Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Let The Schmidt Hit The Fan - Rd 10 (CON)

Since the start of the season four bloggers, one representing each province, have taken turns selecting their ideal Irish matchday 23 for a test match to take place the following weekend (so current injury status must be taken into account).

This week it’s the turn of Connachtman to look ahead for the Six Nations champions, while comparing his current choices to the ones he made back at the start of the season.

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

LTSHTF avatar

Seeing as how this is my last round of selection it seems a fine time to expose the fickle nature of online punditry and expose me for the charlatan that I am by doing a quick compare and contrast post with my original selection, all those many months ago. Here goes, let the slagging commence!

Loosehead Prop

Original Selection: Cian Healy

Current Selection: Cian Healy, aka DJ CHURCH

What I got right: Ok so at the start of the season I took the really bold option of picking Healy to start and the only thing that has really changed is that now I'm backing him as a chooser of choons too. Sorted.

So wrong: On the bench I selected Dave Kilcoyne, who had a difficult second season, and failed to foretell the emergence of Jack McGrath as a serious contender on the international stage. Callum Black has been good too...

Hooker

Original Selection: Rory Best

Current Selection: Rory Best

What I got right: There were a few doubts concerning his form coming into this season and he proved once again that he has the nerve to operate manfully on the biggest stage. Got through some amount of work in the six nations!

What I got wrong: Poor Mike Sherry has been injured all season but may have missed out to an in form Sean Cronin in any case. Also, didn't consider Rob Herring as a viable candidate.

Tighthead Prop

Original: Mike Ross

Current: Mike Ross

What I got right: OK so the front row wasn't a hard call but I have consistently stuck by this guy from the start and I think he had his best ever season! Last year he looked flogged and this year he was getting around and tackling like a world class player.

What I got so very, very wrong: Jamie Hagan. Give me a break! It didn't seem like there was a single truly viable option at the start of the season, and now we have Marty Moore pushing hard. Unfortunately Declan Fitzpatrick looks like he could have a serious injury, but fair play to Rodney 'Dave' Ah You for having a great season out west and getting to train with the big boys in January!

Second Row

Original: Donnacha Ryan & Paul O'Connell

Current: Devin Toner & Paul O'Connell

What I got right: Paul O'Connell. Obvz.

What I got wrong: Devin Toner? I thought he'd give it a go but I don't think anyone predicted just how good a season he would have! Credit to Dan Tuohy too for a good showing. Obviously Ryan was unlucky with injury, but Mike McCarthy didn't really show up this year.

Back Row

Original: Peter O'Mahony, Sean O'Brien & Jamie Heaslip

Current: Sean O'Brien, Chris Henry & Jamie Heaslip

Right: Pretty much got this one bang on actually! It must be noted that O'Mahony is left out of the current one because he's injured and that my first post mentioned all four of these players as my back row options for the season. I even mentioned that I thought Henderson would see some game time at 6.

Passing mention was given to Tommy O'Donnell and Jordi Murphy too.

Wrong: Enough gloating, could not have predicted just how well O'Mahony would get on this season!

Scrum Half

Original: Conor Murray

Current: Conor Murray

Right: Wasn't a hard one to call really, and I'd still stick with Reddan on the bench because he's playing great rugby. I suggested Marmion would push one of Reddan or Boss out of the top three based on age profile and I'm sticking with that call as Boss hasn't had the greatest season.

Also, thinking that Paul Marshall could miss his chance to make a mark, he probably has.

Wrong: Thinking Cathal Sheridan would displace Duncan Williams at Munster. It turns out Duncan Williams can really play and I would like to retract everything bad I ever said about the guy. There, I said it, I feel better...

Out Half

Original: Jonny Sexton

Current: Jonny Sexton

Right: Yes

Wrong: Ian Madigan did not kick on as expected and claim the reserve spot. As far as I'm concerned, Paddy Jackson is firmly in place as the number two, even if Madigan is more versatile off the bench.

Centre

Original: Stuart Olding & Brian O'Driscoll

Current: Gordon D'Arcy & Brian O'Driscoll

Right: BOD

Wrong: I was so terribly wrong about Darce being past it! I should have known, he's been proving people wrong for so many years now. As far as Olding goes, he was my wildcard selection thrown in for interests sake and I like to think he would have been in contention if it weren't for a season-ending injury.

Back Three

Original: Simon Zebo, Craig Gilroy & Rob Kearney

Current: Dave Kearney, Andrew Trimble & Rob Kearney

Right: Rob Kearney. Although, I did say I thought he was in only on reputation and that his form wasn't really up to scratch, but he's had a great season.

Also, I said that McFadden would make the bench a lot because of his work ethic and that Henshaw would get a look-in somewhere.

Wrong: Pretty much everything else! I originally went for the glamour pairing on the wings and I didn't even give a mention to the two solid lads who were outstanding in the Six Nations! I don't think anyone could have predicted just how well Trimble would perform, or that he would keep a fit Tommy Bowe out of the team. Magical selection calls really, and ones that really do prove you have to be inside a training camp to really see who merits selection.

And on that rather sombre note I will sign off, here's to a Grand Slam in a World Cup Year and all our dreams for 2015 coming true!

Original Selection

1: Cian Healy

2: Rory Best

3: Mike Ross

4: Donnacha Ryan

5: Paul O’Connell

6: Peter O’Mahony

7: Sean O’Brien

8: Jamie Heaslip

9: Conor Murray

10: Jonny Sexton

11: Simon Zebo

12: Stuart Olding

13: Brian O’Driscoll

14: Craig Gilroy

15: Rob Kearney

Replacements:

16: Mike Sherry

17: Dave Kilcoyne

18: Jamie Hagan

19: Ian Henderson

20: Chris Henry

21: Eoin Reddan

22: Ian Madigan

23: Fergus McFadden

Connachtman [@connachtman87] - sometime blogger, long time reader, avid supporter of Connacht rugby against all odds and in any weather.


Many thanks to Connachtman for his contributions throughout the season…next week on Let The Schmidt Hit The Fan we hear from our Leinster blogger Iain O’Connor.

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