This week it’s the turn of our Leinster blogger Iain O’Connor to name his Ireland team….a Triple Crown winning selection please, sir!
Click this link for his last selection and these for the latest from Connacht, Ulster & Munster.
They say you should never make a decision while angry. On Sunday I had decided to pick Neil Francis in every position, including Top, Bottom and Reverse Cowboy but out of respect for the site and people in general I just couldn’t be arsed.
Anyway. To business. Triple Crown deciders don’t come along every year, well not any more they don’t. The Scottish game was good, the Welsh game was better and I am hoping the progression is visible again this week. It has been a very settled side thus far in the championship and I am a firm believer in if it ain’t broke… just tinker with it slightly. I don’t think we are at the stage where complacency is an issue so I would say keeping the team as is on the whole is the way to go.
I disagree with a few of the team but 2 wins out of 2 and starting to build in confidence is not the time to ring change for the sake of it. Especially when there is a recently made up bit of silverware to compete for.
I have been unimpressed with England this season. They have been weak, especially in the centre and outside backs. That is where we can hurt them so my game plan would be simple. Lineout, brief maul, flash wide eventually. I have picked the side accordingly.
1. Cian Healy – No Dan Cole means that either a very young or very unfit prop in a white shirt is in for a bad day at the office.
2. Rory Best – Not my first choice hooker but is working well and like I said above, no point in upsetting it at this stage. Needs to be on form with the darts to get the rolling maul working.
3. Mike Ross – Needs a big day out to restore a bit of faith. Not doing anything wrong per say, just hasn’t been up to the standard of recent years. Moore, McGrath and Cronin will be on around the 65 min mark.
4. Paul O’Connell – If he doesn’t get another sniffle he will start. We are grand if he doesn’t which is nice to see. Still though, chest infection? Wuss
5. Devin Toner – I would stick with the long armed monster as his prowess in the lineout may be our best weapon. Tuohy, before injury, Henderson and McCarthy have pitched good claims too but for this one I am with Dev. Ryan just back from injury doesn’t get a look in in my book.
6. Peter O’Mahony – Game Face, as he should be better known, has been great thus far. Need to shut up with the ref and to stop butchering the anthem but all in all has been playing out of his skin.
7. Chris Henry – Has been a revelation, which kinda wasn’t surprising. He has gone under the radar slightly with O’Mahony taking most of the plaudits but has gone about his business and popped up with a deserved try. Will take some moving from the back row when injuries start to return.
8. Jamie Heaslip – Solid as always. O’Donnell provides back row cover on the bench but only just ahead of Jordi Murphy.
9. Conor Murray – I don’t see what everyone is banging on about with his box kicking. I think it has been poor. For me a good box kick is one you win back but hey, I am an idealist. Playing well regardless. Redden on the bench for me, Boss is unlucky but I have to make some changes or else it looks like I haven’t tried. Would like to see Marmion on the bench for France and Italy.
10. Jonny Sexton – Laurence Dellaglio is right. If they stop/hurt/maim him they have a chance. They don’t have anyone to stop him so it’s no panic.
11. Andrew Trimble – I for one thought starting him was madness. I for one have been happy to be proved wrong. It has been great to see him back to form again and long may it continue.
12. Gordon Darcy – I am not going to lie. If Luke Marshall had a beard it would be a much tougher call. Can still make the 1 and 2 yard breaks from standing starts (against 12 trees these actually translate to 5 and 6 yard breaks) and gets you going forward when you need it most. This twilight of his career is suiting him. Must be all the pilates
13. Brian O’Driscoll – 3 more games and he is out. Enjoy him while he lasts.
14. Fergus Mc Fadden – Dave Kearney is unlucky to miss out. I really have no real reason for making the change. We will lose something under high balls but will gain something in defence and go forward ball. Let’s face it though, the English wings are of a standard that an over 40’s would keep contained and score against so it doesn’t really matter. Will cover the centre too with Kearney Jr. on the bench
15. Rob Kearney – He is the protector of boy bands. Enough said.
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. Andrew Trimble
15. Rob Kearney
16. Jack McGrath
17. Sean Cronin
18. Martin Moore
19. Iain Henderson
20. Tommy O’Donnell
21. Eoin Redden
22. Paddy Jackson
23. Dave Kearney
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.