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A great result for Irish Rugby: Ireland 19 South Africa 16

by Frank Schnittger Mon Nov 7th, 2022 at 10:17:39 AM EST

This was another outstanding performance by the Irish team beating the World Champions and justifying their World No. 1 ranking. It was a tough grinding encounter with a lot of injuries and with the Springboks seeking to make their superior size and bulk up front tell. But Ireland never flinched from the collisions usually double jobbing with one tackler going low and another seeking to stop the momentum or target the ball.

South Africa's kicking game wasn't up to their usual standard both from hand and tee and their half backs didn't really control the game very well despite edging the possession and territory statistics. Ireland also managed a few line breaks and were unfortunate not to score a try through Sheehan following up his own charge down.

McCloskey had to go off injured early which meant we were down to our fourth choice 12 with Henshaw and Aki also unavailable. He was soon followed by Murray and Furlong which meant our bench was really going to be tested.

Kolbe was fortunate to avoid a red for driving Hansen's head into the ground, but Ireland couldn't capitalise on his 10 minute absence and the 6-6 half time score line left things finely balanced. South Africa never lose when ahead at half time, so we looked to be in for a nail biting finish.

Soon after half time Sexton went for the corner with a penalty and VD Flier managed to touch down just as the maul was being driven into touch. He really has had a miraculous 12 months. O'Brien was having a great debut spinning past multiple would be tacklers and then providing the scoring pass for Hansen. Ireland were now playing most of the rugby and built up a ten point lead.

However South Africa came back, as you knew they would, and scored a good try with Mostart reaching for the line. Incredibly, Kolbe's easy conversion hit a post and Ireland still have a five point lead. Sexton missed both touchline conversions but didn't funk going for goal with another touchline penalty. He nails it and gives Ireland a crucial 8 point two score cushion.

On come South Africa again, and eventually score a fine try out wide by Arendse. But South Africa rarely have to chase a game and cannot now deploy their usual time wasting tactics. It's Ireland who managed to run down the clock with Sexton's penalty providing the crucial margin of victory.

Normally it is the Springboks famed bomb squad who see out the game but this time Ireland's bench did us proud. O'Brien had an excellent debut and Gibson Park provided crucial tempo and penetration when he came on. The reserve front row held up well and Treadwell and Conan kept the pack in the game. Ireland's scrum and maul defence was critical throughout the game.

VD Flier got MOTM but everyone in the team played their part in what was a supreme team effort. I thought Ringrose had a particularly fine game at 13 and then at 12. Ryan and Beirne also did much to counteract the Springbok physicality. I would have liked to have seen Baloucoune get involved more but he did the basics of his job well. You wouldn't have known it was Keenan's first game of the season.

It was far from a perfect performance and Farrell will have plenty to work on. But South Africa need to broaden their tactical options when plan A isn't working, and they have to chase a game. There's not much point in relying on a kicking game when you don't have a decent kicker. In the end the Springboks probably missed Pollard more than we missed Henshaw and Aki. The World Cup is going to be a whole new ball game, but for the moment, Ireland remain on top of the world.

Next up, Fiji come calling, having just lost to Scotland. I would give all 15 starters from this game a rest and start our bench players combined with our "A" team starters. They have much to atone for after their performance against the All Black selection, and what better way than to give them a second chance against Fiji.

Cross posted from Slugger O'Toole and from the Irish Rugby Fan Forum.

Politics shouldn't be all time consuming and extremely nice to hear from the Green squad.

Of Monsters and Men

In 2017 ...

'England on a pedestal just can't seem to help themselves. They get drawn to hubris like sailors on shore leave so distracted by a lifted hem they forget what time their ship is sailing. It seems a lack of adult self-awareness through which they might recognise this is a story that keeps repeating itself.'

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon Nov 7th, 2022 at 11:11:16 AM EST
And I'm so sorry to have missed yesterday's game :

England 29 - 30 Argentina
That is a historic result, Argentina is definitely among the big nations these days.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 7th, 2022 at 11:37:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I watched the big three matches on Saturday, and for my money, the quality got better with each match :

Wales 23 - 55 New Zealand :

I remember the 1960s where there was some suspense as to the outcome. But over the last 50-odd years, not so much. The current All Blacks are rather laborious, but the talent pool in Wales is not what it was in the glory days.

Ireland 19 - 16 South Africa :
What Frank said. A much more handsome game to watch, though still too forward-dominated for my taste. But I agree that both of these teams are currently better than the (my) All Blacks.

France 30 - 29 Australia :
The Aussies are hot at the moment, at the end of the Southern Hemisphere season. And nearly surprised France, who hadn't played together for six months before this game. But they are on an even hotter streak, this is their 9th win on the trot, and for my money they are the most complete team on the planet. A really mean pack, and backs that can create something out of nothing. The last-minute try was a thing of beauty, Danty, Jalibert and Penaud were the stars. The glamour twins, Dupont and Ntamack, didn't have their best match, but they will click...

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

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 7th, 2022 at 11:34:59 AM EST
To get legal access to the first two matches, I was obliged to subscribe to a sports channel for the month. Once the Autumn Internationals season is over (Ireland-Australia on the 19th will be a VERY interesting match) the round-football international event will have kicked off in Dubai.

I had intended to boycott this event, but as it happens, I get all the matches with the subscription I took for the rugby.

I have noticed in the past that the most entertaining football takes place in the group phases of the World Cup, the knockout matches are generally pretty constipated, percentage affairs. So I may watch a few exotic pairings.

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

by eurogreen on Mon Nov 7th, 2022 at 11:43:17 AM EST
Dubai is Sunni Salafisme, Qatar is Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar offered a higher fee to get the games. I aim to boycott watching FWIW

Saudi Arabia dug a canal to be separated from such evil. 😂

'Sapere aude'

by Oui (Oui) on Mon Nov 7th, 2022 at 11:55:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I, too, have given up on soccer, and won't be watching world cup. It's just a very corrupt big money business event. I hope rugby doesn't end up that way.

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 7th, 2022 at 12:23:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My bad.
But it gets worse : the company I paid to watch the rugby... is qatari. That's a FAIL on the boycott before it even began.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue Nov 8th, 2022 at 08:18:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Boycotts are hard when six people own everything.
by rifek on Tue Nov 8th, 2022 at 03:49:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]

The main reason Ireland have failed in previous world cups is that we have simply not had sufficient strength and experience in depth to win when key players are injured. The really successful teams rotate their team during world cups to ensure their key players don't become fatigued or over exposed to injury. Farrell has recognised this problem by arranging two matches against the Maori in New Zealand, three matches for Emerging Ireland in South Africa, and matches against an All Black selection last week and for Munster against a Springbok selection on Thursday night.

Farrell now has a triple challenge going into this week. First, he must ensure that the heroes who defeated South Africa in a very bruising encounter are adequately rested and recovered for the next big test against an Australian side who beat Scotland and were unlucky to lose 30-29 against France last Saturday. Second, he must put out a side capable of beating a Fiji side who only narrowly lost to Scotland last Saturday. Third, he must respect South Africa and a 41,000 sell-out crowd at Pairc U Caoimh on Thursday by enabling Munster to field as strong a team as possible.

This is going to test Irish professional rugby resources to the limit but is precisely the sort of test we need to prepare for the world cup. I suggest he can do so by fielding an almost entirely new XV against Fiji and releasing 10 of Munster's 14 man contingent in the national squad to play against South Africa. Only Beirne, O'Mahoney, Loughman and Carbury should be retained by the national squad to recover or to play against Fiji. This would result in Ireland and Munster teams against Fiji and South Africa looking something like as follows:

Ireland Versus Fiji; Munster versus South Africa

    Healy, sub Loughman, 1. Kilcoyne, sub Wycherley
    Herring, sub Heffernan, 2. Barron, sub Scannell
    O'Toole, sub Moore; 3. Ryan, sub Salanoa
    Treadwell, sub Thornbury; 4. Kleyn
    Baird; 5. Edogbo sub O'Conner
    Prendergast; 6. O'Donoghue
    Timoney; 7. Kendellen sub Hodnett
    Conan, sub Deegan; 8. Coombes
    Blade, Sub Gibson Park; 9. Casey, sub Patterson
    Carbury; 10. Crowley, sub Healy
    Stockdale; 11. Zebo
    Frawley; 12. Scannell sub Goggin
    Hume, sub Osborne; 13. Daly
    Baloucoune; 14. Nash
    Lowry, Sub O'Brien; 15. Haley

International squad members rested/Injured: Porter, Sheehy, Furlong, Bealham, Ryan, Beirne, McCarthy, Ahern, O'Mahony, Van der Flier, Doris, Murray, Sexton, Henshaw, McCloskey, Hansen, Keenan

Not considered: Fekitoa (With Tonga squad), Aki (suspended), Henderson (injured).

Sure, there is a possibility that that Ireland team could lose to Fiji and their number 1 world ranking. Is that the end of the world? It is more important that we build depth and experience for the world cup.

This Munster team will at least be able to give South Africa a good match, give valuable exposure to top class rugby to more emerging players, and give 41,000 spectators good value for money. The main problem is Munster's injury crisis at lock. If Kleyn is unfit, Munster should consider "borrowing" a lock from another province for the match. Throwing in two academy locks into the deep end against South Africa is not a good idea. (Perhaps Scottish short-term signing McDonald, can fulfil that role).

Penny is available if another backrow is required, and Baloucoune would benefit from the experience of another match at international level. He needs to learn from Hansen's example and involve himself more in the game. Our starting XV (plus Bealham) will we rested, locked and loaded when Australia come to town on Saturday week. We will find out (if necessary, the hard way) who is, and who is not ready for international rugby. O'Brien proved himself against South Africa. What more gems can we unearth?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 7th, 2022 at 12:46:58 PM EST
I don't follow Irish rugby politics... but I note that there are no Irish professionals playing in the French championship, and I suppose they have one of those rules (like the All Blacks, and England I think) where you're only eligible for selection if you play professionally for a "home" side? i.e. an Irish province?

Because I, for one, would love to see some. And it would advance the game for the national team... the provinces get to pay against other European sides, but playing WITH them is another story. We have plenty of Pacific Islanders, South Africans, even a few Kiwis, and one solitary Scott (Finn Russell, who's not having a great start to his season but I'm sure he'll be OK)

It's good to have Ronan O'Gara runneeing La Rochelle (and he's great at winding up rival coaches). I want more Irish in French rugby.

And conversely, are foreigners allowed to play for Irish provinces? You mentioned a Scott...

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

by eurogreen on Tue Nov 8th, 2022 at 03:19:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are quite a few Irish rugby players and coaches working in France. Generally they are second tier players or ex-internationals who can secure a more lucrative contract in France. Having only 4 Professional sides, there are effectively only 180-240 jobs for professional rugby players in Ireland (the larger figure includes academy players who are paid basic contracts  c. 24K, I think).

When they can't source a good enough Irish qualified player for a particular specialist position, the Irish provinces are allowed by the IRFU to recruit a very few non-Irish qualified players from abroad - generally in the range 2-5 players per province. However it is the international team which is the primary income earner for the IRFU and so their focus is understandably on developing Irish talent for the international team.

The residency requirement for a  non-Irish qualified player to become Irish qualified was recently increased from 3 to 5 years - which is half a professional career - and has also made it much less attractive to recruit foreign players. Many players recruited from abroad have "an Irish granny" which makes them eligible to play for Ireland.

The Irish provinces all run an extensive academy system which has been good at developing a pipeline of new talent - in stark contrast to the English commercial professional club model which is focused on cutting short term costs and more reliant on talent emerging elsewhere. The reason Ireland is now ranked #1 in the world is because the IRFU and the provinces have been well run - and on a much smaller budget than the English and French unions and clubs.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 8th, 2022 at 07:32:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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