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Posts Tagged ‘ Michael Cheika ’

Guinness Series – Who Will Tame The Wallabies?

Robbie-Henshaw

Dual blogged on I’m Talkin’ Here

Assuming there isn’t a Joe Schmidt curveball to come, the starting XV for this Saturday against Australia will come from the best of the Boks and Georgia fixtures. At a glance you would say that the starting team from the South Africa fixture will get to go out and prove their mettle once more, excluding Jared Payne of course who is ruled out with the sprain suffered in that game. That said though, some hands went up against Georgia and you couldn’t put it past Schmidt to feel those few deserve their chance, on the bench at the very least.

In the front row, Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin and Mike Ross will surely be nailed on starters for Saturday. You could argue Cronin if Best is good to go, but Schmidt is not going to put in someone on merit so unless Best has a training week for the ages Cronin has got to start. Mike Ross has had a tough old run of it, playing to 74 minutes against the Boks, but having had so little game time beforehand it is still likely he will get the nod. In the second row you cannot look past Devin Toner and Paul O’Connell, especially with the commanding presence the former brought to the pitch when he was introduced last weekend. Dave Foley has likely played himself onto the bench however. The back row throws up a few more debates, especially when they will be up against the like of Matt Hooper, though admittedly the Aussie back rows had little or no fun against France last week. For Ireland, Dominic Ryan has likely played himself onto the bench, marginally ahead of Tommy O’Donnell though the latter did nothing wrong against Georgia or South Africa. The two are just simply fairly level and Ryan would benefit more from the experience. Expect no less than Jamie Heaslip and Peter O’Mahony to fill out the rest of the pack. Continue reading

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Can The Waratahs Tame The Lions?

warWe are at the half way stage of the Lions tour with game 5 tomorrow in Sydney against the NSW Waratahs. The Lions strolled to their easiest win (as expected) on the tour so far with a 62-0 victory over the combined country in mid-week. They won’t get it so easy tomorrow with the Waratahs expected to give them their biggest test of the tour so far. Four of their internationals, prop Paddy Ryan, No 8 and captain Dave Daniels, full-back Drew Mitchell and experienced centre Rob Horne have been released by the ARU to play this fixture along with two international sevens players. Manager Michael Cheika formally of Leinster has spoken about the desire in their camp to hit the men in red as hard as they can and claim a big scalp. Expect Cheika to have his team super motivated with lots of energy and hard hits. The Waratahs still minus eight internationals and six out injured will still front up similar to what the Reds did last Saturday and expect a close game with Cheika’s team looking to be physical and disrupt any pattern or flow the Lions may try to conjure. Continue reading

Double Proves Fitting Send Off For Leinster Greats

Leinster 24 -v- Ulster 18

Leinster, the dominant force in Europe for the last five years, have landed a domestic title that has alluded them for three seasons in a row and in doing so completed a famous double. For this extraordinary group of players no less would have done.

For the last two years Heineken Cup hangovers and primed opposition have tainted what was meant to be their European champions’ party. This year was different. After bowing out in the group stages of the Heineken Cup, because of two defeats at the hands of the majestic Clermont, Leinster’s focus switched to the domestic title that had escaped their greedy grasp at their zenith. Last week’s European victory in the Amlin Cup took on a secondary importance. They enjoyed Friday night’s celebrations but didn’t allow them become weekend long sessions as they licked their Parisse induced bruises and returned to training on Monday setting their sights firmly on Ulster and the difficult task ahead. This was unfinished business. Their opponents for the final had completed a home and away double against them during the regular season and the game would demand the standards that have epitomised Leinster during the Joe Schmidt era, this technically away final in the RDS was his 99th and last game in charge of the province. However, the Ulster defeats earlier in the season were not the main motivating factor for Leinster instead it was the fact that they have been runners-up for the last three seasons in this competition that really irked them. For this uber successful bunch those defeats lingered through the Summer months. All talk this week was about completing the job, finishing the season off to their lofty standards and not leaving a sour taste, and that meant victory – the only fitting send off for Joe Schmidt, Jonathan Sexton and Isa Nacewa. Continue reading

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