Tuesday, February 04, 2014

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

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Next up in our Ireland selection project is our Ulster blogger Laura Johnston - a team to overcome the Welsh, please!

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

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The Six Nations for each team is five games spread over a period of seven weeks. Ireland are off to a winning start, although I think the final score line is a bit harsh on Scotland. They played well at times, but the Boys in Green took their chances when they were offered.

Round two sees Ireland face a team who you could say we have a grudge against. We beat them last year but you can’t forget about the two previous years, were Ireland narrowly missed out on victory (A quick lineout here and a non-existent tip tackle there).

I thought on Sunday that the team performed well and took their chances. The front row held their own in the scrums, lineouts went well, the back row were superb, the backs had a few good runs , and over all we were defensively strong. Because of this I am only going to make a few changes to the team that Joe named for the Scotland game.

As I said above I thought the front row held their own in the scrums and were good in open play. The replacement front rows were impressive too. McGrath and Cronin were like for like replacements for Healy and Best and Moore had an impressive 20 minutes on his debut. Because of this my starting and replacement front row players are unchanged from the ones selected for Sunday.

  1. Cian Healy

  2. Rory Best

  3. Mike Ross

16. Sean Cronin

17. Jack McGrath

18. Marty Moore

Unfortunately Paul O’Connell became unwell with a chest infection between Saturday and Sunday, so was unable to lead the team. Dan Tuohy was informed whilst eating his porridge on Sunday morning that he would be making his first Six Nations start (long overdue in my opinion). Dan had big boots to fill and I think he filled them well. Tuohy was partnered by Toner who played well although he wasn’t as predominant or physical as Tuohy.

I think the Wales game will be a physical one, so my starting locks would be O’Connell, if he has recovered from his chest infection and Tuohy, due to their physical presence around the park.

I don’t think Toner has done anything wrong in my eyes, but as I said above I expect the game to be physical and therefore Ireland need a strong replacement lock. Because of this my replacement lock would be Iain Henderson. He is a strong guy and because of his versatility at lock and flanker, he would be a good impact sub.

  1. Dan Tuohy

  2. Paul O’Connell

19. Ian Henderson

All three of the backrow players from Sunday were immense. Either one of them could have picked up the man of the match award, but it went to Heaslip and he thoroughly deserved it. They were all very quick to get to the break down and even won a few turnovers. Therefore my backrow is unchanged. Tommy O’Donnell has impressed me over the last few months and deserves some more game time in green, so I have stuck with him at 20.

  1. Peter O’Mahony

  2. Chris Henry

  3. Jamie Heaslip

20. Tommy O’Donnell

The half back partnership of Murray and Sexton worked well. Murray has gone up in my ratings over the last year, he distributed the ball well and his box kicking wasn’t too shabby. Jonny Sexton played well although it took him a wee while to get used to playing the Irish style of rugby again. He threw a few dodgy passes but we will forgive him for that as his superb kicking made up for it. Therefore I am sticking with Sexton and Murray.

My replacement half backs are Isaac Boss and Paddy Jackson. I have chosen Bossy as he strives when playing in physical games, which I think Saturday will be. Paddy had a good cameo and was unlucky that his kick for Dave Kearney bounced into touch. That would have been an impressive try if it had worked.

  1. Conor Murray

  2. Jonny Sexton

21, Isaac Boss

22. Paddy Jackson

My backline is unchanged from the Scotland game. Both wingers’ took balls in the air well and made a few impressive line breaks. Trimble took his try well and Kearney was unfortunate not to score at the death.

Some people have suggested that D’arcy will partner O’Driscoll against Wales due to him being a more physical player that Marshall. I think Luke showed his worth and tackling ability on Sunday. Due to his youth and ability to see space to run into, I think he should start.

Rob Kearney has the 15 shirt firmly in his hands; he took his try well with some Scotland fans saying he should never have been allowed to score it i.e. bad Scotland defence.

My replacement back is Fergus McFadden, due to his physicality and versatility across the back line.

  1. Dave Kearney

  2. Luke Marshall

  3. Brian O’Driscoll

  4. Andrew Trimble

  5. Rob Kearney.

23. Fergus McFadden.

Ireland team for Wales

  1. Cian Healy

  2. Rory Best

  3. Mike Ross

  4. Dan Tuohy

  5. Paul O’Connell

  6. Peter O’Mahony

  7. Chris Henry

  8. Jamie Heaslip

  9. Conor Murray

  10. Jonny Sexton

  11. Dave Kearney

  12. Luke Marshall

  13. Brian O’Driscoll

  14. Andrew Trimble

  15. Rob Kearney


  16. Sean Cronin

  17. Jack McGrath

  18. Marty Moore

  19. Iain Henderson

  20. Tommy O’Donnell

  21. Isaac Boss

  22. Paddy Jackson

  23. Fergus McFadden

@LauraJ2803 is a Ulster rugby season ticket holder and has been for the past 7 years, she has been there through the highs and the lows and is hoping there are plenty more highs to come

NEXT WEEK ON “LET THE SCHMIDT HIT THE FAN” - with the Six Nations in full swing we begin our 7th round of selections and find out how our Connacht blogger sees the matchday 23 shaping up…

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