Thursday, November 08, 2012

Keego on…Saffers & Skippers

In his twentieth offering for HoR2, Keego looks closer at Ireland’s challenge this weekend.

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We have reached a mile stone! Welcome to blog number 20! Thanks to anyone who has taken the time to read them and to those who joined in the debate on twitter and Facebook.

Here’s to at least 3 more …

On with the show.

As a starting point I do not want anything said below to be taken personally. The players and management do something that I was never good enough to accomplish. In other words, my green jersey is only a replica, so nothing is meant as a personal attack.

In saying that…..

It is match week for Ireland, and that usually means awful rumours about what Declan Kidney may or may not be thinking.

This weeks rumour is Simon Zebo (or straightline Zebo as I like to call him) will start at full back against a fairly strong South Africa team.

I understand the issues with injuries, but we have not lost enough players to entertain this idea. The lads on Against the Head (a great show – follow @rterugby) were contemplating Keith Earls at 15 citing the England game in the 6 nations. If anyone remembers, England didn’t kick the ball to him once, I still don’t know if he is capable of catch a ball in the air. The Keith Earls experiment is to get him into the 13 jersey when the great man retires (or when we can clone him). He needs to play there for these three games if this idea is still in the manager’s mind. We have to be forward thinking in these games. Zebo at fullback is not thinking with the future in mind. He is a winger, and a very good one at that. End of.

I am not sure if we are aware of this but WE HAVE A FIT FULL BACK!! Felix Jones is fit, playing well and scoring. Even if you want to leave Jones at home, Ian Madigan has been playing full back for Leinster! How is this being missed? Why are these two players not in the squad!? Especially when they will play in a position that will not upset the balance of the team.

I picked my team last week, and one choice aside (my 7-8 combo), we agreed that I had picked the best players that we have at our disposal in the best positions.

I would really like to thank those who tweeted me on last week’s blog. A healthy discussion was had and cheers to you all. @nkeegan if you want to continue the debate or hurl abuse at me.

With Ferris out for the first two matches, hopefully he will make the third against Argentina; the second row is in a tough spot. With the first choice 6 on the injury list there is talk of putting Donncha Ryan at 6, O’Mahony at 7 and captain Heaslip at 8. This is a fairly savage back row, again considering the injuries. This is also assuming that O’Connell starts at 5 with O’Callaghan at 4. Along with this, and I may get slated for it, Shane Jennings has been immense this season. Given the injuries, he wouldn’t be a bad call for 7. But going back to my future thinking sentence earlier, I do not think this would ever happen.

As for the captaincy. I think originally everyone thought it would be O’Connell in Drico’s absence. Then Paulie was having fitness issues, he appears to be ok to start on Saturday (I have just jinxed it haven’t I), but the word around the magic papers is that there will be a different captain to Paulie. It looks to be down to 2 men. Jonathan Sexton and Jamie Heaslip.

For me, Heaslip is the man for the job. I like the idea of a back rower being captain. The 10 has so much going on already without the armband. People are saying after Sextons half time talk in the Heineken cup against Northampton that he should be given a shot as captain. He can still make the gladiator style half time talks without being captain; he wasn’t captain in the final two years ago. I think the experience Heaslip has of leading out Leinster (and his unbeaten record as captain) tips the scales in his favour.

With the South African team being names on Wednesday I am quietly confident about this game. We know what they will do, big, tough, kick and chase type stuff (it is very easy to say this from behind my keyboard). We need to run them around, Earls at 13 will help that. We need our lineout and scrum to at least be on par with the ‘boks. Their kickers have not been performing; no out half of theirs has more than a 63% strike rate. They are undercooked. They are missing a few key players. There is a lot in our favour going into this game. We just need to get the simple things right.

I believe we can and will do it!

The last thing to look out for is Jamie Heaslip (give him a follow @jamieheaslip) and the mo he is sporting. If it is the porno-mo then we will win. It was an awesome sight last time we played, and beat the ‘boks.

Speaking of mo’s, go to Jamie’s movember page and give a few euros. It is a great cause.

http://ie.movember.com/mospace/484361

Lastly, and as usual, if you want to debate, ask, abuse me feel free to do so on twitter @nkeegan is where I am. Again, the usual reminder, if you want to hurl abuse, is prepared for my rebuttal.

Really looking forward to putting on the green jersey this weekend. Can’t wait!

Ireland by a drop goal.

Keego (@nkeegan): Newbie blogger, former professional wrestler, sometime attempted rugby player (@TheThirsty3rds), professional procrastinator and attempted musician with a fondness for long walks on the bar, tea and the couch. Opinionated Leinster fan and constant gardener.

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