Wednesday 12 June 2013

JWC: Ireland vs New Zealand Preview: Ireland to rue loss of goalkicker

Mike Ruddock has shuffled his team again for the final Pool game against the Baby BNZs. 

Daragh Leader's assurance from fullback coupled with the loss of Tom Daly means that Leader retains the fullback jersey, and Scannell moves to his more comforable position of inside centre. Scannell has played outhalf aswell, is a big strong player both in defense and attack, with a lovely pass off both hands. He is likely to be the goalkicker in Daly's absence too.

Rory Scholes and Steve Crosbie start their third game in 9 days, both are key men in Ruddock's side, and Scholes in particular has had a great tournament, working hard off his wing, making some important defensive interventions.

Adam Byrne's physicality is required over Sweetnam's try-scoring magic, with Sweetnam offering a plan B off the bench.

George McGuigan who was outstanding against Australia, beats off the impressive performance from Brian Byrne, while Peter Dooley beats the other Byrne twin, Ed, to the starting position. Adam Boland, who was man of the match against Australia, outstanding in the scrum and in the loose, has to settle for the bench to make way for Chris Taylor on his recovery from an injury.

Gavin Thornbury's lineout expertise is retained from Fiji, while John Donnan is recalled to the starting XV. Peadar Timmins covers blindside and second row.

Dan Leavy's impressive performances so far earns him a start at the expense of the strong Ryan Murphy of Munster. Joyce moves to 8, and van der Flier to 6 to accomodate Leavy, who is the closest thing to a classic openside to come through the Irish ranks in recent years. A strong ball carrier and huge tackler, Leavy is fantastic at the breakdown, as seen against Fiji. Still eligible for JWC next year too, and he will probably captain the team and star in the tournament.

New Zealand make 6 changes from the side that struggled to overcome Australia, with the likes of Michael Collins, who shone in the first game against Fiji returning.

Ardie Savea is their captain, who has some Super Rugby experience, earning man of the match on his Hurricanes debut against the Waratahs, and getting the upper hand against Michael Hooper, who will probably be tormenting the Lions in a few weeks. Savea is quick and strong like his older brother, and a master at the breakdown. Dan Leavy will have his hands full.

Simon Hickey was impressive against Fiji, a solid operator from outhalf, he manages the game well, and punishes any indiscipline with near-flawless goalkicking.

The Baby BNZ's centre partnership is Michael Collins, who is a big dangerman for the Irish, and Jason Emery, who is the most experienced player in the competition with 10 caps for the Highlanders.

But New Zealand's back three is where Ireland will have to be most wary of. Any loose kicks and Joe Webber, a 7s specialist who Sir Gordon Tietjens rates extremely highly and Fa'asiu Fuatai, who is very quick, will punish Ireland.

I've no doubt that Mike Ruddock will set the team up with the smartest gameplan to give Ireland the best chance of winning, but I feel that the loss of Tom Daly as a goalkicker will be huge. For Ireland to win, I think that they need to put points on the board at every opportunity, and I think that Rory Scanell isn't as good as Tom Daly to do that.

Ireland to lose, by less than the amount of missed kicks.

Ireland team to play New Zealand:

15 - Darragh Leader (Galwegians/Connacht)
14 - Adam Byrne (UCD/Leinster)
13 - Thomas Farrell (Lansdowne/Leinster)
12 - Rory Scannell (Dolphin/Munster)
11 - Rory Scholes (Belfast Harlequins/Ulster)
10 - Steve Crosbie (Old Belvedere/Leinster)
9 - Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) (capt)
1 - Peter Dooley (Lansdowne/Leinster)
2 - George McGuigan (Newcastle Falcons/Exile)
3 - Christopher Taylor (Malone/Ulster)
4 - Gavin Thornbury (UCD/Leinster)
5 - John Donnan (Ballynahinch/Ulster)
6 - Daniel Leavy (UCD/Leinster)
7 - Josh van der Flier (UCD/Leinster)
8 - Conor Joyce (Malone/Ulster)


16 - Edward Byrne (UCD/Leinster)
17 - Bryan Byrne (UCD/Leinster)
18 - Adam Boland (Lansdowne/Connacht)
19 - Peadar Timmins (UCD/Leinster)
20 - Ryan Murphy (Dolphin/Munster)
21 - David Shanahan (Clontarf/Leinster)
22 - Mark Roche (Lansdowne/Connacht)
23 - Darren Sweetnam (UCC/Munster)

New Zealand Team to play Ireland

1 Donald Brighouse
2 Epalahame Faiva
3 Boyd Wiggins
4 Patrick Tuipulotu
5 Christopher Vui
6 Jordan Manihera
7 Ardie Savea (C)
8 Joseph Edwards
9 Tayler Adams
10 Simon Hickey
11 Fa'asiu Fuatai
12 Michael Collins
13 Jason Emery
14 Lolagi Visinia
15 Joseph Webber


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