Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Let The Schmidt Hit The Fan - Rd 3 (LEIN)

Time to hear from our Ireland selectors…this week our Leinster fan Iain O’Connor has a bash…

Click these links to find the most recent selections from Ulster, Connacht & Munster.

Just a reminder folks…the contributors’ task is to pick a matchday 23 as if the test were being played next weekend, so they must take current injuries into account

LTSHTF avatar

Ok. The H Cup has started, Leinster and Munster have played each other and the first batch of internationals are looming so as Manius Manilius said to his Legions before the battle of Carthage, “It is time to start taking this shit seriously.”

It is important, I think, to start by stating my ambitions for this November and for the 6 Nations. First off I don’t think winning is the main aim. Don’t get me wrong, winning would be a nice aside if it were to happen but I would be a far happier man if we lost a few games and built a team for the next ten years than if we put out dad’s army and struggled over the line with no look to the future. I can imagine a few of you shouting “But BOD never beat the All Blacks!” at your computer screens and to you I say two things. Number 1, the internet is not that interactive and I can’t hear you and 2 in the immortal words of Spock from Star Trek “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”. We need to look to the future, if we can help BOD’s legacy on the way all well and good, but first things first, let’s start to build.

We are in a rare situation where we have a lot of 30 plus players with a ton of experience and a good number of younger players who have, for the most part, a smattering of caps between them. It is a situation that, I think, we have been put in by our former head coach’s hatred of all things young. I can just see the UCC sports department being full of geriatric students for the coming years but I will digress and move on.
There have been a couple of knocks and bumps and stuff so I will talk about them as I get to them but without further messing let’s get it on

1. Cian Healy – Can you really argue with the Church? To my eyes still looks a little tired but still by far our best option.

2. Sean Cronin – I have had him at hooker since my first team and he has only gotten better while others have fallen away. The long term injury to Strauss means he will get more game time for Leinster. Still streets ahead of Sherry and Varley in terms of all round play. My only choice at 2.

3. Stephen Archer - Basically Mike Ross needs to be fit. Archer is in because I think he will be there eventually but he is not ready. I am usually a big believer in “if you are good enough, you are old enough” and that is true everywhere but the front row. Court is around, but what will we really gain from that. Hagan is another option. But basically, Mike Ross needs to be fit.

4. Paul O’Connell – Still in the team in spite of myself. Dan Tuohy is putting in a great shift lately for Ulster and Big Dev Toner has also impressed and either would be worthy to get a nod from the bench when Paul starts to lag. For now though he is a leader and reliable.

5. Donnacha Ryan – In my mind should come under pressure for his spot. He won’t but he should.

6. Sean O’Brien – Why? Just ask Dan Biggar

7. Peter O’Mahony – This one is a toss-up between Chris Henry and Peter O’Mahony with Donnacha Ryan in reserve and Fez on injury reserve, as they say in the States. O’Mahony gets the nod. Just.

8. Jamie Heaslip – Haters gonna hate but Jamie is still our best 8 in a few decades. Dynamic and does the graft as well as the flash. No other 8 comes near to challenging which may cause other issues but for now he is it. For me he is also captain.

9. Conor Murray – Pinnar started for Ulster in the H Cup against Montpellier and if it wasn’t for that reason I can’t start Marshall without opening myself up for ridicule. I prefer Marshall over Murray and for reasons why I will point to the 78th minute of the Munster loss to Edinburgh where Munster are in control and Murray takes it upon himself to box kick. Marshall is a different/better option at 9 but until he is settled as a starter in the big games for Ulster I can’t get away with having him in the Ireland team.

10. Jonny Sexton – Still streets ahead of Jackson and Maddigan even if it has not been too smooth at Racing.

11. Tommy Bowe – Tommy is back, so Tommy is in.

12. Luke Marshall – If he can keep his head from getting rattled then he is in at 12. Darcy is playing well again for Leinster and could be a nice mentor but I would like to see youth get a shot in the middle.

13. Darren Cave – Right, if BOD is fit then BOD starts. I see Cave as the man to take over at 13 completing an all Ulster centre partnership.

14. Fergus McFadden – Andrew Trimble has made a late surge for consideration. Zebo is injured but would be in behind both Fergie and Bowe. (Insert 3-some joke here)

15. Rob Kearney - Still the master of the high ball. I would like to see Henshaw get a run out at some point.

1. Cian Healy
2. Sean Cronin
3. Stephen Archer
4. Paul O’Connell
5. Donnacha Ryan
6. Sean O’Brien
7. Peter O’Mahony
8. Jamie Heaslip
9. Conor Murray
10. Jonny Sexton
11. Tommy Bowe
12. Luke Marshall
13. Darren Cave
14. Fergus McFadden
15. Rob Kearney
16. Damian Varley
17. Dave Kilcoyne
18. Tom Court
19. Devin Toner
20. Chris Henry
21. Luke Marshalll
22. Paddy Jackson
23. Robbie Henshaw

Iain O’Connor (@iain_not_ian) is a Leinster fan who should have retired from playing bad standard rugby years ago. Part time stand up comedian and full time radio person he is the presenter and creator of Heave, a schools rugby show on Dublin South FM. He also likes rugby league and names Alisona Taumalolo as his hero.


Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019