Muddy Waters

The waters are muddying. We thought we had it all under control. Michael Bent, 17 forwards, six half-backs leaving a jam to squeeze eight players in to suffieciently cover off all the outside back positions. Done!

Then Isaac Boss goes and plays so badly that Ian Madigan looks set to be required to cover scrum-half in the now-unthinkable scenario where one or both of Conor Murray and Eoin Reddan get injured. It’s a bit of a throwback to 2007 when Geordan Murphy was nominally our third choice fly-half. Madigan has scarcely any experience there, and while Schmidt has no doubt thought this through very carefully, the best we can go on is that Madigan is a really good passer and quick over the ground, so he has some of the constituent parts of the scrum-half’s game. Time was that was probably enough, but given the modern day scum half’s requirement to dig slow ball out of messy rucks, escape the attentions of flailing limbs before getting the ball away and box-kick for territory, it’s not that simple.

Anyway, the hope is that it will simply never come to pass. Madigan might have to fill in there for 20 minutes against Canada, but that’s likely to be as big a deal as it gets. Hopefully. And no, this isn’t like Matt Giteau acting as emergency third scrummie for Oz – Gits is outrageously talented and one of the best players in the world – he has six caps for the Wobblies at scrum half. We would be asking Madigan to do something he hasn’t ever done before – well, almost never.

However, what it would do is allow one extra berth in the back five, which was looking worryingly tight with just eight names, especially with cover at centre and full-back looking like being a mish-mash of players more used to playing in other positions. Ian Madigan was down in most people’s heads as the primary cover at 12, but it would seem to be a peculiar everything-and-nothing workload for the bequiffed one to have to perform the role of back-up for three different positions. Here’s how we saw it:

Centres: Henshaw, Payne, Earls

Wings: Zebo, Bowe, Trimble, Dave Kearney

Full-backs: Rob Kearney

Cover for inside centre would have been provided by Madigan, and Zebo would be primary cover for full-back.

That’s your eight, and excludes Luke Fitzgerald, Felix Jones and Darren Cave, as well as those further down the pecking order, Gordon D’arcy and Craig Gilroy.

The Madigan-to-9 thing would allow room for one more of the above names to squeeze in. A lifeline for Fitzgerald? That might be one’s first assumption, but given the woefully thin cover at centre, it might just be that someone like Darren Cave, more specialised centre cover and comfortable at both 12 and 13, could be drafted in. A further option is to bring Felix Jones, just the type of hard-running, hard-working player Schmidt appears to be a big fan of, could make it, with Zebo allowed to focus solely on the wing.  Too much is perhaps made of the ability of Payne and Henshaw to cover full-back.  They’re Ireland’s first choice centre partnership, so Schmidt would be loathe to have to break them up in the event of injury to Kearney.  It’s too much shuffling around.

The Welsh selection may start to reveal some, or none, of this. The plot thickens, the picture becoming less clear, rather than more clear, by the day.

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82 Comments

  1. I know Schmidt is keen on Luke as a wing, but surely he could easily slot in at centre as well? Then again it’s not clear whether he’s trained there with Ireland, but if Mads is covering 9 it wouldn’t be such a strange thing!

    • jacothelad

       /  August 26, 2015

      Fitzgerald looks like a good rugby player until he has to do something, then he rarely produces the goods. people make all sorts of excuses – such as the laughable ‘scoring tries isn’t the main job of a winger,’ bluff – for his lamentable scoring record but would pillory any one else for the same.14 tries in almost 6 years. FFS. Who else would get away with it? Here we have a winger playing in the top side in Europe who couldn’t score in a knocking shop nor catch a cold in a cold and ‘flu trial. In any other side he would be described how? A show pony springs to mind with hands like one. There are plenty of players who most regard as decent but not quite international class – Darren Cave for example or Noddy Jones yet Fitz’ is dressed on the Emperor’s New Rugby Shirt. Just my opinion.

      • Leinsterlion

         /  August 26, 2015

        Harsh, though I see your point, you are discounting the toll injury has taken on his body, though, if you look at his career graph its been downhill and injury after injury since 08/09. You aren’t going to be running in tries from halfway if your adductors are held together with masking tape.

        You can see(in flashes) what he could/can do, the step away from contact, the burst of acceleration, he’s solid in D and has adequate hands(though when he does beat one man or work himself into a corner he is wont to take it to deck as opposed to offloading into the space he has made, which melts my brain). If it was me I’d mould him into a twelve, or teach him how to offload and play him 13. I dont think he has the gas or nous to be a full time international winger anymore, but he definitely has the talent to be a very good center.

        • But if he plays 12 or 13 he’s more exposed to injury. Bit of a catch-22.

        • Kelly

           /  August 26, 2015

          Your totally right. He looks like a player who’s had the spark knocked out of him by the toll he injuries have had on him. Technically he’s all still there. Great hands, gets himself in the right positions and is a brilliant defender. But he lacks the burst to pull away from people and the confidence to back himself to beat a player or push a pass.

          I don’t know enough about the move to 12/13 but it’s worth a shot at this stage. Of all Irish players I’d love for him to have a couple of years injury free and playing well.

  2. Rava

     /  August 26, 2015

    I like the idea of having Cave in the squad. I think he’s good enough to start at either 12 or 13 against any of the Group opposition.

  3. Roundy

     /  August 26, 2015

    Earls in the centre? Good winger but not aq centre. If you lookin for cover at centre (12 or 13) what about McFadden?

    • Not this again. Earls played pretty well against Wales in centre. Wing is probably his best position but he is a capable centre. More than capable of covering there.

      • Leinsterlion

         /  August 26, 2015

        Two/three tackles missed against Mickey Mouse Cymru, he is great going forward and has the one ingredient that we badly lack(pace), but if we are up against any serious team he will be a liability in D at 13, he doesn’t have it.

      • Getting sick of the “earls can’t play centre” argument. He wouldn’t be first choice, but he’s quite capable of it. The fact that there’s almost as many comments here questioning his ability to play at centre as there are questioning madigans ability to play at 9 is totally baffling to me.

    • Kelly

       /  August 26, 2015

      No offence to Ferg who’s as honest a rugby player as you’ll find and will never let you down but Ireland aren’t winning anything with him in the centres or on the wing. He’s the modern day John Kelly. Great solid club man but nowhere near International quality. Earls on the other hand can be unplayable at times if he hits top form. He offers pace we don’t have and the ability to beat a man one on one.

      And before anyone mentions his tackling lets remember Ferg’s last big outing at 13.

  4. ORiordan

     /  August 26, 2015

    Is Trimble definitely fit? Or do we need to wait until the Wales selection to find out…? If he can’t make the Wales game then I can’t see the management gambling on his fitness.

    • We’re going on the positive update from Sinead Kissane yesterday, but I would say it’s yet to be 100% confirmed.

      • The worry I have about Trimble is that he’s just about getting fit, and then going into a game goes on and crocks it for another few months. We’re in a similar situation with Moore and Healy. While Healy is undoubtably world class and is probably the one currently touch-and-go player who would make the plane, surely we can’t be gambling on lads who still sound like they’re being held together by sticky-tape in terms of their recovery?

        • I share your “sticky tape” misgivings, Tran. Of the three players mentioned, I think Church is one I would most want involved in a match against the likes of France. At this stage I’d nearly send Marty Moore back to Leinster and elect to take Jake White, who had an impressive outing against the Scots and whose general around the field play would seem to be better than Mike Ross’. The backs lottery is too complicated for me to figure out. I’ll leave that to others….

          • SportingBench

             /  August 26, 2015

            I think the point is that for potential starters like Trimble and Healy, they aren’t needed for the first couple of weeks so if fit but not sharp they still have a month or 6 weeks of time. Different if your job is primarily cover.

        • toro toro

           /  August 26, 2015

          He might be eligible, as he’s never been capped, but getting on a bit. And I don’t think he’s ever played prop. At 52, he’d represent a gamble.

        • D6W

           /  August 26, 2015

          I don’t think the Healy and Trimble situations are comparable. In the case of Trimble, thare are a number of alternative starters who have arguably the same level of ability and form. WIth Healy, the alternatives, while good, are simply not in the same world class.

  5. I’d love Fitzy to make it but unfortunately think his ship has sailed after an up and down performance against Scotland (late try apart)

  6. D6W

     /  August 26, 2015

    Not exactly sure where this Madigan at 9 line has come from. Kiss is quoted by IT this morning as saying Madigan has not trained there, so if Joe was thinking along those lines, I think it is unlikely that he would not have road tested it in training already. That said, it is possibly that Joe would travel with 2 scrum halves, and bring Marmion in if there is an injury. Risky, but Reddan and Murray are not injury-prone type players.

    I agree with the eight outside backs you list, although if Fitzy is to get a look-in, I think it may be at Bowe’s expense, who still has a big form question to anwser.

    • Stephen

       /  August 26, 2015

      He has trained there though. He was literally photographed training there at one of the open sessions in Connacht.

    • Hairy Naomh Mhuire

       /  August 26, 2015

      If you’re taking about parachuting a 9 into the squad in the event of injury I’d guess Boss’ experience of 2 previous RWC would shade it for him even accounting for recent performances?

      • Stephen

         /  August 26, 2015

        As Whiff have said, he’s only started 7 of his 23 Ireland caps. (Any at World Cups?) Not exactly oozing experience; more experience of playing Nintendo/PS1 (insert 2007/2011 consoles here) in the squad hotel.

    • laraxwell

       /  August 26, 2015

      Really don’t think Schmidt will leave out Bowe, -not after being ‘in the running to be Tommy’s Best Man’.
      Tommy just needs to wake up from the honeymoon stupor.
      He’s proven
      He’ll come good

      • Amiga500

         /  August 26, 2015

        Not 100% convinced this isn’t the slide to retirement to be honest.

        I thought 6 months ago he looked like a man physically labouring to beat Father Time – and a few of us on the Terrace at Ravenhill have since convinced ourselves (rightly or wrongly) that its getting worse.

        The consensus being – brains and hands are still there, the speed, endurance and maybe even hunger aren’t what they were and are getting worse – comes to the best unfortunately.

        • laraxwell

           /  August 26, 2015

          well he was revered at the Ospreys, and turned out may times at 13 -I thought he’d continue to play that role here. I can’t comment on the hunger -but he’s (just) 31 and a World Cup ought be a pinnacle for him. Never saw him as a speed merchant -infamously caught before the line in the last WC v Australia, but his game intelligence, running lines through inside channel, singing qualities etc etc make him worth the ticket still for me.

        • D6W

           /  August 26, 2015

          Having watched the last couple of Ulster games, I thought the same. But I am hoping that Schmidt will give him a runnout against Wales to give him one last chance to prove he still has it. But if he is not up to it, I would not bring him.

    • Simple reason Bowe isn’t playing 100% is he doesn’t want too.

      Anybody watching Madigans first Garry Owen in the Scotland match which Bowe went to chase? He goes over on his ankle and is grasping it for a few mins. I’d say from that moment on he wasn’t going to risk going for anything in what was ultimately a pointless match.

      I’d back Bowe to play well when it matters.

      • Hairy Naomh Mhuire

         /  August 27, 2015

        That would be a pretty risky strategy given level of competition for places and Joe’s propensity to pick on form!!

        • I know it sounds risky but I think certain players have enough in the bank to carry them on (Healy being the obvious proof of this). Dropping Bowe whatever way you look at it would be a massive moment if it came to pass. I’d still say him and Trimble are Joe’s ideal starters for the wing given there size and ability in the air.

    • ehhweasel

       /  August 28, 2015

      Nonsense, Bowe has zero chance of being left out.

      • osheaf01

         /  August 28, 2015

        He might not make the Test team, but he will certainly make the squad, if fit.

      • D6W

         /  August 28, 2015

        We will know soon enough on Monday. But if zero chance of being left out, odd that he has been sent back to Ulster for a friendly rather than playing for Ireland tomorrow.

  7. laraxwell

     /  August 26, 2015

    loving the work done on these pages

    Yes -Earls in the centre has been done to death…English guffaw at memories of Manu and he. Sure Earls has the gas, the hip and step to clean up v opening 2 games but would fear for him there v France. And don’t you build a squad based on the big games..ie not point builders (Rom & Can) -won’t be a factor in this group.
    Cave went well a few weeks back but really how relevant was that game?
    He had a bad case of the dropsies in Argentina last year.
    Dave Kearney may be pulling up trees in training (selective media leakage to pre empt selection?) but I can’t see him usurp Fitzgerald. Sure he was poor last time out (few weren’t) but he went well when it mattered v Scotland in 6N.
    If Zebo makes it, I think he does so as back up FB with his handy left boot in a kick driven attack. Agree with above re not pricking about with primary roles for Payne and Henshaw.
    Madigan to 9 -why the sounbite now? -Joe must have decided to bring just the 2 9’s
    so -pity -I’d like to have had another look at Marmion. He went well last weekend, and how long does he take the rap for his Wolfhounds game?
    Props -I like Kilcoyne but, yeah,ongoing penalty yield is expensive. Can’t comment further as injuries are making a right stew of selection. But If Moore is good to go then I’d bring Kilcoyne.
    Anyhow -lots of babble.
    I fear an angry Welsh side coming to visit soon

  8. Mary Hinge

     /  August 26, 2015

    Schmidt will bring three scrum halves. The selection for Saturday will give a good indication as to whether it’s Boss or Marmion. It was Boss’ to lose and then Scotland happened. They don’t quite trust Marmion, so he may understudy Murray on Saturday to allow them one last look at him.

  9. Amiga500

     /  August 26, 2015

    Peter Stringer Peter Stringer Peter Stringer!!!!!

    • Leinsterlion

       /  August 26, 2015

      The return of Stringer has become Irish rugby’s Arthurian legend, a nine with an accurate, fast pass who will return and save us in our hour of need.

      • ORiordan

         /  August 26, 2015

        Maybe Schmidt will write “Excalibur” on the side of the ball and see what scrum half can pull it out of a ruck.

        • Leinsterlion

           /  August 26, 2015

          12:30am, day three, Carton House back pitches. Everyone has long since left, support had given away to mockery and then, finally, pity, most gave him a sympathetic pat as they filed past, eyes averted. “Fuck them” Tomas O’Leary said to himself, “I can do it I know I can”, as he gave another great heave, sinews straining, feet planted trying in vain to move the ball from the bottom of the ruck. “STRIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNGGGGERRR” he bellowed, invoking the God of the fast pass, as it started to rain.
          The groundsman, having seen enough switched off the floodlights, and motioned for the vet to load the shotgun, “what good was a scrumhalf that’d lost its pass…It’d be an act of mercy” he told himself, wiping a tear from his eye.

          • osheaf01

             /  August 26, 2015

            A pity that the vet seems to have continually missed Boss, then.

      • Amiga500

         /  August 26, 2015

        Stringer looks like Merlin conjuring up quick flat and accurate passes as if by magic, relative to Boss’s* slow pondering to a ruck, looking all around, then lofting a floaty piece of crap to an out-half who is by that point pondering if they are now the same age as King Aurthur given how long they’ve been waiting for the bloody ball.

        *whose presence in the squad given his form over the past 18 months is a mystery.

        Probably also less brain-fart susceptible than Reddan too.

  10. DonerMews

     /  August 26, 2015

    Interesting stuff, I think Felix Jones has a fairly good chance of making the plane despite a lot of people assuming he wont. He wouldn’t exactly be my cup of tea but he’s a solid, safe pair of hands backup to Kearney and at least he’s a proper full time FB. As mentioned, Joe will be loath to moving the likes of Payne away from centre should Kearney get injured and Zebo at FB has it’s fair share of risks. Is Joe going to leave somebody out who’s been something of an ever present for him?

    • Xyz

       /  August 26, 2015

      Kearney is so far off his best I’d struggle to see what either Jones or Zebo would lack to start a test match at FB.

      • DonerMews

         /  August 26, 2015

        A lot of the Kearney criticism is way over the top. Granted He has been, by his high standards, in poor form dating back to his injury pre the last Lions tour. I’d still put him in a completely different class to Jones or Zebo and it doesn’t take a genius to know that he’s Schmidt’s first choice by some way. Why? A) His poor form has clearly been more for Leinster than Ireland. In an Ireland shirt he hasn’t been spectacular of late but he hasn’t been way off either. You don’t win back to back six nations with a dodgy FB B) Aerially, he’s so far ahead of Jones and Zebo it doesn’t even merit debate C) People talk about Kearney living off his 2009 form. He was European Player of the year in 2012 and was favorite for starting lions FB in 2013 prior to getting injured. Form is temporary. Class is permanant. I’d take Kearney at 75% over Zebo or Jones all day long. So will Joe.

        • XYZ

           /  August 26, 2015

          That’s a full throated rebuttal of a lot of shit I didn’t say.

          To be clear, I think Kearney is a fine FB. But can’t see why he is a nailed on starter. Agree that Joe will select him to start though.

          • DonerMews

             /  August 26, 2015

            It’s a full throated rebuttal against the wave of Kearney nonsense being spouted around the place. He’s nailed on because he’s streets ahead of anybody else, even on an off day.

          • Amiga500

             /  August 27, 2015

            I’d have Jared Payne at full back before Kearney any day of the week to be honest. He’d be full back at Ulster all the time if I’d any say in it.

            Unfortunately for Joe, that then leaves a difficult to fill gap at outside centre. Yes, you could move Henshaw out, but then who slots into 12. If the world cup was next year, Stuart McCloskey might be a real option for the rejig… but if yer aunt had balls…

  11. Kevin

     /  August 26, 2015

    I think Earls would be a liability in the centre vs France and beyond but he could clean up against the minnows and is good to bring for versatility, though I would promote Fitz if anything happened to Henshaw or Payne. I think that match againt Wales counts for sweet f*** all. It was very pleasing to see us do excellently at set pieces and breakdowns but lets not kid ourselves, it was like when the Lions play a ‘Combined XV’ of students and farmers. Cave had a field day and I think that shows the level of opposition we were up against! He was painfully slow in the Argentinian tour last year and can’t remember him doing anything against the might of Georgia, so fairplay for beating what was in front of him but I’d like to see him against proper opposition before he’s picked over someone like Fitz (just as good a defender, bigger and faster)

    • The argument isn’t so much “is Cave better than Fitzgerald” as “who offers the better inside centre cover” – and we think Cave does

      • laraxwell

         /  August 26, 2015

        no, but debate really is whether we can afford a third option at 12.
        A fit Sexton means Madigan makes matchday squad.

        • The point we’re making if Boss gets jettisoned, we can hardly ask Madigan to cover 9, 10 and 12. So the vacant slot should go to someone who can cover 12

          • laraxwell

             /  August 26, 2015

            I’m not taking the Madigan at 9 thing seriously though
            Notwithstanding the fact that injured players cannot return to squads, can’t we leave Marmion/Boss on ice here and just take two 9’s.
            I wouldn’t advocate this in the more injury prone hooking position.

          • D6W

             /  August 27, 2015

            I’m with Laraxwell on this one. I don’t buy Madigan at 9, but I could well see Joe only bringing 2 SH. But I am not sure we need a specialist 12 cover, Payne can play at 12, and we have a number of players who could play 13.

      • D6W

         /  August 26, 2015

        Would Cave@12 and Payne@13 be better than say Payne@12 and Fitz/Earls@13? Remember Joe has siad he believes 12 and 13 are interchangeable. I would not be surprised if we only bring 2 SH, but not sure if Cave would take the free slot. Maybe another prop considering the Church situation,

      • Rava

         /  August 26, 2015

        My point exactly. Neither Fitzy or Earls cover 12.
        I’d say Madigan will cover 12 in a matchday 23 on most occasions but would he start there in any of the Group games?

    • Stephen

       /  August 26, 2015

      He was also called back from holiday, and operating outside D’Arcy – no longer anyone’s definition of quick – against Georgia.

  12. I think Schmidt gave a strong indication that he doesn’t pick his wings based on try scoring record/ratio when he picked Fitz over Zebo for the final six nations game in Scotland. I think all things being (nearly) equal he picks the biggest players. I’ve given my own picks here last week: https://phatguerilla.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/all-aboard-the-hype-train/

    • laraxwell

       /  August 26, 2015

      Good stuff. Can’t go with you on Jones though. He’ll probably trip over Fitzgerald in training and knock the pair out of the squad

    • seiko

       /  August 26, 2015

      Zebo has started 9 of the last 11 games that Ireland have played under Schmidt (subbing for first warm-up game v Wales). Luke was fit for the last 6Ns but he started Zebo for all but one of those games (v Scotland the weakest team in the competition). Far more likely Fitz is being looked at as Zebo’s back-up on the left wing. I’d say Cave is definately out if Fitz is starting in the centre v. Wales.

      • Zebo was snubbed in place of ‘Average’ Dave Kearney though was he not? And only brought into the squad when he, Trimble and Fitz were all injured? (not 100% about the injury overlap but I think that is the case).

  13. Linglivegeraldsie

     /  August 26, 2015

    I really just don’t understand all the hate that Luke is subjected to.
    In the 13/14 season he was only just coming back from injury – yet he still managed to make the bench for the NZ game, and came on and played well – he was arguably leinsters best player for the majority of the first half f the season and most people were expecting him to start the 6n. He then picks up that niggly (groin?) injury and is gone for he season. Last season it was somewhat similar. He was more or less leinster only player in the back line playing well and carried them at times. He was the publics choice for 13 but Payne was given the jersey. It seems joe saw him only as an 11 etc. he doesn’t play until the Scottish game and does well. Then last week he has a mixed bag (just like Zebo) and all of a sudden he’s over the hill?
    The man has an incredible pedigree and is actually in better shape physically than he was in 09. He’s close to being a world class defender, he’s very good in contact with the ball in hand and has very few weaknesses. Regarding his strike rate, a huge amount of tries that wingers score are walkovers that almost any back would score. Fitz has not had his fair share of these and it comes down to chance. I do agree that he has lost some of his top end pace but he never really relied on that any way. His agility and acceleration are just as good as ever imo.

    I think his one weakness is in terms of kicking/aerial, he’s never been the best in terms of fielding and positioning for high balls. I reckon if it wasn’t for this joe would have him as one of the first names on the xv

    • Here here.

    • Kevin

       /  August 28, 2015

      excellent, excellent assessment. There is still hope!

    • JT64

       /  August 28, 2015

      Someone speaking sense re Luke. Class act, his poor try scoring record comes down to his horrid luck with injuries – he hasn’t played THAT many games!

      • ORiordan

         /  August 28, 2015

        Then count the number of games.

        Last season Craig Gilroy scored 13 tries in 22 games for Ulster. Fitzgerald has taken 74 games over the last 5 seasons to score 13 tries for Leinster.

        His strike rate per game is miles behind players like Bowe, Trimble and Earls (or even Darren Cave!)

        He really isn’t quick enough or powerful enough to be a top wing, and his flashy step usually ends up going nowhere as defences know that is the only thing they need to look for.

        • D6W

           /  August 28, 2015

          No, count the number of minutes on the pitch where he was playing wing.

        • Theeggwasonthegate

           /  August 28, 2015

          There’s some logic to that and there are certainly some concerns to aspects of Fitzgeralds game (no different to any of his rivals) but how many of his 74 games were brief cameo appearances off the bench? I think a tries per minute stat would be somewhat closer… Also, 1 try from 1 Ireland appearance in the warm ups so far, be interesting to see how he goes tomorrow.

  14. toro toro

     /  August 27, 2015

    No spoilers, but:

    tomorrow’s pick is going to strongly indicate that Healy and/or Moore is not terribly likely to make it, and that Mads may be a jack of still more trades before the month is out.

    • toro toro

       /  August 27, 2015

      (42.ie’s info clashes with mine)

      • How so? They have White starting, and no colour on back up 9 – if that’s Reddan, got to think Boss and Marmion odds against

        • toro toro

           /  August 27, 2015

          My little birdie now tells me I misheard it. Furlong to bench rather than to start. Either way, it suggests that a 5-prop strategy is now less likely, meaning both that one or more of Moore and Healy may be worse than hoped, and that a 2-scrummie strategy looks like a goer.

  15. Dexy says Luke is at 13. It’s odd to think that he’s never played a world cup test and that he’s been playing for so long but is only a month older than Earls and 8 months younger than Cave?

  16. ORiordan

     /  August 27, 2015

    Does the selection for Wales un-muddy the waters? Do Trimble and Bowe lining up for Ulster mean “nothing more to prove lads” and it is about game time for them?

    • D6W

       /  August 27, 2015

      I thought Bowe did have a bit more to prove, I really thought he would get a run on Saturday. I think it is not looking good for him at the moment.

  17. DMcG

     /  August 27, 2015

    Any ideas on why Gilroy is not being given a chance? I’m genuinely puzzled.
    He scored 13 tries last season, can cover at FB; and is a lot quicker and more dynamic than Jones or Kearney (among others).
    Ironically, he and Earls outplayed their incumbent Ireland colleagues Bowe and Zebo in the run-in last season – that is not to criticise them as I am fans of both, merely an observation.

    • His defense and kicking is pish, and both of those things have to be top notch for this team (imo).

    • Yossarian

       /  August 28, 2015

      for a guy who played a fair bit of fullback his kicking is pretty woeful.

  18. eatmypoint

     /  August 28, 2015

    Would the Madigan as 3rd 9 option not be more likely to be used to bring an extra prop? So back to an 18/13 split with Moore and Healy brought (along with White and Kilcoyne) and Bent presumably left behind.

  19. Mary Hinge

     /  August 28, 2015

    My 31 (for what it’s worth)
    Backs: R Kearney, Bowe, Trimble, D Kearney, Zebo, Earls, Payne, Henshaw, Sexton, Madigan, Jackson, Murray, Reddan, Marmion.
    Forwards: Healy, McGrath, Bent, Ross, White, Best, Cronin, Strauss, O’Connell, Toner, Ryan, Henderson, O’Brien, O’Mahony, Heaslip, Henry, Murphy.

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