Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Let The Schmidt Hit The Fan - Rd 6 (LEIN)

The latest Irish team selection in our season-long project is from Leinster blogger Iain O’Connor…

Click this link for his last selection and these for the latest from Munster, Connacht & Ulster.

Remember…the general rule is to select a team based on current fitness for a test match to be played the following weekend.  The contributors are allowed some leeway however, since it’s all to get debate going.  Once it’s friendly debate of course! JLP

LTSHTF avatar

Count down is on to the 6 Nations and the next era of Irish rugby. For this one there is no more gimmicks or tricks, this is just my team chosen from the extended squad. There are only a few notable absences through injury but all in all this is my team to take to the field against the Scots on February 2nd.

1. Cian Healy – Big time player. We miss him when he is gone so he is most peoples number 1. Jack McGrath gets the understudy spot but would love to see Ah You get a shot to see what the commentators can come up with.

2. Sean Cronin – I bring this on myself I suppose but for me still our best option at hooker with Rory Best the old head to come off the bench. Now let the barrage of anti-Ulster abuse commence.

3. Mike Ross – It is Mike Ross but only just. Still clinging on but I think he is the weak link in the front row. Not having a great season but still better than any other option. Has the added bonus of being familiar to the other 2 front row players but I would see him as under threat.

4. Paul O’Connell – Joe made him captain so he is kind of nailed on. Will see how the body holds up through the 6 Nations but if it fails there is depth in the second row like never before. Tuohy, Henderson and McCarthy all playing well and pushing for game time.

5. Devin Toner – Form has dipped a little bit from the stellar heights he was hitting at the start of the season but I still think he is worth a throw in the big outings. Toss up between him and Henderson for me. I have gone with Toner but depending on opposition and tactics I could easily go for the Ulsterman.

6. Peter O’Mahony– I still think O’Mahony is behind 3 others in the back row pecking order but with injuries in mind he is more than capable of starting. With everyone fit it would be an SOB and Henry combo.

7. Chris Henry – As I said above would like to see him and SOB together. Still relatively untested at this level but sure wasn’t everybody at some point? Hopefully stays fit for the duration. The young duo of Ruddock and Jordi Murphy are also worth squad places and ones to watch in the next few years but the bench spot goes to Robbie Diack. Good performer and gets through the work, fair play to Joe for calling him up but now he has to use him.

8. Jamie Heaslip – Good old Marmite Jamie. There has been a lot talked about him in the last while in the press with his contract up in the air and the whole France but for me he is still the best in the business. People forget there is good reason clubs are chasing him. Tommy O’Donnell is playing well but isn’t at the same standard.

9. Conor Murray – The man who misses out the most in this team is Eoin Redden. Basically I want Marmion on the bench and don’t want a Leinster centric team. Redden is playing fantastically and should get the nod but my messed up logic means he is in the stands. Murray on the other hand, you get what you pay for. He will be solid. Marmion on the bench is exciting and could spark a game when brought on.

10. Jonny Sexton – Not having it all his own way with Racing but still offers the total package. Toss up between Jackson and Madigan for the understudy shirt. Madigan gets it on style for me.

11. Luke Fitzgerald – The starting wingers at the moment is probably the most debatable spot on the pitch. So many players going well and with a vast array of talent. Call it nostalgia or potential but I have gone for Luke Fitzgerald on the left. He is getting back to great form and could potentially be a game changer. Zebo and Gilroy have been brought into the squad so that gives you an indication of what Joe is thinking but I would have neither in the 23.

12. Luke Marshall – D’Arcy and his Pilates beard aside I am sticking with a bit of youth at 12.

13. Brian O’Driscoll – No real point in explaining. Henshaw on the bench covering most of the backline can slot in if needs be.

14. Dave Kearney – Playing well. As said above could be one of a number of players on the wing. Brings a nice balance to the back 3. Could lose his spot if others are fit or impress.

15. Rob Kearney – Solid as always.

1. Cian Healy

2. Sean Cronin

3. Mike Ross

4. Paul O’Connell

5. Devin Toner

6. Peter O’Mahony

7. Chris Henry

8. Jamie Heaslip

9. Conor Murray

10. Jonny Sexton

11. Luke Fitzgerald

12. Luke Marshall

13. Brian O’Driscoll

14. David Kearney

15. Rob Kearney

16. Jack McGrath

17. Rory Best

18. Stephen Archer

19. Iain Henderson

20. Robbie Diack

21. Kieran Marmion

22. Ian Madigan

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