Sunday, November 25, 2018


After a trial run for Southern Kings v Leinster, we're having a second go at what we call a "real time writeup".


Pre-match thoughts

Win by at least 30, win 100% of set pieces.  They're the basic targets for me going into this last November internationals of 2018.

In my preview I pointed to John Cooney and Tadhg Beirne as players I'd be interested most in seeing tonight as both are capable of pushing their way up the pecking order despite the talent above them.

Hopefully the USA put up a good show, I don't know much about them apart from skipper Blaine Scully but they are on a good winning run themselves.

0-10 minutes

TRY IRELAND Standard Irish exit after receiving kickoff, a couple of box kicks come back to us before Andrew Conway jinks his way through some space before combining brilliantly with Rhys Ruddock and getting it back to run in our first try on just 3m. Carbery converts, 7-0.

Exit doesn't work off next restart and we get into choke tackle at 22. USA attack off the scrum but a nice rip from Henderson wins it back and we clear.

USA attack some more from the lineout before winning a penalty at the 22, kickable in front.

Shocking kick from Magie goes wide.


More USA pressure in the 22 but Jordi snaffles it from an unprotected breakdown and we clear again.

TRY USA - USA hooker goes over for a try off a short lineout. Well worked move Bealham one of those who missed tackles. Conversion good 7-7

Restart almost won back but foot in touch lineout to USA.

TRY IRELAND - Finally we have some rugby in the USA half as Henderson pounces on a loose ball. Phases on the try line with penalty advantage... A nice offload from Addison gets Conway over in the corner for his second.  Lovely conversion from Carbery 14-7

Off the restart we run into another choke tackle near halfway.


USA press off the scrum but it's well tidied at the back by Addison.

Ireland pinged at the lineout Beirne interfering with the catcher, USA kick for the corner.

Lineout maul has a great shove and referee awards a penalty try 14-14, Henderson gets yellow for pulling down the maul.

After a nice catch down low by Will Addison, we get some more rare phases in the USA half and win a penalty, kickable in front, Carbery going for the posts.  The kick is good 17-14

Sweetnam off, Ross Byrne on to out half, Carbery to 15, Addison to the wing.

USA knock on off a lineout at midfield, another chance for Ireland to kill the sinbinning some more.


Ireland look good when we play rugby in their half, we advance the ball deep into the USA 22 but a ball goes loose and they retrieve.  From the exit though we come back again and Conway makes a break and unselfishly spurns a hat-trick to put Jack Conan over.  Carbery conversion good 24-14

Henderson back on

Another restart goes wrong, Beirne mistimes his jump and USA recover but Henderson forces another turnover, scrum to Ireland 5m out

Ireland win a penalty at the scrum.  Massive maul deep into USA half, win a penalty, Ross Byrne kicks for touch in 22.

Lineout overthrown and knocked on.  Ieland get one last chance for phases and keep the half alive before winning a penalty at midfield which gets kicked for touch at 22.

Lineout lost again, USA close out half.

Halftime thoughts

Experience of games like these has told me that we might be nervous coming up to half time that enough breakthroughs haven't been made, but even if so we should be able to pull away in the second half.
Pretty much as I expected in my preview so far...we have to remember these second string teams include a lot of untried combinations.  Have to put faith in Joe's ability to work his halftime magic and hopefully we can start pulling away soon.


USA knockon the kickoff, attacking scrum to Ireland at the 22

Ringrose crash ball into 22 but Conway knocks on following up.

USA scrum sloppy under pressure but they still manage to clear

Forward pass by Cooney off the lineout, as Sam Arnold comes on for xxx

USA hooker unconscious on the pitch after a collision with Henderson at halfway...after a delay he's taken off on a stretcher and match resumes with a scrum to Ireland - we win a penalty, attacking lineout to come

Phases in 22, high tackle earns Ireland a penalty, opt for scrum as John Ryan replaces Bealham..  We win another penalty at the scrum, so we'll have another one.  And another


As the scrums reset, the crowd does a Mexican wave.

Finally we get the ball to the line...Cooney to Beirne, did he get it down?  TMO check, answer is yes.  Carbery conversion is good, 31-7

Ireland win another penalty scrum, still no yellow?  From lineout, exchange from Byrne to McClockey goes wrong.

USA scrum half kick blocked by Conan, Kilcoyne charges into 22, phases with pen advantage, Ross Byrne kick pass to McCloskey, try.  Carbery pulls conversion wide, 36-14


Carbery tries a chip, it nearly bounces for him but it finds touch.

Box kick tennis at midfield before Ireland win a penalty to earn an attacking lineout

TRY IRELAND - 8 phases off the lineout, all well worked, Quinn Roux try under the posts. Carbery kicks conversion, 43-14

Beirne pass to Carbery is dropped as Ireland exit, scrum to USA

Forward pass by USA off scrum, forced by Ringrose tackle


Nice interplay among Irish stopped by a knockon though ref missed a deliberate USA knockon

USA move breaks down, Ringrose recovers his own chip, great move sees Conway recover another chip and offload to McG te but a Cian Healy pass along the way was judged forward

USA attack in Irish half and Arnold concedes cheap penalty. They kick for touch in 22

Lineout won but defence holds and USA bundled into touch

Ireland win penalty at lineout and can clear

TRY IRELAND Ringrose dummies and finds a gap down the middle, jinks his way into 22 and offloads to Conway for his hat trick score.  Carbery kicks conversion 50-14

Ringrose drops one as Ireland exit, scrum to USA as Conway named MotM

USA phases, penalty to Ireland for sealing off

Ross Byrne kicks for touch and one more Ireland attack at halfway

TRY IRELAND - Superb team try to end the match.  John Ryan finished it off but all 15 players seemed to get a touch along the way.  Carbery kicks the conversion, game over.  57-14

Fulltime thoughts

Obviously getting a hat-trick is a good way to earn a man of the match award but while Conway had a good outing I actually thought Gary Ringrose deserved it more.  He just found ways to show his class was apart from those around him, but I wouldn't dispute the decision too much.

John Cooney played well within the system but I wonder if that took from his game.  He looked as though he was making a conscious effort not to make his sniping runs so if he's not allowed to bring that to the team then I wonder if he will be able to move up the pecking order.

Tadhg Beirne was a bit below par I thought, not that he wasn't effective at times but he was outplayed by Henderson IMO and was trying too hard to steal lineouts, getting pinged in the process.  

All in all a satisfactory result for Ireland...for now the lighthearted debate left to settle is over whether or not we like the jersey they had on while the serious one is about whether or not Joe will stay!  Hopefully the latter decision will be the one all of Irish rugby wants, though the body language isn't looking too good.

Thoughts from elsewhere in the ruggersphere

Mick Keogh To be fair to the Eagles, they managed 2 more tries than the All Blacks did against us.

Paul Smith Work ons but in the end job done professionally enough. Fair play to Conway who deserved his hat trick and was pretty unselfish all round. Ringrose and Ruddock were excellent too. Have to say Henderson is playing himself out of the squad and I think Roux is ahead of him now. Also thought Cooney was poor, awful kicking and very slow at the breakdown. McGrath looked head and shoulders above him when he came on.

Martin Loughrey Job done. We put out the almost B team against a tier 2 team, but one that's on a roll. The Eagles are in their highest ranking ever and have made a habit of winning this season. All told a good result and a good night out for a number of fringe players looking to break through.

Michelle Tobin Agree Henderson is playing (or fouling) himself out of the squad.

Not an ideal first half but we found our groove well. At least a handful of players put their hand up for selection and Joe's biggest selection nightmare will definitely be the back row.

We took our tries well, great to see so many team tries and unselfishness. Ringrose had a stormer and he and Beirne could just as easily have been motm as the flying Andrew Conway

Alan Whelan Thought Ross Byrne was brilliant

Anton Phelan Ringrose MOTM


Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019