All eyes are on Ireland as the Six Nations rumbles into its penultimate weekend. It is with slight apprehension that Ireland take the position of favourites and grand slam hopefuls, far from a once favoured underdog status.
The Scotts will undoubtedly be looking to cause an upset to Ireland’s winning ways and one of the best chances we have of lifting the trophy in recent years. But there is an unrivalled level of commitment and enjoyment coming out of the camp in recent weeks strengthened by a string of impressive performances. From an outsiders view the squad seems to be one of the tightest units in European rugby with a new found mixture of experience, youth and depth.
Kidney it putting this depth to the ultimate test by making four changes to the Irish side who beat England. Eye brows will be raised as Flannery and Heaslip fail to make Kidney’s starting line-up. Both have impressed throughout the tournament and when it comes to Best’s line-out throwing this could prove to be a risky move. However Kidney has hedged this risk by starting Stringer and D’Arcy. Stinger replaces O’Leary who has been solid at #9 but simply has not been providing quick enough ball. D’Arcy should also add an intangible confidence that comes from experience and performance. Its an interesting move from Kidney and one which we will hopefully learn a lot from.
Ireland: Kearney; Bowe, O’Driscoll, D’Arcy, Fitzgerald; O’Gara, Stringer; Horan, Best, Hayes; O’Callaghan, O’Connell; Ferris, D Wallace, Leamy.
Replacements: Murphy, Wallace, O’Leary, Court, Flannery, O’Driscoll, Heaslip.