Monday, March 03, 2014

Keego on…Twickers and Tweaks

Back after a spell on the sidelines, it’s the welcome return of Keego…

Keego logo

I have been away for a while. Mainly trying to make a clone of a certain retiring Irish sporting legend. I failed miserably, but I did come up with a mega cure for erectile dysfunction. I will be selling this at each home match for province and country from now on.

So here we go. The 6 nations are in full swing. We kicked off against Scotland. A quite horrendous Scotland. They have a handful of good players (Hogg, Maitland and Gray) along with an awful lot of bad players. We were expected to win, the hangover from that game that I shall not mention, was in full effect.

We worked hard, we looked like scoring anytime we got near the line and won comfortably. Everyone played well. But we had to remember that it was Scotland. We should have done that to them.

The first proper test was against Wales. 2 time defending champions and powerhouses of northern hemisphere rugby.

Apparently they were there, but I didn’t see them on the pitch. I was lucky enough to be there e in the north stand to watch this match and it was great to see the King Joe game plan working against a top side. We spotted the threat in the midfield so we kicked over them and into the corners of Lansdowne. An absolute destruction of a top team resulted. We were better everywhere and the Irish maul was becoming a potent weapon.

Potent weapon is the name of that medicine I mentioned above.

The country went from quiet confidence to full on delirium. I fell into this too. Maybe I went a bit too far. We were headed to Twickenham. The players where saying the right things. Most of us where not. I like Stuart Lancaster, he is a nice lad and a credit to the English rugby union after a few prats had been in charge.

The first half was not great at all from Ireland but we were only 3 nil down. the king Joe half time talk resulted in an Irish try that was straight off the Leinster training ground. Finished off by a revitalised Rob Kearney (no one can keep up with the Kearnashian). We looked to be on top of the match and England just never looked like scoring. I thought our bench and fitness would help us through. But bar a debuting Jordi Murphy, the bench didn’t step up like they should.

We ended up losing by 3 points. Ireland didn’t play badly at all, England just played better. The aftermath in the media blaming our midfield was amazingly wide of the mark. The English aimed straight at our midfield. They defended with the type of guile, strength and determination that any team would kill to have. They didn’t get much happening in terms of forward momentum, but the team as a whole didn’t get much happening. Anyone saying O’Driscoll is well off the pace might need to get to Specsavers. I know people want to be right, but it will become a self fulfilling prophecy when he retires. O’Driscoll has this season in the tank. Watch what he does against the Italians and the French. Just watch!

So there is a couple of weeks off and then it is straight back to Lansdowne to face the Italians. Let’s be honest. We should win this game. It is all about what will Joe do? Will he stick with the same team or rotate. Zebo has been called in which is a good thing. He has been playing well. Not as well as every single rugby writer would have you believe but he has been playing well. Running in a straight line against a lower tier team for a try is not the spark that we need from him. We need the Zebo of last season to make some magic happen.

Rumours abound of Sexton injuring his thumb which may rule him out. Do we put Jackson in to start or Madigan? For me, much like Zebo, Madigan brings more magic, more movement and more chance of points over a very steady and improving Jackson. The fact that Joe wanted to leave an injured Sexton on the pitch instead of bringing on Jackson leads me to believe that he doesn’t have 100% faith in Paddy. Which might be a bit unfair, but Madigan is the man to start that match. Get the points on the board. Ireland need to build a higher points difference up and this is the game to do it.

Next week it is Keego versus the French. Let’s see if the other bleu have it in them ..

Until then….

Keego (@nkeegan): 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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