Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

It's a best case scenario for Ireland with our first choice 8 and 2 back fit. Kelleher isn't risked on the bench, so Herring gets his chance and Treadwell back-fills for Henderson. Gibson Park's outstanding cameo back from injury means he swaps places with Murray. McCloskey loses out on the 12 shirt to Aki and misses out on the 23 shirt to O'Brien because having a specialist 12 (and 10) on the bench would leave us exposed if 11,13, 14,or 15 got injured.

Henshaw comes in for the injured Ringrose, and 23-year-old Baird makes just his third Test start and has an opportunity to really make an impression. Many see him as a six, so his performance in the tight will be watched with interest. He's a match for Itoje athletically, and quite possibly the fastest player in the Irish team. How times have changed for international locks! Gavin Coombes is again unlucky to miss out.

England have also made minimal changes after their mauling by France. Captain Owen Farrell comes in for the benched Marcus Smith and Manu Tuilagi comes in for the injured Ollie Lawrence with David Ribbans replacing the injured Ollie Chessum at lock. 20 year old (ex Ireland qualified) winger Henry Arundell is preferred to Max Malins on the wing.

This is a good England side with the Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi, and Owen Farrell midfield axis having caused us plenty of problems in the past. Courtney Lawes will be missed (as will Tadgh Beirne) and I am surprised Dombrandt is retained. His lack of mobility has been cruelly exposed at international level. Opportunity knocks for Henry Arundell but no doubt Ireland will test his defence.

England: 15 Freddie Steward; 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 Henry Arundell; 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Jack van Poortvliet; 1 Ellis Genge, 2 Jamie George, 3 Kyle Sinckler; 4 Maro Itoje, 5 David Ribbans; 6 Lewis Ludlam, 7 Jack Willis, 8 Alex Dombrandt. Replacements: Jack Walker, Mako Vunipola, Dan Cole, Nick Isiekwe, Ben Curry, Alex Mitchell, Marcus Smith, Joe Marchant .

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Mar 16th, 2023 at 08:27:26 PM EST
Any team would miss two world class players like Ringrose and Beirne (and Henderson, Bealham and Kelleher aren't bad either!) But considering those injuries, this is about as good as it gets for Ireland. England are missing Courtney Lawes, Chessum , Lawrence and Cowan-Dickie and are thus in a roughly equivalent position. This is a fair test of where the two sides are coming up to the World cup, not to mention Ireland's grand slam ambitions. No excuses. Time to deliver!

With so few scrums in the game nowadays, the importance of having a big heavy lump of a man at lock has diminished. The number of mauls also seems to have diminished which favours the faster players in the loose. This will be the first time Baird has started against a big international pack. (Leinster have also tended to favour Molony over him at lock and have played him mostly at 6). At 23 years of age, he has time on his side and this is a huge opportunity for him to move up the pecking order. He would be an ideal man to have on the bench covering 4, 5, and 6 (and even 7 against a huge pack like SA!).

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Mar 16th, 2023 at 08:32:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Poor Marcus Smith looked a bit like a headless chicken against France last weekend, which is unfortunate because he's one of the best things about the England team, when they let him play. Was he set up for a fall?...

It's obvious that Owen Farrell had to start tomorrow against his dad's team (Andy is encouraging his grandchildren to support Ireland!.

But is this Johnny Sexton's swansong?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Mar 17th, 2023 at 04:55:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Jonny hopes to play on until the World Cup, but this is expected to be his last 6N match.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Mar 17th, 2023 at 07:39:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well done 🇮🇪

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Sat Mar 18th, 2023 at 07:21:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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