Thursday, 21 March 2013

Irish Rugby: Is there anyone left?

With a huge number of injuries sustained to the Irish team, where does that leave the Irish provinces with Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup games to come in the near future.

Munster; likely XV
1. Kilcoyne.
2. Sherry
3. Botha
4. O'Callaghan
5. Ryan
6. Stander
7. O'Donnell
8. O'Mahony
9. Murray
10. Keatley
11. Murphy
12. Downey
13. Lualua
14. Howlett
15. O'Dea

Munster seem to be the least affected by the injuries that Ireland have sustained. In the pack, only Donnacha Ryan has a knock, but he should be back by the time Harlequins host them. I'm assuming Paul O'Connell and Simon Zebo won't be back in time. Keith Earls is the only long term casualty. I'm also assuming that Felix Jones is injured, or if he's not, he will be.

Ulster's remaining XV
1. Court
2. Best
3. Afoa
4. Muller
5. Tuohy
6. Henderson
7. Diack
8. Williams
9. Pienaar
10. Jackson
11. Trimble
12. Olding
13. Cave
14. Gilroy
15. Payne

Ulster have had a lot of injuries, and that was before the Irish casualties. Muller, Williams and Payne are back soon, but Henderson, Marshall, Bowe and Ferris are all out. They will take it easy with Marshall, and he'll probably be injured again by the time they travel to Saracens.

Leinster's remaining XV
1. Healy
2. Cronin
3. Ross
4. Cullen
5. Roux
6. McLaughlin
7. O'Brien.
8. Heaslip
9. Boss
10. Madigan
11. Nacewa
12. D'Arcy
13. O'Malley
14. Kearney
15. Kearney

Leinster are by far the hardest hit by the Irish injuries. Strauss was already injured beforehand, and he will not be back in time. Quinn Roux has started his recovery, and he is one player I am very excited to see. The back row haven't been affected and seem extremely strong with strong back up.

It's the backline where Leinster are decimated, with Reddan, Sexton, D'Arcy, O'Driscoll and Fitzgerald all either ruled out or in D'Arcy's case, in doubt.

Can the provinces still get results? With 3 away games against strong London opposition, all wouldn't have been guaranteed to win at full strength. I still think Ulster and Leinster should have enough about them to get the job done.

On to Dublin.