Six Nations 2011 – weekend 4….

OK, it’s the big one and we have home advantage.
Ireland, Just, Maybe.from the Irish Times.
Gwyn thinks we’ll do it.From the Western Mail.
Hooky pretty damn cool…from the BBC.
At least Gatland isn’t making mischief – Nullify the ball carriers.
Oh, and btw Bangladesh have beaten England. Laughed Out Loud!
Update from the The Independent:

Barry John could spot a gap the size of a mouse hole. So when he was sitting outside the Old Arcade pub in Cardiff’s city centre, he could hardly miss the figure of Mark Ring, one of the maverick successors to John churned out by the famed Welsh fly-half factory.
“Hey Ringo!” the King called out to the Clown Prince. “Guess what happened to me once? I dropped a f*****g ball in training!”

, , ,

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Ireland have now played their excuses card 3 times, if we can produce a good performance and a good win we can fairly call oursevles a good team – and it is something similar for Wales.

    …but I’m afraid it looks a bit like two follicly challenged men fighting over a comb – with both teams having already lost their scalps on their homes patches in the games against France (Ireland)and England(Wales).

  • Good morning folks. It is snowing and the Spring has dived under the covers. Lets hope the Ireland -Wales match warms us up.

    Italy – v – France

    The French team is not well managed. This is borne out by the sheer number of unforced selection changes made to their team over the last year. Had they planned differently, I think they would now be on course for another grand slam and the second favourite side going into the World cup.

    Still, Italy will not be an obstacle to a French victory, even in Rome. However, you never know which French side will turn up. It could be a narrow win or an absolute thumping. I am going for somewhere in between.

    France to win by 10 + points

    Wales – v – Ireland

    Wales and Ireland have three things in common this season. They have had wins against Italy and Scotland away and they have lost a match at home.

    Ireland’s current high penalty count in this year’s six nations cost them the match against France and potentially the championship. Is this just carelessness?

    Keith Wood, commenting on the BBC after the Scotland match observed that Ireland did not give away a penalty when they were ahead with 10 minutes to go. “Discipline” might be a slightly misleading word when it comes to describing the problem. Getting the balance right between avoiding penalties and maintaining an effective defence can be down to a matter technical adjustment. As flanker David Wallace recently observed:

    “Two wins out of three, looking at results, you’d say it’s good, but it would be remiss if we weren’t looking at the actual games. There was a lot to take from those three games and improve on ourselves.

    “So being more accurate, more efficient, more aggressive and better body height going into the breakdown situations, getting on the man quicker, will hopefully cut out a lot of the penalties.

    “The more 50-50 ones, if you’re more efficient there you won’t actually give away the penalty there because no one goes off their feet and that’s probably one area we’ll be focusing on.”

    Putting right the defects which cause the high penalty counts is easier said than done. It is a problem which dogged England for much longer than one season. There is no certainty that the Irish will crack the problem in time for this match.

    Wales’s win against Scotland was the first after 8 successive defeats but that it was on a day when the latter played their worst match for over a year. Wales went on to beat Italy in Rome. After going into half time with a 10 point lead, they should have won that match comfortably yet failed to put Italy away and allowed them back into the match. If four of Italy’s missed kicks had been accurate, Wales would have lost.

    There is a question mark over the emotional state of the Welsh camp and its negative impact on their performances on the field. After two victories over the two poorest teams in the competition, the Welsh players seem overly pleased instead of merely being satisfied with the result and self-critical over areas of their performance. They find it hard to cope with pressure from the media. Earlier in the week, Warren Gatland agreed to announce his team 48 hours early because on previous occasions the information was leaked from the Welsh camp to the press before the team was officially announced.

    Welsh optimism went through the roof in the last few days following the announcement that Jonathan Davies returns to the side to resume his position in the centre enabling James Hook to move back to fly half. Certainly, the entire Welsh back division looks much more dangerous when Hook plays at No. 10. The Welsh are also encouraged by their greater beefiness in midfield. The Davies/Roberts pairing hold a combined weight/height advantage of 4st and 8 inches over D’Arcy/O’Driscoll. It has been suggested that Gordon D’Arcy’s mis-tackle on Rougerie, which led to France’s try in the match against Ireland was, in part, due to the smaller size and build of the Irish centre. Still, size is not everything and BOD is still the greatest.

    On the face of it, this fixture would seem to be finely balanced and in predicting the result, I am reduced to my gut feeling. Ireland still has the better team on paper. I expect both teams to play better than in their previous match but I think that superior Irish nous and better temperament under extreme pressure will just about see them through.

    Ireland to win by 3 + points

    England – v- Scotland

    I first heard the phrase “Fortress Twickenham” used in a TV interview by a Scot in the early 1990s. I believe it was Ian McGeechan (can’t be certain) who said it.

    For Scotland, the reputation of Twickenham as a fortress against their rugby team has been enduring. Scotland has only won at Twickenham four times in 100 years of test matches against England. The last time was in 1983.

    A few years after that interview, Twickenham became a “fortress” for all rugby playing nations. For one glorious period for England from 2000 until March 2004 (when they finally lost to Ireland), England won 22 consecutive matches at Twickenham. That remains a world record for a rugby nation playing on one of its home grounds.

    One year after that unbeaten run ended, Andy Robinson, England’s head coach at the time, called upon England to “rebuild Fortress Twickenham.” How ironic it is then that as Scotland’s head coach, he is now on the outside of “the Fortress” attempting to break it down.

    Craig Chalmers (1990s Scottish International) recently stated that that England could lose the game and that long-standing record because of over-confidence. With respect to Chalmers, Martin Johnson is too professional to allow that to happen.

    Scotland has a decent set of forwards. In the match against Ireland, they gave a good account of themselves for most of the game. Unfortunately for them, they lack penetration in their back line. In particularly, they lack a pair of half backs who can boss the game.

    Robinson has made 4 replacements. Two of these seem to have been influenced by mistakes which cost have influenced two of these changes. Ireland’s first try scored after both Scottish centres went for Rory Best allowing him to give Heaslip an open path. Ireland’s second try, scored by scrum half Reddan, exposed poor positioning around the scrum by his counterpart, Mike Blair. Nick de Luka (centre) and Blair have paid the price for those mistakes. Robinson has made four replacements to the side that played against Ireland – Nos. 6, 9, 13 and 14 and one additional positional change (Brown) who moves from 6 to 8.

    Contrast England. Only one change is made to their starting line up. Alex Corbisiero gets another full cap in place of Andrew Sheridan, who has been ruled out of the rest of the championship following a back injury.

    This season, England has made by far the highest number of clean breaks of any 6N side. I would be surprised if England did not score some of their tries on Sunday through clean breaks.

    Whichever way you look at it, England holds most, if not all, the aces. It would be an epic achievement if Scotland overturned the “fortress” record on this occasion. I just don’t see that happening. More likely, England will beat Scotland by a sizeable margin.

    England to win by 15 + points

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Now I’ve had my wee-fry I’m getting bullish agian.

    Wales have probably the youngest and although improving, the weakest pack in the tournament – the Irish penalty count will probably improve dramatically more because of forward domination rather than improved discipline.

    Ireand by 10. Off to visit Mr Paddy Power now.

  • Dewi

    Updated – very funny. Unlike Sammy I think this Welsh pack is starting to take a good shape. Wales 46 Ireland 3 (a lucky drop goal..)

  • I’ve just looked at the bookmaker’s odds following Sammy’s comment.

    Paddy Power make Ireland marginal favourites but Sky Bet make Wales marginal favourites. At least I cant be accused of backing the “universal” favourite.

  • Mark

    Seymour mentions Fortresses and Ireland will be playing at their Millennium Stadium Fortress this afternoon when they take on Wales .

    Could be a close match , could be a thriller , could be a cricket score but one thing is for sure , Ireland to win as usual in Cardiff .

  • Mark McGregor

    Italy taking down France was a bit special. Doubt the Ireland match will have the same drama.

    L’Italia s’è desta

  • Mick Fealty

    Feck. Great conversion by Hook, but Kaplan should have gone to video. Ireland throwing this game away!

  • Mick Fealty

    It’s almost too much to watch. Feels like an Irish team from ten years ago. They might pull something out, but you don’t quite believe they believe they can.

  • Mick Fealty

    Another unforced error when the opportunity was sitting right in front of them.

  • Mark

    apart from today……………………..Well done Wales

  • Brilliant for International rugby to see Italy win.

    Ireland lost to an illegal try. Wrong ball used for lineout. It is unfortunate Wales did not win by more than 7 points. That decision allowed Wales to close out the game. Travesty of justice.

    It has been a very strange 6 nations. Only 3 matches have resulted in wins of more than 10 points and as a result of today’s two results, England could lose both of their next two games and still win the 6N title.

  • Dewi

    easy win…..

  • Republic of Connaught

    Get rid of Declan Kidney. He is finished like Arse Wenger.

  • oracle

    Irelands rugby team is a bunch of excuse carrying pretend men.
    As sporting light wieghts go they are the cream of the crop, if by some chance they find themselves on top of any table be sure that altitude sickness is following right behind.

    Irelands physios should for get the madgic sponges and the scented water and instead concentrate on mastering the Heimlich Maneuver… because this team is a bunch of chokers

  • Get rid of Declan Kidney. He is finished like Arse Wenger

    It seems fashonable to want to get rid of managers that have an anatomical part in their name.

    Still, imagine what the French are thinking about Marc Lièvremont. This disaster could yet be the genesis of a great shake up in French Rugby.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    Kidney should go. I say this week in, week out so ur probably all getting bored. But playing a kicking game, whereby posession is just handed to the opposition is NOT the way the game is played in 2011. With the recent rule changes, the advantage is clearly with the side in posession of the ball. Unless you go off your feat and ‘seel’ the ball it’s pretty close to impossible for the opposition to get the ball back. Last week, a very precise kicking game from ROG won us the game and we thought we’d try in again. Well, such a gameplan may have a chance if you 10 and 15 can actually kick a rugby ball but ROG in particular went from superb to horrific in 7 days (or was it 6?).
    We have some of the most exciting backs in Europe but they are just being strangled by kidney. BOD and leinster boys must be fuming as they watch ROG endlessly kick away posession.
    To make things worse, Wales were rubbish too. And Paddy Wallace, oh dear me Paddy. Butchered.

    I expect a feisty scotish performance tomorrow but england should win reasonably comfortably and essentially secure the 6 Nations. A triple crown and grand slam is well within their capability too.

    Hats off to Italy. I would never have predicted that one. Maybe some of the Aironi guys would have though,

  • dwatch

    If Ireland can stuff England at cricket who knows anything can happen. This is a strange six nations, France losing to Italy, I ask you, good on the Italians.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange,

    Up to a point, you are right but it was not the tactic of kicking that lost the game – it was the kicking itself which was of poor quality. ROG was not himself today.

    When Kidney replaced ROG with Sexton, it looked as though he was putting right the problem by using a No. 10 that was supposedly more of a playmaker. How ironic then that it was two bad kicks from Sexton that actually lost Ireland the game.

  • lamhdearg

    Surely it is time for the ulster branch to break away and form their own international team, if you are going to be wick and get beat, you may as well do it with pride playing for your own country instead of linking up with next door to try to win. If winning is the all or nothing then we should have a British isle’s team then maybe we may even beat the boks and the aussies or even the all blacks.

  • Mick Fealty

    Dewi,

    It was a great deal easier for Wales than it should have been, and I am not talking about that facsimile of a try. Ireland choked over and over again in a way we’ve not seen for years.

    Complaints about the illegal try are fine as far as they go, but Sexton and O’Gara were no match for Hook with the boot, and we just lacked the killer instinct when we severally had chances close to goal.

    Fine to stop giving away stupid penalties (Kidney seems to have put some work in there), but the cost seems to have come in the nerve to win (when offered on a Welsh plate with dressing).

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    “Kidney should go”

    Not sure about that – though wouldn’t be too annoyed if he decided to spend more time with his family – but he dealt with the funny try issue very well interviews.

    Poor Paddy Wallace almost contrived to hand victory to Wales 2 years ago when we won the grand slam – and his non pass at the death probably did that yesterday .

    Wales created zero chances and the Ireland defence was excellent so perhaps D’arcy should stay but Fitzgerald should go (looks very edgy) switching Earls, who as excellent, to fullback and bring Trimble in.

    P. Wallace will now surely drop out alltogether.

  • Dewi

    Mike Phillips has his own special ball to use – so it’s reasonable to allow our try…..(hmmm…)

  • Dewi

    …and the ball boy was my man of the match…

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    sammy
    ‘Wales created zero chances and the Ireland defence was excellent so perhaps D’arcy should stay but Fitzgerald should go (looks very edgy) switching Earls, who as excellent, to fullback and bring Trimble in.

    P. Wallace will now surely drop out alltogether.’

    Yes, Ireland’s defence has been excellent all championship, although no side has really been up to scratch to put any real pressure on us. Italy beating France, probably tells us how poor this France side really are – although Italy were outstanding on the day.

    D’arcy had a couple of absolute stinkers in the first couple of games- yesterday I didn’t notice him at all, whether that’s a good thing, who knows? I feel sorry for Paddy Wallace. He’ll be judged on 8 minutes of play, where he was put in out of position, in a side that was playing horrifically. If you look at the mistakes other players have made week in, week out, you’d have to be concerned if he was dropped on that basis alone. That said, he’s been in poor form for Ulster of late and probably could do with more game time at Ulster rather than sitting on the pine. In addition, younger players like Trimble and McFadden need to be brought into the matchday 22.

    Earls had his best game of the championship, but that isn’t anything to write home about. Fitzy was poor at 15 but he’s suffering from not having played enough rugby this season. I’d be equally concerned at Earls being at 15 to be honest.

    Healy and SOB were the standout Irish players.

    Changes for the England game? I guess you have to give some of the young guns a run to see what they are made of for the RWC. I’d like to see Court and Cronin (neither young I know…) have a go in the front row, but realistically you need your best tight 5 V England, so that’s not going to happen I guess.

    Flinger has to go at 9. I’d bring in Sexton at 10, and I’d start McFadden in the middle with BOD. I’d start with the same back 3, but with trimble on the bench replacing PW, with the view to giving him at least 30 mins.

    A Scotish victory today would set things up very nicely but I’d fancy England by a comfortable 15 points.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    ps. A very bold call from Kidney would be to bring in young Nevin Spence ffor Wallace. The kid has been on terrific form for Ulster and with nothing to lose against England, might be worth a punt on the bench. Kidney isn’t exactly renowned for his boldness though…

  • Mick Fealty

    O’Brien was the surprise for me. Pretty dangerous when he actually got a hold of the ball.

  • Greenflag

    Is it too much to expect that the ref’s assistants would at least understand the rules of the game ? There should have been a video replay at least .
    Wales never looked like scoring a try other than the illegal one they got and Ireland had an open try at the end but wanted it ‘under the posts ‘ just in case Sexton was on an off day .

    Just as well it’s a game eh 😉
    So now to spoil England’s party next weekend ?

  • Mick Fealty

    It seems replays are only invoked in the precise scoring actions of a try…

    The real pleasure in watching Ireland in the last ten years has been the quality of our play and our players. I’m afraid I care a great deal more about our guys regaining their confidence before the world cup than spoiling England’s (largely well deserved) fun.

  • You can’t score tries if you kick the ball and possession away.
    When we did run at them we looked like scoring……..yesterday was like a throwback to the 70’s and 80’s it was a woeful.
    It was a game in which the decision making from the backs will have been extremely frustrating for the forwards who by and large did a great job of containing the Welsh
    Interesting to see the ploy of keeping the player on their feet in the tackle.
    The non try was a disgrace

  • Dewi

    the ref asked the linesman if we used the right ball – he replied “yes”. Very strange.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    ‘The real pleasure in watching Ireland in the last ten years has been the quality of our play and our players.’

    Not sure about that Mick. Yes, we’ve had some great players, namely BOD, ROG and POC but I wouldn’t say we ever played ‘quality’ rugby. With the old rules, aerial ping pong suited us very well – Kearny and ROG could kick anyone off the park but we have never played a free-flowing expansive game. Leinster are on the money these days – it’s that style that we need to re-create at the top level.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Dewi,

    I’m struggling to actually say – You deserved it – becuase of the funny try and Wales failure to really make any clear chances but the bigber picture for Wales is a good performance by the youngest pack in the tournament.

    Overall for Wales their forwards have played above expectations and their backs have played below them.

    Mick,

    “O’Brien was the surprise for me. Pretty dangerous when he actually got a hold of the ball.”

    He had been the standout player of the Heimeken Cup – for me, I really expected (stepping up a level allowed for) him to be even better.

    “I’m afraid I care a great deal more about our guys regaining their confidence before the world cup than spoiling England’s (largely well deserved) fun.”

    We have beaten England so many times recently that Irealand really need to switch form an having an old enemy to having a new enemy – France – who we seem to have a real inferiroity complex about every time we take the field against them.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    The games between Ulster and Northampton and Leinster and Leicester are arguably more important now in determining the health of Irish rugby than next weekend.

    With the slight possibility of 2 Irish teams in the Heineken Cup final – I’d swap that every time for a sound beating form England.

    Orange, Mick,

    There can be little doubt that this has been/is the golden age of Irish rugby and possibly as golden as it is going to get – the undoubted talent in Ulster and Leinster coming through does suggest we may yet, possibly, extend that golden age.

    The really furstrating thing is Kidney’s seemingly conservative selection and failure to get that emerging talent involved.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    ‘The really furstrating thing is Kidney’s seemingly conservative selection and failure to get that emerging talent involved.’

    Spot on Sammy. On the one hand you have to build for a world cup year but on the other hand you need, I’d say a 25 man core squad of players, that can slip readily into the side. Players outside the starting 15 (plus ROG) are treated like crap and are given meaningless 10 minute cameos. Watch England today – they were able to use their entire bench and what a difference it made. Okay, we don’t have a great depth of talent but the likes of Court and Cullen can play more than a handful of minutes.

    Was surprised that England struggled quite so much – thought they would have put the Scots away but the Scots out in a decent effort. On that performance, Ireland may just finish the tournament with a flourish. However, that would lift the scotlight from Kidney and you have to wonder if that is a good thing.

  • lamhdearg

    Regarding by comment of 11:09 sat 11th,
    I take the silence to mean acceptance.

  • oracle

    I’m staggered by the fact that the rugger followers are dismayed by Irelands abysmal performances in the 6 Nations tournament.

    I don’t follow rugby yet I was fully aware how poor and over hyped they were, I posted so at the start of the tournament that it was a battle between Ireland and Scotland to see who would finish second last, Scotland won that particular badge of disgrace… but it was a close run thing, the question that beggars belief is why haven’t the rest of you noticed?

    Ireland were and are a side on the slide, sluggish on the wings and heartless in the centre the whole decadent organization have built their foundations on aging ponderous ground with a very soft sub-surface.
    Brian O’Driscoll is rugby’s equivalent to soccers Steven Gerrard and they have much in common both are the 2 most over-rated players for the respective codes in the northern hemisphere, both are perennial under achievers at international level, and yet both are fawned over by the pundits and media commentators alike, and more importantly both their respect sides are better teams without them.

    Come the world cup I firmly believe that Ireland will demonstrate in effervescent techno-coloured glory just how ponderous they are, it’s a humiliation in waiting.

    However I have been wrong once before but that was in primary school when I was asked to calculate the precise volume of an irregular cone…. which wasn’t made any easier when the poke-man rammed a chocolate flake into it.

  • Brian O’Driscoll is rugby’s equivalent to soccers Steven Gerrard and they have much in common both are the 2 most over-rated players for the respective codes in the northern hemisphere

    I can not agree with what you say about BOD. Over the years, he has been Ireland’s most potent attacking weapon and you could point to many matches where his presence in the side made the difference between winning and losing.

    Next week, Ireland play England. Wales play France. The three losers this weekend: France, Ireland and Scotland, will be as fired up as you can get and the teams against them may well feel a backlash.

    As for Scotland, “badge of disgrace” is a very inappropriate term (unless you are talking about pitch officials). Today, they played their best performance of the Championship today. If any team deserves a “disgrace” badge, it is the French.

    Ireland probably start as slight favourites to beat England notwithstanding that the latter have effectively won the Six Nations title this year.

  • Dewi

    abucs is leading the prediction contest with 21 points, He predicts 3 away wins on the last weekend….

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    ‘I can not agree with what you say about BOD. Over the years, he has been Ireland’s most potent attacking weapon and you could point to many matches where his presence in the side made the difference between winning and losing. ‘

    Couldn’t agree more. BOD is arguably the best 13 ever to have played the game. Every facit of his game is near perfection. Particuarly, a few year back when the tackler didn’t have to release the player on the floor – BOD was in his element. I’d agree that Ireland have generally been over-rated in recent years but BOD has not. To score as many tries as he has is a testament to the man. Pure quality.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    The hype sourrounding England will surely now start to dissipate – a good team and probably a better one than Ireland (even if we beat them) but certainly not a great one.

    Scotland played well today as probably would have beaten Ireland and Wales if they had organised themselves like they did today.

    Ireland deserved to lose to Italy, but for a dropped pass against France and a non try for Wales it could be winner take all next week.

    Italy could have and should have beaten Ireland and Wales and could beat Scotland next week to have left them with 4 wins.

    It has been largely poor quality all round except for patches of Ireland against France, France aginst Scotland and England’s performance against Italy.

    Poor quality, but with much drama and excitement and even today the unexected addition of some of London’s wildlife to the pre-match entertainment – though the cameras dissapointingly missed the fox’s capture.

    Dewi,

    Tabloid (Western Mail) Welsh headline.

    Wales win: By Hook and by crook.

  • Mark

    I don’t know about the favorite tag for Ireland Seymour as England have the big Mo behind them and Ireland are seriously lacking in confidence .

    I don’t think Kidney has helped . There’s no harmony in the Irish camp . The bad atmosphere between O Gara and Sexton seems to linger on . Sexton’s game has gone to pieces since he was effectively dropped from the first 15 . Listening to Wilkinson and Flood before todays game , you couldn’t help feeling they both really wanted the other to do well regardless of their own position .Could you say that our two No. 10’s …?

    Jamie Heaslip on Twitter two weeks ago thinking he’s Jimmy Hoffa with his advice for the lads who didn’t make the team for Scotland .

    Seymour , I can understand the logic naming us as the favs because Ireland tend to up their game when least expected . This will be a huge test for the current England team as expectation is something this crop have yet to face in terms of Grand Slams / Championships etc . This is where Johnno earns his money – been there , done that . has the Irish red carpet to prove it .

  • abucs is leading the prediction contest with 21 points, He predicts 3 away wins on the last weekend….

    and thus will be overtaken by articles who predicts two homers and England winning the grandslam at the Aviva.

  • Dewi

    One point behind articles….

  • Dewi

    could I just adjust my points prediction from 550 to 551 just in case.

  • Dewi

    Scores to date:

    Dewi 16
    GreenFlaG 16
    articles 20
    John 19
    Seymour Major 16
    Intelligence Insider 15
    Alisdair Thompson 9
    abucs 21
    Reader 18
    John D 11
    WM 8
    iwsm 16
    Aherp 11
    Al 12

  • Mark,

    I think you are right to a point.

    England is still work in progress and therefore prone to making bad decisions in play (as they did today halfway through the second half when they carried on playing advantage instead of taking a penalty in front the posts).

    The 2003 side was built up over 4 years of learning from many mistakes. This side is at the stage in development that their predecessors wore in about 1999/2000. That previous side never managed to win the grand slam until their last season together.

    That is the thing about rugby. However good a team is, there is always one waiting around the corner to ambush them. My firm belief is that Ireland have saved their best for the end. England might win but I think they are more likely to repeat 2001 than 2003.

  • Dewi

    Certainly not articles – who do u think u are? A Welsh ball boy??

  • Dewi,

    Gatland, as stated in your post, said “nullify the ball carriers”

    He obviously didn’t have Welsh ball boys in mind!

  • Mick Fealty

    Lamh,

    ‘Acceptance’ perhaps that that is what you think and a general concurrence that you are entitled to think it.

    Given the poor behaviour of the IRFU in the past re NI, I understand and to an extent sympathise with the sentiment, but in the limited world of international rugby, ‘Ireland’ is the best we’ve got/going to get.

  • lamhdearg

    ‘Ireland’ is the best we’ve got/going to get.

    I guess i will just sit in A inner next friday shout Ulster Ulster, and let on i am following my countys team.

  • lamhdearg

    country’s

  • Lamh,

    If a split in the IRFU did occur, there would be no room in the rugby calendar for a 7 nations, never mind the fact that NI has no decent stadium. Northern Ireland would effectively be shut out of meaningful international rugby.

    If the IRFU did split, it would not just upset a lot of Irish people. It would upset rugby fans throughout Britain and probably beyond. The six nations has a tradition going back more than 100 years within which Ireland competes as an island and we want it to be kept that way.

    Thankfully, there is very little support for your point of view, even within the British – Irish community.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    lamhdearg,

    Unionist Ulster supporters have taken a sensible and pragmatic approach to supporting Ireland which should be applauded – alternatives simply head down the rugby equivalent of San Marino (in soccerball) – and also with an increasing number of players opting for Ireland anyway.

    As I mentioned here before (see below) the IRFU should be looking to make Unionist Ulster supporters more comfortable in supporting the Irish team.

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2010/06/04/building-on-the-rugby-success-of-the-ireland-teams/

  • oracle

    I think a split in the the team would be quite a good idea… it means we wouldn’t have to listen to that pile of ballax Irelands call ever again.
    Be republican guys… go for the split!

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Oracle,

    “Be republican guys… go for the split”

    Well we tried the split with ladyball (soccerball) and that has not worked out well for Ulster – who are beginning to resemble San Marino – and we should really, apologise for the split( which is down to other 3 provinces) and invite Ulster into the Irish tent.

    The Ulster soccerball team has become an embarssment with the Ireland (other 3 provinces teams) not much better.

  • Mark

    It would also mean the 3000 fans at the home games ( Romania have a big away following ) would be able to hear the United Northern Ireland Rugby team belt out God saves the Queen …and the games with the Faroe Islands and San Marino would be classics .

  • Dewi

    Such a disappointing game wasn’t it – no great inspiration from either side.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Dewi,

    Having slept on it (twice) I think I can bring myself to say Wales deserved it.

    What was “disappointing ” for Wales was their inability to break down the Irish defence for Ireland it was ‘disappointing ‘ that on 3 occasions they had farly simple overlaps and failed to convert. Ireland can do the difficult things – ie defend really well in their 22 and make breaks in the oppositons 22 but not run in the tries – also from an Iirsh persepctive (and credit to Wales for this) they did not get forward domination – with Wales’s pack looking stronger in the 2nd half.

  • Dewi
  • john

    Oh well an apology makes everything ok then. Had to laugh at Rees denying he knew anything was wrong. Both him and Phillips are chancers and should really be footballers with that kind of sporting attitude. Any justice and they will have their usual dumping out of the world cup by a South Pacific team Fiji or Samoa take your pick. Nothing personal against the Welsh Dewi because my anger towards Wales is negligible compared to my feelings towards the Irish players and coaching team who have managed to throw away 2 matches and nearly throw away the other 2 matches which resulted in a hollow feeling even when they won.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Running into each other with a funny shaped ball is Sport ?
    I guess when you compare it to runny/throwy/kicky/punch up/ball…….that is Garlic Soccer………I suppose it is !!

    Anywhoooo,well played Wales……;-)

  • Mark

    Aontachtach mentioned a quota system for selection to the Ireland Rugby Team on another thread and asked for some thoughts ….

    I don’t know if that would work as the 15 best players should make the team regardless of what province they come from . That hasn’t always been the case and Ulster fans have a genuine grievance when asking if the Ulster players have had a fair crack of the whip down the years ( David Humphries springs to mind )

    Sammy mentioned South Africa and the coach’s son and there are plenty fo cases where family connections have a bearing on whether or not yer man gets the nod . Alex Ferguson and his son Darren , Kenny Dalglish and his son Paul , Brian and NIgel Clough etc …..

    I always found the Ulster fans the most vocal whenever I went to Lansdowne rd . I was lucky enough to have access to a couple of 10 yr tickets and the same Northern faces were there most of the time . You could normally hear them before you got to your seat and before a word was spoken , the hipflasks were produced and everything was grand .

    It’s a pity that there isn’t a stadium up north where some of the internationals could be played . The English FA rotated some games while Wembley was been rebuilt and the whole country had a chance to see the national team play without having to travel long distances . There’s a great buzz in and around the ground on match days and the craic is 90 in all the boozers with the fans etc . It’s a pity the team is so brutal at the moment just when the World Cup is around the corner , Cheltenham is on , it’s Paddy’s week and you know who is coming to town ..

  • Mark

    Oh – Beanz meanz moran !

  • lamhdearg

    Ok,
    first off my comment was not based on me thinking that this was something that was going to happen, i was ignored until my “silence as acceptance” line brought a courteous response’s from Mick and then Seymour, but Seymour “no room” could 7 nations not fit in if the teams played every week?, (but no need for 7 nations world cup will do). Then we have the “but an ulster national team would not win” line, ok if winning is all important lets have a British isle’s team we could call it the British (and irish) lions, and just scrap the other nations, then WE might win lots of the time. Then we have the line “3000 home gate” the soon to be improved Ravenhill holds 123000 i feel international games would fill it, and last but not least (we) “sic”,”would be able to hear the United Northern Ireland Rugby team belt out God saves the Queen”, what as opposed to the soldier’s song.

  • Dewi

    Don;t nationalists play for and support Ulster?

  • lamhdearg

    @Dewi
    is that ? for me.

  • Dewi

    Yes

  • Mark

    There were no calls for a seperate 7 nations team when Ireland won the Grand Slam a couple of years ago. It’s the same with the Cricket team … why is that I wonder ?

  • lamhdearg

    I will assume you refer to Irish nationalists as opposed to Ulster or British nationalists, and i assume some do play for and support the Ulster CLUB team, in my post i suggest a Ulster (n.i) international team, all the above would also be welcome to play for the international team along with anyone who has seen the film titanic (rules premiting).

  • lamhdearg

    Mark
    i am in my 40s i have been “calling” for an seperate ulster everything in and ont of sport for 30 or so years. i dont think i am the only one.

  • Dewi

    …and welcome to belt out God Save the Queen I presume…

  • lamhdearg

    Dewi
    as i commented at 8:00, “as opposed to the soldier song” you the Welsh share an island with a bigger country England, would you like it if you where not to have a national team and your best players had to go and play at twicks and listen to an anthem that is not yours?. There would be no tradition of G.S.T.Q. for an Ulster rugby team as there has been no Ulster rugby team (as yet), so maybe the anthem could be something else, i suggest dearg doom by the horslips, gets the blood pumping. ps i am of to watch somethingon the t.v. please dont think my silence as acceptance.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    lamhdearg,

    “as i commented at 8:00, “as opposed to the soldier song” you the Welsh share an island with a bigger country England, would you like it if you where not to have a national team and your best players had to go and play at twicks and listen to an anthem that is not yours?”

    That is the way it is in cricket for Wales – and quite a lot of that goes on for athletics – and not just for Wales.

  • I was very sad to read that Shane Williams has played his last 6N match because of injury. Lets hope he is able to grace the World cup.

    Meanwhile, I am hoping for the Welsh win on Saturday, although I fear a backlash after the France – Italy game.

    I Would love to see that awful French head coach dismissed before the World cup. His public outburst on Sunday has probably permanently damaged trust and confidence that should exist between manager and players. When he does eventually go, the French will then have some hope that a great team can be put together which their rich pool of talent is crying out for.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    SM,

    “His public outburst on Sunday has probably permanently damaged trust and confidence that should exist between manager and players.”

    I thought it was refreshing – provided he can back it up and it is not simply an attmept to save his own neck.

  • Sammy,

    “…provided he can back it up…”

    I dont know that he will. France will probably win on Saturday because their players will be motivated to restore some pride but that will only paper over the cracks.

    Just putting aside ML’s post match outburst, the following are indications to my amateur eye that he is not doing an effective job.

    At half time during the Italy match on Saturday, Serge Betsen (former France No. 6) complained that he could not see any evidence that the French were playing to any game plan. After the match, ML complained that the players were not doing what he asked them to do before the match. That is rather telling. It suggests that he is inspiring no confidence with the players.

    The other significant feature of ML’s record is that he has failed to put together a settled squad of players. None of the other European teams have suffered from as many selection changes as the French.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    SM,

    That his selctions are bizarre is not in doubt but not relevant to those who took the field.

    “After the match, ML complained that the players were not doing what he asked them to do before the match. That is rather telling. It suggests that he is inspiring no confidence with the players.”

    How can you come to that conclusion? I can equally suggest that he is backing up his outburst with the ‘fact’ that the useless feckers wouldnt do as they were told.

  • leadership off the field is one thing but leadership ON the field is equally important.

  • Sammy,

    If Marc Lièvrement’s outburst was so effective, why did he feel the need to apologise for it afterwards? Here is one link which records that fact

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/234846/Marc-Lievremont-says-sorry

    MP,

    I totally agree. Marc Lièvrement’s outburst has, to a certain extent, deflected attention from the role of France’s captain, Thierry Dusautoir. Then again, TD has been the France’s captain for more than 2 years. There have been some disastrous performances by France over the last year (not just last Saturday v Australia and Argentina). If his leadership had been found wanting, Lièvrement should have replaced him.