it.

      These disappointments are less about the game yesterday, specifically, and more about how we go about winning games against better opposition than this (where they don’t give us as much territory and possession, where their conditioning is better, and with defences that are better organised and with better players fundamentally). That’s definitely my main gripe, albeit I think it was overall a decent run out yesterday.

      And Georgia really didn’t give up easily, in fairness. Definitely better than I expected, in that facet anyway.

      • Xyz

         /  November 17, 2014

        I don’t think the tactics were about opening up the defence at will, though. Plan was to wear them down then win it in the last 20-30 minutes – and give Cheika nothing extra to work on during the week. That was a very guarded performance.

    • I entirely agree. Schmidt’s teams excel in absorbing pressure, grinding down the opposition, then turning the screws and exploiting the gaps that open up. As an Ulster fan who went to Twickenham, I had to admire the way Leinster did just that in the Heineken Cup final. (The NZ game is an exception that might prove the rule – against the very best, you need to attack from an unexpected direction.)

      As for Madigan, I was at the game and thus didn’t have the best view, but it didn’t change my view of him much. He’s undeniably talented, but he relies too much on that and his speed to get himself out of trouble that a too-casual approach can cause. Against Georgia, he was caught several times. Against a better side? (Then again, Joe praised his performance, so what do I know?) the improvement he needs is wholly mental, and more experience is where he’ll get it. For that reason at least, I hope he gets plenty more game time in Leinster, wherever he’s going to be needed most.

      • Fergal

         /  November 17, 2014

        I’ve been critical of Madigan before, saying that he makes wrong decisions and takes too much on himself. Thought he got the balance just right on Sunday; he ran it when it was on, kicked when it was on, passed it simply when that was on. An excellent performance that makes one wonder how Gopperth gets picked ahead of him.

  12. Agree with the general assessment(s). For the Oz match I think the only changes will be Foley instead of McCarthy on the bench and a different centre duo if Payne isn’t fit. I imagine Henshaw will shift to 13. I’ll go with whoever Joe picks at 12, be it Darce, Mads or Olding, as all have arguments for and in their favour and he’d have from training etc. a better idea of where they stand.

    One thing I must say, is how delighted I am Sean Cronin proved me wrong. I had doubts about his ability at Test level and he came through big times. Against SA he showed he can hook, in both matches his darts were straight and his backdoor pass to Jones for the latter’s try was sublime. Until then I actually didn’t think he had such skill in him. Fair play.

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, somebody in the IRFU had better sort out the MO’C-Madigan conundrum – quick. It would be totally irresponsible with the RWC only months away to allow MO’C continue using Madigan as a utility back. He should be Leinster’s default 10, starting the big Heino matches, as Ireland need him up to full speed in that position, should anything happen to Sexbomb.

    On a lighter note, I took a certain pleasure watching England come unstuck against the Boks. I actually ended up feeling sorry for the likes of Robshaw, who always gives his all, being let down by messers like Farrell and Hartley, who after Saturday’s performances I’d chuck off the squad. Farrell played crap, then he gets injured and won’t leave the pitch when they try to haul him ashore. Guy’s a spoilt brat and having him and his dad together in the set-up is a mistake, IMO. I never liked Hartley, but after Northampton beat Leinster in Lansdowne last year I grudgingly accorded him a bit of respect. No more. What he did in the middle of an international rugby match with ten of thousands watching in the ground and millions more on TV was pure GUBU: English forwards have a maul rumbling; a Saffer goes to ground; the maul keeps rolling; Hartley has to step over or around said opponent. What does he do? He slaps the South African’s knee, as if to tell everyone “Watch this” and then stamps on it as he passes over. A knee injury can be career ending. If Lancaster continues picking that moron, then he deserved all he gets.

    • I only caught the second half of the England match, but it was quite funny seeing them try and not engage mauls at lineouts and then end up getting the required two players sucked in anyway and see Lawes not know why he’s being pinged for sprinting round and sacking the back.

      Farrell should be dropped for the next two matches, certainly. Not because he’s fairly obviously out of form but for his sheer petulance at being called ashore (fairly sure you could hear him screaming at “WHO SAID?!” people when someone told him he was going off initially). England’s backline is a bit of a shambles, which isn’t totally Lancaster’s fault given the injuries, but they certainly lack cohesiveness and he’s been a guilty of having a few untouchables in his team recently. The pack was fairly monstrous though, dem mauls.

      That said, Wales for me won the award of biggest disappointments. 40 minutes playing Fiji with a one man advantage and they only scrape a 3-point win? Shambles. If I was a betting man I’d be putting money on (a) them not making it out of the pool and (b) a completely new coaching ticket in Wales by Six Nations 2016.

    • Fergal

       /  November 17, 2014

      Hartley has gouged someone, has bitten Ferris on the finger in a Test match and has cost his club team a League final, by getting sent off for foul and abusive language of the referee. Anything that guy does on a rugby pitch should be no surprise to anybody.

      • Red razors

         /  November 18, 2014

        You should have heard the sky commentary going on about how “controversy follows him everywhere”. Sorry lads, it’s not randomly following him, he is more than active in the creation of it. He is a thug, no more and no less. Farrell’s behaviour was in horrifically poor taste, petulant doesn’t even come close. While i’m not unhappy that they lost the game, from a rugby point of view it is galling to see a team with promise and good players unable to finish things off.

  13. Xyz

     /  November 17, 2014

    Consensus out there seems to be revert to the team against SA to face the Wobs (injury permitting). Not sure I quite get the reasoning there. Against SA we focused on kicking and having guys who could compete to regather the ball. Do we really want to kick the ball to the Aussies? Or have anyone competing in the air with Folau?

  14. connachtexile

     /  November 17, 2014

    What I like about us was that we never went into cruise control. Before if we played a tier 2 team we’d get a few points ahead and then take the foot off the accelerator. It didn’t happen here and the ruthless efficiency that Ireland dispatched the Georgians in the last 10 mins shows that this team have a harder edge mentally.

    • Joe Schmidt teams are not driven by emotion at all , they are actually emotionless , they barely celebrated beating the Boks , Leinster were like this aswell.

  15. Yossarian

     /  November 17, 2014

    The talk about Foley after this game just shows how unimaginative the irish media is. donal “Trenejus” Lenihan gives him man of the match and all of a sudden he is getting 8/10 match rating etc. this is not an attack on Foley who played very well as a debutante. Tackled well, popped up for good carries, ran the lineout and took his restarts. Now if that is not the base line for an international we are in real bother.Performing adequately (and as a debutant perhaps that is a “good” performance)is the minimum, not the above average and a Man of the Match performance. Kilcoyne, Jones or Madigan all did their job plus more. An award that is becoming redundant. the bandwagon hoping of the rest of the media is depressing.

    • Yossarian

       /  November 17, 2014

      should say “tremenjous”!

    • Leinsterlion

       /  November 17, 2014

      Exactly, bizarre choice for MOM.

    • I was watching this with a group of people and everyone’s initial reaction was that they’d misheard. Against that tough, Uncle Joe sang his praises afterwards though, and he’s not easily pleased.

    • Xyz

       /  November 17, 2014

      I watched the game on Sky and can’t recall the commentary team even mentioning his name.

      Though about the only thing I can recall from the commentary team is the fact that the Aussies are sending Beale ahead to Dublin on his own and the suggestion that Quinny should meet him at the airport to keep him out of trouble…

    • labrecha1

       /  November 18, 2014

      Very good point.

  16. Spikes

     /  November 17, 2014

    I know Kilcoyne is not everyone’s favorite (Frankie’s relentless touting of him a few years ago used to bother me) but I have developed a lot of respect for the guy. At scrum time, he seems out of the Marcus Horan school, not dominant but able to survive, but shows a lot around the park and appears to have a great attitude. If that still leaves him behind Cronin, Healy and McGrath, so be it but from the other side of a TV he looks a guy making the absolute most of his talent and the kind of player coaches like to work with.

    I felt for Cave. Played like he believed it was his last shot and tried too hard.

    • That’s pretty fair on Killer – we haven’t been massive fans, but he always does better than you expect him to. And has never been wiped out for Munster or Ireland has he

  17. zdm

     /  November 18, 2014

    D’arcy/Cave have the cut of two men who are very much aware that they are just making up the numbers – too loyal to refuse the call but too jaundiced to think that the coaching ticket really see a match such as this is more of a test of their skills than a Leinster/Munster derby or a big European night at Ravers. Very much two reliable old hounds to keep the lid on for the young bucks with something to prove.

    With respect to Zebo, he seems to be actively seeking the “x-factor” that might raise him from a “potentially” to a “probably” in a WC season but is forcing the issue a bit too much.

  18. SportingBench

     /  November 18, 2014

    I find the writing off of D’arcy slightly bizarre as after a poor start to last season and similar obituaries, he ended the season rejuvenated and playing better than he had in years. Obviously, given his age you have to watch for signs of his legs going particularly as veterans often have a last bloom before disappearing and last season could have been D’arcy’s. However I am sure that Joe will be looking for hard evidence of a dip in performance levels before writing off a proven performer who was so important last season. While I am sure the coaches will want another look at Henshaw and Payne in the centres if they’re fit, it seems odd to write off D’arcy as a major option at this stage, on the basis of one solid performance of two others against the Bokke playing to a particular system for that one game.

    • I agree I think Darcy still has it , Better 13 then 12 though , hes actually better with more space , contrary to whats been believed about him for years now , Pity he didnt have a shot there when he had pace , still a great warrior for the big tests , and a great player for the squad.

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