After the nightmare in Paris, Ireland is almost back on track. A triple crown is the obvious goal but we still should not give up on the Six Nations trophy even though France firmly have one hand on it.
Nothing beats the excitement and thrill of a win in Twickenham. Even in wet conditions Ireland got the tactics right. Unfortunately after a flying start Ireland were unable to build a meaningful lead however thanks to a wall of green neither were England.
Once again Ireland’s line-out was working like a well oiled machine, the scrum still looks a bit rough around the edges but the forwards made up for it at the breakdowns.
O’Gara’s substitution was well timed, experience was the key in the last 10 minutes especially with the loss of O’Driscoll. The kick to the corner which led to Tommy Bowe’s magnificent try was exactly what was needed. I hope that this game has given Ireland the confidence to reach full capacity in the last two games.
Lets not forget the quite man of the moment John Hayes winning his 100th cap, a truly remarkable achievement for any player never mind a prop-forward.
Full Prize Includes:
Helping the Bagman for the Day
Overnight Stay in a Dublin Hotel
€100 Paddy Power bet on the game
€100 Beer Money (you’ll need a pint after all that hard work!)
Signed Irish Jersey by the Team & Rala
This years Guinness autumn test matches will see Ireland face Australia (15th Nov), Fiji (21st) and South Africa (28th).
Brian O’Driscoll is set to resume captaining duties for the 3 autumn Internationals. There is no doubt Brian has the credentials to lead Ireland after captaining the team to win this years Six Nations Championship.
The Irish Squad are currently training in preparation for their first match against Australia. A number of injury concerns are hanging over the squad with Marcus Horan currently undergoing medical tests after experiencing dizziness in last months Munster match against Benetton Treviso.
Other concerns include Rob Kearney, Jerry Flannery, Tomas O’Leary, Paddy Wallace Denis Leamy, Tony Buckley and Leo Cullen. However most of these players are thought to be available for next weeks test match.
Paul O’Connell is soon to take charge of the 2009 Lions first test against the Springboks. Its going to be a very tough game for the Lions you have yet to be totally convincing.
5 Irishmen including O’Connell will start, Tommy Bowe, Brian O’Driscoll, David Wallace and Jamie Heaslip.
O’Callaghan, O’Gara and Kearney will start on the bench, it would be no suprise to see at least two get a run out.
L Byrne (Ospreys and Wales); T Bowe (Ospreys and Ireland), B O’Driscoll (Leinster and Ireland), J Roberts (Cardiff Blues and Wales), U Monye (Harlequins and England); S Jones (Scarlets and Wales), M Phillips (Ospreys and Wales); G Jenkins (Cardiff Blues and Wales), L Mears (Bath and England), P Vickery (Wasps and England), A-W Jones (Ospreys and Wales), P O’Connell (Munster and Ireland, capt), T Croft (Leicester and England), D Wallace (Munster and Ireland), J Heaslip (Leinster and Ireland).
Replacements: M Rees (Scarlets and Wales), A Jones (Ospreys and Wales), D O’Callaghan (Munster and Ireland), M Williams (Cardiff Blues and Wales), H Ellis (Leicester and England), R O’Gara (Munster and Ireland), R Kearney (Leinster and Ireland).
Now that we have all calmed down from the six nations we can focus our attention on the Irish contribution to this years Lions tour.
As far as we’re concerned it’s between two men, Brian and Paul. But which one? Both had outstanding six nations and are hugely experienced. Does leading a lions tour require a different kind of leader than at a national level?