Ireland: In BO'D We Trust
All Blacks

Ireland: In BO’D We Trust

Ireland: In BO’D We Trust

If anyone can?

James Joyce once said that a man’s errors are his portals of discovery. That’s what the Wallabies are finding lately as they attempt to overcome a lack of depth and experience in their test squad.

They’re not alone on this journey as their Irish opponents this weekend are in a similar situation and equally adept at stumbling: to date – played three, lost three.

This is probably no surprise given that they’re without experienced internationals Fitzgerald, Flannery, O’Connell, Ferris, Heaslip, Leamy, Rory Best, Cullen, Earls and Gordon Darcy and David Wallace recently out due to injury and unavailability.

Some would say that against a Green and Gold team shy eight of their top players it might just be even-stevens?

The similarity in depth, or should I say a lack of depth, between the Irish and the Wallabies is striking.

They also have only four professional clubs to pick players from, although there is an Irish diaspora scattered throughout the Six Nations domestic competitions.

This lack of backup in certain positions is becoming critical in Irish rugby. For instance, there is a shortage of quality props (oh, welcome to the club) as all four provinces have imported front rowers on their books, mainly South African.

The last time the Irish played the Wallabies (on the Spring Tour) it was the the ‘hand of BO’D’ that dealt a heavy blow in the final minute of the match. This allowed Ireland to draw 20 all.

They’ll again be looking to Brian O’Driscoll as their trump card to cause havoc against a relative cleanskin opposing him. This is the area where the Irish are at their most experienced – Kearney, Bowe, O’Driscoll and Trimble (the best back against the All Blacks).

They have morse-coded their intention to play expansively by dropping RO’G for Jonathan Sexton, an exciting young talent and breath of fresh air.

Where the Wallabies should have a distinct advantage is at loose forward. Number eight Chris Henry has been handed his first cap in the absence of suspended team-mate Jamie Heaslip.

He will form a new look back-row alongside Niall Ronan (2 ‘A’ caps) and Shane Jennings (8 caps), who replaced the injured John Muldoon (broken arm) and David Wallace, who is absent on paternity leave.

Tony Buckley: a whale of a game

This trio will struggle to gain the ascendancy against Elsom, Pocock and Brown in the loose and at the breakdown.

Tighthead prop Tony Buckley, who came into the 22 when John Hayes took ill prior to the All Blacks match, has now been selected ahead of him on his own merit.

Inside centre Paddy Wallace has replaced Gordon D’Arcy. Rhys Ruddock and Damien Varley are in line to make their Test debut’s after being named on the bench.

The Irish are not noted scrummagers like England; however, they did gain some sort of parity against the All Blacks with only seven men, although there were only eight actual clean scrums in the whole match.

The key will be to not go to sleep against these guys – they scored four tries against the ABs with only 14 players, albeit the game was beyond their reach at that stage.

Ireland haven’t won in Australia since Fergus Slattery’s side in 1979 and it’s hard to think that they’ll pull it off this time with such a depleted group.

However, anything’s possible against an inconsistent Wallaby team who have plenty of issues of their own to work out.

Ireland: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O’Driscoll (c), 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Tomas O’Leary, 8 Chris Henry, 7 Shane Jennings, 6 Niall Ronan, 5 Mick O’Driscoll, 4 Donncha O’Callaghan, 3 Tony Buckley, 2 Sean Cronin, 1 Cian Healy.

Replacements: 16 Damien Varley, 17 Tom Court, 18 Dan Tuohy, 19 Rhys Ruddock, 20 Eoin Reddan, 21 Ronan O’Gara, 22 Geordan Murphy.

Kick-off: 20.05 AEST Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand) Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Chris Pollock (New Zealand)

  • Brumby Jack

    I was chatting to Laurie Fisher, the Munster forwards coach, about the make up of the team and to get an idea of how some of the players operate.

    The back line is probably at it’s best, with B O’Driscoll leading the way amongst some exciting potential, especially the back 3. The selection of Sexton is an eye for the future and is a player on the rise. Tomas O’Leary is probably in the Burgess mould who will take on the line around the rucks.

    The loose forwards, as Lance points out, are where Australia could be at an advantage with the usual campaigners missing and the players Ireland have selected in those positions are not in their usual place. They all know the problems the Rock can pose, so it should be a chance for other players to step up.

    The front row will be an interesting match up with both teams having a fairly inexperienced front row so hopefully referee Lawrence shows some sympathy and we don’t get multiple resets throughout the match.

    Australia shouldn’t underestimate this Irish team or we could see a repeat of last week.

  • Joe Blow

    The Wallabies problem is not underestimating the opposition, its overestimating themselves.
    That England side was not all that flash and neither are we at the moment.

    • Batmann

      Good to see Mumm publicly state they know they have been inconsistent & have not played well.

      Would be nice to see some more of these overpaid nancies own up when they screw up or have a bad game.

      The first step is admitting you have a problem….

      • Patrick

        Now if he can step up to stepping down from the team…hopefully he proves me wrong Saturday!

  • Garry

    Watching the AB v Ireland game last week, I was amazed at the heart that the men in green showed to put on 3 (or was it 4) tries after the game was well and truly gone. These boys have heart. They are a little like the WB, in that you get their best when all seems lost. They were not dazzling last week, but they were solid. And unlike the WB, when they got close to the tryline, they were patient (even to the point of grinding), and they finished off with points. Similarly to the last try that BOD scored to finish the draw in our last v Irish game.

    If a bunch of toilers like the Poms can dictate terms to us, then we need to be wary of the men in green.

  • Lance Free

    Sharpie is out of Saturday’s game with a back spasm. He’s been replaced by Chizz. Mitch Chapman comes onto the bench. In my view, this considerably weakens the Wallaby side.

    • Patrick

      Considerably as in: ‘In my view, being forced to put his leadership to a vote has considerably weakened KRudd’s prime ministership’?

      • Jnor

        hope we’ve all got boots on around here. any more injuries and theyll be calling us up…

      • Lance Free

        You mean former Prime Minister?

  • Alan

    Sharpe is a big loss… but im still confident the Wallabies will beat Ireland.
    Im not reading too much into the spirited display the boys in green put on in the 2nd half against the all blacks, the match was over, ireland were desperate to make the scoreline half respectable and more importantly the kiwi’s went to sleep.

    BOD will – as usual, be the man to stop. contain him and D’ary {like the frogs did earlier this year} and your half way to victory. While sexton is a better defender then O’gara, he hasnt come close to replicating some of the great form he has produced for his provincial side. I do question his bottle in the big games {must be taking advice from Gits}

    Buckley had his best ever game for Eire last week, so he along with the brilliant Tommy Bowe will be dangerous. However with O’Connell and Ireland’s future captain Heaslip missing… if australia are on song and cut down the handling errors, they could run riot

    • Robson

      Sexton has got class and you don’t want to give him kicking practice at the sticks because he nails them every time.

  • realist

    The Wallabies will need to be committed in defence and be prepared to cover defend and do other work off the ball if they are to win. This group has plenty of attacking flair but not much else. Ireland to win.

  • Homer J

    How come every 20 year old on the books can get a run but when Sharpey goes down they pick two ageing journeymen to fill in.

    Douglas, Simmons? Both significantly larger and with tonnes more potential than Chapman.

    Would prefer Van Humphries to Chapman as we don’t need more forward speed, we need mongrel.

    • Andrew

      Agreed, why Simmons wasn’t given a crack is beyond me. If they’re honestly concerned about blooding the young guns then why oh fuckin why revert to Chapman. Slipper has shown some promise why not throw a couple more bolters in and see what they’ve got?

  • ScrumJunkie

    I cannot believe Mitch Chapman will be a wallaby before the weekends over. What a disgrace. They hand that jumper out to anyone these days… I may get into training, with our front row problems I may be a chance.

    • Robson

      What’s the upper age limit these days? Oh I forgot it’s a lower age limit now isn’t it. My ten year old grandson may just qualify, but probably not on residential grounds.

  • Skip

    Just trolled through the comments and there are some interesting ones but not one congratulating the use of a James Joyce quote. The renaissance sports journalist, so to speak :-).

  • Robson

    I don’t care now who plays against the Irish on Saturday. All I want them to do is play with the impassioned ferocity, expressive pride and direct running that I saw last night from the NZ Maori side when they took England out 35 – 28.

    A “supposedly” second string Brit side? Yeah I guess, but the Maori are hardly rated as a National No. 1 side either; with several of their best backs on AB duty.

  • Logo

    On top of Wallace, Heaslip, Ferris and Leamy, we’ve also lost the likes of McLaughlin, O’Brien and Muldoon (our second choice back row) so I’d fully expect Pocock, Rocky and Brown to dominate at the breakdown. This is a third/fourth choice backrow that is still trying to adapt to the new laws. If you dont dominate the breakdown on Saturday your guys really need to take a look at themselves.

    Bryce Lawrence will probably be a factor (he always is in NH vs SH games) so he should have no problem pinging us off the park for the stupid infringements we have been making all summer.

    Our backline is playing okay but they are nowhere near what you guys are producing at will. O’Leary takes too much off the ball to really get them going but Sexton will challenge your defensive line.

    We’ll take a good bit from the tour and the experience will do some of the lads good but I cant see anything but a pretty convincing 12-18 point win for the Aussies.

    Could be a good game all the same.

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Roscoe Tims (aka @LanceFree): A nasty, opinionated little man whose views are indeed narrow with a capital 'N'. Favourite Sport: mungo bashing. Does he ever have anything positive to say?

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