Monday, 28 January 2013

Irish Squad

I didn't think I'd make a post about this, but a lot of people have been getting worked up about it so I thought I might as well.

First off - Deccie has avoided making two decisions in selecting 6 props, so controversy must rain supreme when he finally makes the call tomorrow. Sidenote: What is the wisdom in naming a 33 man squad only to cut it two days later?

The Second row resources are slim anyway, so it's no surprise that Toner is in there as a 4th choice. Odds are he'll be cut anyway so chill out. Henderson and McLaughlin are there covering.

Which is probably the only reason why McLaughlin can be included after not being in the original 39 man squad. How he's ahead of Tommy O'Donnell on merit is beyond me.

Trimble is a harsh call, especially as his physicality might be needed against the Welsh, but I thought he was poor on Friday, and would have been caught out of line if the Saxons could have made the most of it.

It seems illogical to have only 2 scrum halves, but I think that more points to the fact that in Kidney's head there are the top two and then a gap.

Beyond that, It's great to see Dave McSharry involved in a 33 man squad, while it's unlikely he will be in tomorrow's announcement, hopefully he'll get some gametime against Italy or Scotland.

In terms of the 23 man squad, there are 5 main points of interest;

1. Picking the back row; Heaslip and O'Brien are certainties. Deccie isn't a "horses for courses" type selection maker, but I would have Henry in there as Wales are likely to pick Warburton and Tipuric and all skills will be needed on the deck. That said, O'Mahony isn't too shabby on the deck, and the loser will definitely see some game time. With O'Mahony more likely to make an impact off the bench.

2. Picking the back three; Kearney is guaranteed, although his form isn't as good as he can be. 2 from Zebo, Gilroy, Fitzgerald, Earls and McFadden will start as wingers with one on the bench. I wouldn't have Earls anywhere near it, and for positional cover himself or Luke should be involved. Zebo is just off a hat trick, and Gilroy shone in the last Irish game. I get the feeling the McFadden isnt well liked by Kidney anyway. I'd have Zebo and Fitzgerald with Gilroy on the bench, but I think Earls will be involved because not many have realised how bad he is yet.

3. Props; By selecting Kilcoyne and Court and Bent and Fitzpatrick, Kidney has delayed making a decision on the back up props. Tighthead has to be Fitzpatrick based on Bent's awfulness. He hasn't had a lot of game time, but it can only be him. Please. I'm fearful it won't. Otherwise Kilcoyne or Court? I really don't mind, I like Kilcoyne a lot, and have been impressed with Court. I hope both get some time over the competition, but thats a fools wish.

4. Outhalf
Back up to Sexton is an important call. I'm including this because I know there are calls for Jackson to be there instead of Sexton, but to be honest, while I think it shouldn't be O'Gara, I feel it shouldn't be Jackson more. Especially for Wales. I wouldn't feel comfortable with Jackson coming on with a tight game, especially with no Ruan Pienaar to guide him from nine.