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Wales v Ireland (pre/during/post thread)

  • 16-03-2009 11:17pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 2,155 ✭✭✭ juvenal


    128.gif126.gif
    Wales v Ireland
    Saturday 21 March 2008, 5.30pm (Irish)
    Millenium Stadium, Cardiff
    Live on RTÉ2, RTÉ.ie, RTÉ Radio 1; BBC1, BBC Radio 5 Live

    Wales|No.|Ireland
    Lee Byrne|15|Rob Kearney
    Mark Jones|14|Tommy Bowe
    Tom Shanklin|13|Brian O'Driscoll
    Gavin Henson|12|Gordon Darcy
    Shane Williams|11|Luke Fitzgerald
    Stephen Jones|10|Ronan O'Gara
    Mike Phillips|9|Tomas O'Leary
    Gethin Jenkins|1|Marcus Horan
    Matthew Rees|2|Jerry Flannery
    Adam Jones|3|John Hayes
    Ian Gough|4|Donncha O'Callaghan
    Alun Wyn Jones|5|Paul O'Connell
    Ryan Jones|6|Stephen Ferris
    Martyn Williams|7|David Wallace
    Andy Powell|8|Jamie Heaslip

    Wales replacements: Huw Bennett, John Yapp, Luke Charteris, Dafydd Jones, Warren Fury, James Hook, Jamie Roberts.

    Ireland replacements: Rory Best, Tom Court, Mick O'Driscoll, Denis Leamy, Peter Stringer, Paddy Wallace, Geordan Murphy.

    Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)
    Touch judges: Stuart Terheege (England), Dave Pearson (England)
    TMO: Romain Poite (France)


    ON 13 MARCH 1948, Ireland played Wales in Ravenhill, Belfast, winning by a score of 6-3. Previous to that they'd beaten France in Paris 13-6, England in Twickenham 11-10, and Scotland in Lansdowne Road 6-0.

    Jack Kyle, Bertie O'Hanlon, Michael O'Flanagan, Jimmy Nelson, Jim McCarthy, Paddy Reid, Colm Callan, Karl Mullen, Jim McCarthy, Barney Mullan, Jimmy Corcoran, AA McConnell, Bill McKay, Jack Mattson, Dudley Higgins, Hugh de Lacy, Ernie Strathdee, John Christopher Daly, Ernie Keeffe, Des O'Brien, Bob Agar, J.C. Daly

    These are the men of the only Grand Slam winning Irish team in the history of the tournament. This is what the current squad hope to emulate on Saturday. The chance of a lifetime, one shot at immortality, a moment of history, and one for the grandchildren. This is not needless hyperbole, the fact of the matter is that what Ireland can achieve this Saturday has only been achieved by an Irish team once in the history of the Five/Six Nations Championship. Not since this group of players in 1948 has a team from this island defeated all of their opponents in Europe's leading international rugby tournament, a time when a lot of our parents probably weren't even around to witness it. Be thankful that you are, and as Declan Kidney said today, enjoy the week, because if you don't enjoy times like this you won't enjoy anything.

    It's been steady and solid thus far, with a great opening win against the French leading into the summary dismissal of Italy followed by a real test against England. Last Saturday's display in Edinburgh was as good as the French performance, as what the team showed over the course of the game was a level of professionalism and calm that has rarely been a feature of the Irish game over the past couple of seasons. At times the Scots looked like they were primed to spoil the party as they've been known to do, but at pivotal moments in the game the Irish team stood up and were counted. The Bowe tackle, the Stringer snipe, the O'Gara drop-goal, and the death-by-Munster pick and go drives of the forward unit in the closing minutes all showed how much confidence this team has regained since Kidney took over at the helm.

    No doubt somewhere in the west of Ireland, or perhaps even somewhere in the US rugby heartland around California and Colorado, a certain Eddie O'Sullivan will be quietly tuning in to see how his former players get on. In a period of new found confidence and hype around the Irish team, it's easy to forget O'Sullivan contribution, who was the captain of this ship for seven years. There's no doubt his tenure was a touch long, but the blame is at the IRFU's door rather than the former coach's, as who can begrudge a professional for accepting a lucrative financial offer when he has his family to consider. While he may not be penpals with the current coach, O'Sullivan developed a professionalism and a system that Declan Kidney will appreciate and is now benefitting from coupled with the strengths of his own unique style of management.

    The Welsh would love nothing more to be the thorn in the side of their Celtic cousins. For a proud nation that sees rugby as it's national sport, they've always had a somewhat superior air with so many of their great players from the past being legends of the game. Two Grand Slams in four years is a record that was more like the French or English in that past couple of decades, but the Welsh established themselves as the Northern Hemisphere team to beat since the 2005 GS victory broke a 23-year hoodoo. Their visit to Paris ended their 2009 hopes, but they still have a very strong chance of the Triple Crown and the Six Nations Championship should they put the required number of points on Ireland. On their home turf they are more than capable of beating any team, and certainly it can be argued that they've the armoury to beat Ireland by the required 13 points on Saturday. Coach Warren Gatland would also like nothing more to ruin his former employer's chances having being acrimoniously replaced by O'Sullivan in 2001.

    Onto the facts of the game, and the respective squads. Ireland have a full squad to choose from, with the only doubt being over Denis Leamy who was withdrawn with a suspected shoulder injury after half an hour in Murrayfield. In any event, the impact and previous match form of Jamie Heaslip makes it unlikely that a fully-fit Leamy would get a starting berth in the backrow. Peter Stringer's man-of-the-match performance on Saturday has given the selectors food for thought, and it is quite possible that his experience and resurgent form will give him an edge over Tomas O'Leary. At centre Gordon D'arcy appears to have enough form and match fitness to retain the number 12 shirt, but Paddy Wallace is a more than suitable replacement should the game require it. Hooker is the other key dilemma, with Rory Best having a decent game, although Jerry Flannery is neck-and-neck with him for selection, and it will probably come down to tactics.

    The Welsh made nine changes for their narrow win over Italy in Rome, and certainly it hasn't thrown up the sort of selection dilemma that Gatland and co would've wished for. Tom Shanklin is likely to start at centre, with his partner being either Gavin Henson or Jamie Roberts, with Henson the favourite. Mike Phillips is almost certain to retain the scrumhalf position, and I expect Stephen Jones to edge James Hook at outhalf. Martyn Williams and Ryan Jones will return to the back row, with the number 8 jersey between Andy Powell, Jonathan Thomas and Dafydd Jones. On the wing it's a choice between experience and youth with Mark Jones and Leigh Halfpenny vying for the start. The front row will also see changes with Gethin Jenkins, Adam Jones and Matthew Rees expected to return.

    The well-publicised issues with Steve Walsh have seen Englishman Wayne Barnes step in as the man in the middle. I'm a fan of his style of refereeing; he's a no-nonsense, strict ref; decently consistent, and I expect him to have a good game. I can see both David Wallace and Martyn Williams conceding penalties, and Ireland will need to be extremely disciplined to ensure that they keep him onside. Barnes doesn't take backchat, or persistent fouling, and in his first outing as referee in the 2009 championship, he'll be quick to stamp out any discipline issues on both sides.

    I've had the good fortune to be in attendance at both of Munster's Heineken Cup victories, a good number of internationals both in Lansdowne and Croke Park, including this season's victories over France and England - but in an instant I'd trade them for the opportunity to be in the Millennium Stadium on Saturday. History has shown us that these opportunities don't come around very often, and the mass popularity of the sport in Ireland nowadays makes it more special. So wherever you are watching the game on Saturday, wherever green is worn, enjoy the day and the occasion. We're very lucky to be in a position where this is possible, and no matter what the outcome, we know that everyone involved with the team will be giving 110%. Stand behind the team, and support them as loud and as colourfully as you can, and be proud. This is our chance at history, and we should take it with both hands.

    COME ON IRELAND!!!


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 45,433 ✭✭✭✭ thomond2006


    Juvenal, did you write that all yourself. If yes then fair play. :):)


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,026 B0X


    juvenal wrote: »
    COME ON IRELAND!!!
    Apart from this the rest was jargon :p

    Nice to read about the last time though, hopefully we'll have a refresher course in greatness this Saturday.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,326 Serenity Now!


    Leamy is apparently fit so I reckon he'll start at 8. I have to agree for once with Mark Mac from Against the Head and doubt that Dec Kidney will start Stringer against Mike Philips, instead opting for Stringer at halfback. Wallace will be bench centre again.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,257 anonymous_joe


    I'd start Heaslip for this one tbh.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,326 Serenity Now!


    I'd start Heaslip for this one tbh.

    I'd go Leamy meself. He'll get right up Williams' nose the entire time he's on the field. Martyn Williams is an outstanding backrower and a pain in the arse at the breakdown. He really needs the attention that a gnarler like Leamy can deliver.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,549 Noffles


    I'd go Leamy meself. He'll get right up Williams' nose the entire time he's on the field. Martyn Williams is an outstanding backrower and a pain in the arse at the breakdown. He really needs the attention that a gnarler like Leamy can deliver.

    Haha.. have to agree there, Williams must be a nightmare to play against in the breakdown... Leamy going to have his hands full... but in this game everyone will need to throw everything at it... Wales will (or better had anyway) not traveling back home to the Millenium to watch them lose... and if they do by some miracle lose, it'll make returning home and going to work a very VERY testing time ;-)


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,061 ✭✭✭✭ Sangre


    If healsip doesn't start it'll be a joke. If he doesn't then clearly form means nothing. You need some with his athleticism against wales.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,881 ✭✭✭ madds


    Have heard that Heaslip, O'Leary, and Flannery are all coming back in. Darcy to remain. Will be tough on Stringer if he's left out. We'll see.


  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ yogidc26


    Is any one as nervous and as excited as I am don’t know how im going to get through the rest of the week and to top it all off my wife is due our second child on Sunday hope she does go a day early or she will be on the hospital on the own

    I think he has to start Heaslip at 8 he is the best 8 we have at this time


  • Registered Users Posts: 4,949 ✭✭✭ twinytwo


    Im thinking that considering for the Irish players this is prob the biggest game of their lives( yes even bigger than england at home in 07) they will go out On Saturday and play the rugby of their lives. Even having the roof closed should have no effect, The munster lads have been there and done that enough times before.

    Ireland 23
    Try- Drico
    Wallace
    Con - O Gara(2)
    Pen - O Gara(3)

    Wales 17
    Try- S.Williams
    Shanklin
    Con- Jones(2)
    Pen- Jones(1)


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,155 ✭✭✭ juvenal


    Welsh team announced as above. No real surprises there, although I thought they might take a punt on Halfpenny at right wing rather than Mark Jones, but the experience wins through.

    Expect some fireworks in the midfield between Henson/Shanklin and O'Driscoll/Darcy, and there'll be an interesting battle between the two backrows.
    Juvenal, did you write that all yourself. If yes then fair play.
    B0X wrote: »
    Apart from this the rest was jargon

    Nice to read about the last time though, hopefully we'll have a refresher course in greatness this Saturday.

    I did indeed, cheers lads ;)


  • Registered Users Posts: 218 ✭✭ Legion2008


    yogidc26 wrote: »
    Is any one as nervous and as excited as I am don’t know how im going to get through the rest of the week and to top it all off my wife is due our second child on Sunday hope she does go a day early or she will be on the hospital on the own

    Best of luck .... so will the name be Brian, Ronan or Declan ? or will it depend on who scores the winning try .... :D

    I'm nervous, scared and excited about this weekends game ....


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,963 ✭✭✭ Goose81


    IRELAND TEAM & REPLACEMENTS (v Wales, 2009 RBS 6 Nations Championship, Mileenium Stadium, Saturday, March 21, kick-off 5.30pm):

    15 - Robert Kearney (UCD - Leinster)

    14 - Tommy Bowe (Ospreys)

    13 - Brian O'Driscoll (UCD - Leinster) Captain

    12 - Gordon D’Arcy (Lansdowne - Leinster)

    11 - Luke Fitzgerald (Blackrock College - Leinster)

    10 - Ronan O'Gara (Cork Constitution - Munster)

    9 - Tomas O'Leary (Dolphin - Munster)

    1 - Marcus Horan (Shannon - Munster)

    2 - Jerry Flannery (Shannon - Munster)

    3 - John Hayes (Bruff- Munster)

    4 - Donncha O'Callaghan (Cork Constitution - Munster)

    5 - Paul O'Connell (Young Munster - Munster)

    6 - Stephen Ferris (Dungannon - Ulster)

    7 - David Wallace (Garryowen - Munster)

    8 - Jamie Heaslip (Naas - Leinster)
    Replacements:
    16 - Rory Best (Banbridge - Ulster)
    17 - Tom Court (Malone - Ulster)
    18 - Mick O’Driscoll (Cork Constitution - Munster)
    19 - Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution - Munster)
    20 - Peter Stringer (Shannon - Munster)
    21 - Paddy Wallace (Ballymena - Ulster)
    22 - Geordan Murphy (Leicester)


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,155 ✭✭✭ juvenal


    Irish team announced as above. No real surprises, with only Darcy retaining his place from the four changes in Murrayfield. I think that's the right call, and with Stringer, Best, Leamy, Wallace etc on the bench there's a greater impact available there to change a game than if it were the other way around.


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,963 ✭✭✭ Goose81


    Dissapointed Stringer is not playing.
    O'Leary has been crap so far,cant pass fast,cant box kick etc.

    This could be a major factor in whether we win.


  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭ yogidc26


    Goose81 wrote: »
    Dissapointed Stringer is not playing.
    O'Leary has been crap so far,cant pass fast,cant box kick etc.

    This could be a major factor in whether we win.

    Yep hope this does lose us the game


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,608 themont85


    I'm a bit suprised Stringer isn't starting given his performance vs Scotland but there you go.

    I would have been shocked if Leamy played over Healip, Heaslip is one of the form players in Ireland.


  • Registered Users Posts: 279 ✭✭ velocirafter


    Goose81 wrote: »
    Dissapointed Stringer is not playing.
    O'Leary has been crap so far,cant pass fast,cant box kick etc.

    This could be a major factor in whether we win.


    O'Leary is there to guard against brakes from Philips, plus you can bring stringer on around 60 minutes to up the tempo


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,721 ✭✭✭ Otacon


    O'Leary is there to guard against brakes from Philips, plus you can bring stringer on around 60 minutes to up the tempo

    I think that is why the decision was made too. I am actually looking forward to seeing O'Leary start. His distribution is slow but the rest of his game is superb, especially defence.

    Then, when there are some tired legs out there, have Strings come on to run them ragged.

    COME ON IRELAND!


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,549 Noffles


    Exactly the team I would of like to of seen... Wales at full strength at home... last game of the tournament.... bring it on Ireland!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,249 Stev_o


    Otacon wrote: »
    I think that is why the decision was made too. I am actually looking forward to seeing O'Leary start. His distribution is slow but the rest of his game is superb, especially defence.

    Then, when there are some tired legs out there, have Strings come on to run them ragged.

    COME ON IRELAND!

    O'Leary has been awful in green and hasn't produced the performances which saw him over take Stringer in red. He kicks way to much for my liking and is too slow off the base, tends to be extremely indecisive. If anything his selections shows that we aren't going out to play but sit back and let the Welsh lad's see what they can do. Probably the two slowest SH in the world going head to head........oh the joy.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,941 ✭✭✭ teednab-el


    Only thing about leaving out Stringer for O Leary is that the Welsh will now need two gameplans, which is hard to adapt to. Hopefully it will be Ireland's day!


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,249 Stev_o


    teednab-el wrote: »
    Only thing about leaving out Stringer for O Leary is that the Welsh will now need two gameplans, which is hard to adapt to. Hopefully it will be Ireland's day!

    Explain?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,721 ✭✭✭ Otacon


    Stev_o wrote: »
    O'Leary has been awful in green and hasn't produced the performances which saw him over take Stringer in red. He kicks way to much for my liking and is too slow off the base, tends to be extremely indecisive. If anything his selections shows that we aren't going out to play but sit back and let the Welsh lad's see what they can do. Probably the two slowest SH in the world going head to head........oh the joy.

    I agree that he is slow, but his kicking, which personally I think has been pretty good, has only been an issue in one game, one which he was clearly being given instructions to do so.

    I do hope he tones it down though for this game as I do not want to see Lee Byrne running down our throats!

    His defence, as I mentioned already, and his breaks, have been sublime.


  • Registered Users Posts: 634 ✭✭✭ subfreq


    O'Leary had to play. I think it's a myth that Stringer was amazing against Scotland. Where was the organisation and passing in the first half. No where to be seen. He had a fantastci break and will make an impact off the bench but O'Leary is ore disciplined and can set out a better pattern.

    Shanklin is going to run at O'Gara and they are going to pound him all day on the weekend. We need more defensive cover and organisation and I think O'Leary offers that. I couldn't believe how much first up tackling ROG had to make against Scotland because there was no one else around. If that happens in Cardiff we will get mauled.

    Great to see D'Arcy hold his place. The Welsh are really blowing smoke about Henson having not lost against Northern opposition when he starts and that he did a number on BOD 4 years ago. The key being that was four years ago!!

    This will all come down to the front 8 and more specifically the battle in the tight five. By rights Ireland should win this war and set the platform to win this game.

    I just hope we front up with major aggression in the first 20 minutes and lay a marker down. If we can get early scores on the board and really crank the pressure onto Wales then we are on the way to GS nirvana.


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,467 ✭✭✭✭ stephen_n


    No major surprises in either team selection, would have liked to see Stringer start but obviously we are are going to try grind them down for the first sixty minutes before increasing the tempo. Doubt stringers defence is an issue cause I don't really remember him ever missing any tackles despite his size. As with all the changes it really is so close between the players except in the case of Heaslip that it doesn't really make much difference either way. I don't think the argument about needing Leamy's physicality holds true with Ferris there and Jamie will give us a much needed attacking option outside of the hard yards approach we will get from POC, Ferris and the rest of the pack which should keep the Welsh defence honest. This game could come down to a battle of the Outhalves and if it does I hope ROG get's his kicking from hand game back in order, it would be nice to see him control a game like he used and keep the welsh on the back foot because if he kicks like he has so far in this 6N Lee Byrne is going to have a field day running back at us!

    Nervous, excited and all the things that go with this game and whats at stake but I believe that all Kidney's and this teams experience and maturity will come to the fore on Saturday and hopefully win the GS:)


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,352 funky penguin


    ARRRRRGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!! I can't wait and its only Tuesday!!!!!


    COME ON IRELAND!!!!!


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,941 ✭✭✭ teednab-el


    Stev_o wrote: »
    Explain?

    Wales may have been expecting Stringer to start after his outstanding display against Scotland and thus would have aimed their earlier preparation on counteracting his role on the field etc, but now as O Leary is picked they will have to change their plans slightly, as O Leary has a completely different playing style to Stringer. Stringer will be an excellent choice to bring off the bench at 50-60 mins to raise the tempo of the game if the match is close.

    Thats all


  • Registered Users Posts: 634 ✭✭✭ subfreq


    Interesting to see both the Welsh Coach and Captain come out hard today with the mind games.

    You have to think they are seriously worried if they are looking to distract Ireland this early in the week. I am really looking forward to how Declan handles all this.

    Gatlin

    He insists his charges are desperate to deny Ireland a first Grand Slam since 1948, stating provocatively: "Probably, out of all the teams in the Six Nations, the Welsh players dislike the Irish the most.

    "Players' experiences against Ireland haven't always been the greatest, so they are very motivated to play against them."

    "It's about winning the game first, win the Triple Crown, deny them the Grand Slam and then see what position we are in," he said.

    However, he again looked to turn up the heat on the Irish, questioning their ability to perform under pressure.

    "There is a lot of pressure and expectation on the Irish team to come to our back-yard and perform," he continued.

    "After the Scottish game (last Saturday), the Irish players were an hour-and-a-half in the changing room celebrating and singing, so they were clearly happy where they were at.

    "It's how they handle that pressure. There has been expectation on them over a number of years, and in a couple of World Cups as well.

    "At international level, when there has been that expectation either to perform in Six Nations tournaments or World Cups, they've sometimes faltered a little bit.

    "It will be interesting to see how (coach) Declan (Kidney) handles that, and how the players handle that this week.

    "They've performed well in this Six Nations, but we're at home with a massive crowd behind us.

    "If you go back to the autumn, they [Ireland] were talking themselves up a lot before the All Blacks game - and they really performed poorly in that game.

    "We've got to really concentrate on ourselves and put them under as much pressure as we can."


    Jones:

    Wales skipper Jones, who led the Dragons to a clean sweep last season, said: “Ireland will come here with the favourites tag and with that, there is a pressure and burden to bear.

    “But with the experience of the players they have got at both club and international level, they should be able to deal with it.

    “I don’t think that should be an issue for them. I’m sure the likes of the Munster boys will treat this game as just another game.

    “We will both try to win the game but it’s just about who gets it right on the day.”

    Jones said: “The game won’t be pretty because there’s too much at stake. It will be extremely physical and the kicking game is going to be massive.

    “You only have to look at Ronan O’Gara who controls the game for Munster week in, week out. We’ve got to make sure we win that area.

    “He’s a world-class number 10 and we all know his strengths and weaknesses. It’s up to us to see if we can exploit his defence. We haven’t said it’s a weakness but we will try to use it to our advantage.

    “Defences are so strong today that there won’t be many tries but if we play rugby in the right areas and win the territorial battle, we can win the match.”


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,155 ✭✭✭ juvenal


    Have to say I'm a little disappointed in Gatland with some of those remarks. I appreciate that the mind games are a component of professional sport, and our own Declan Kidney is a master of it in his own quiet way. I've a lot of time for Gatland as a coach and he's achieved a hell of a lot since being shafted by the IRFU, but this just smacks of a lack of class.

    Perhaps it's his way of trying to rile the Irish camp, or perhaps it shows that the Welsh a pre-empting a potential loss in their backyard with the media and the Welsh public, but some of the comments appear to be a little personal.

    No matter what happens on Saturday, the frontline players from both teams will be travelling to South Africa in a few months, and Lions rugby could do without the sort of petty childishness that can drive a wedge in a camp. Sure, Gatland's job is with Wales and not the Lions, but there appears to be a little edge in the build up to this game, and I hope it doesn't manifest itself in on the field and detract from a match between two fine rugby teams. Perhaps these comments are being blown out of proportion, but on face value they appear to smack of a little bitterness.


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