Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5



  • Not many people might know this, but Ireland has had 4 tours of Australia - 1967, 1979, 1994, 1999. The first two were old-style tours involving matches against club teams as well as one or two test matches against the Wallabies. Both sides have won two tours and lost two. Tour Number 5 begins on 3 June 2018 and it promises to settle a few scores, move the ledger in favour of one, and probably create a few bragging and bagging rights along the way.

    Whilst Ireland's history - home and away - against South Africa and New Zealand is littered with one failure after another in the amateur days, surprisingly their record against Australia is pockmarked with wins at home and on the road, albeit matches were held less frequently in BSE - Baggy Shorts Era. Australia won the first two tests in 1927 and 1947 in Landsdowne Road in Dublin, and then on the Aussie's tour of Britain, Ireland and France in 1958, Ireland got their first test win on the board. And over the next 20 years, the teams met 7 times, with Ireland winning six of them, including the only test in Sydney as part of their 6-game 1967 tour of Australia.

    Ireland's last two away wins in Australia were those in the famous 1979 tour when the Irish team had their most successful winning patch, playing 8 games, including two tests, and lost just once against local club, Sydney.

    Ollie Campbell, Mike Gibson, Terry Kennedy, Paul McNaughton (Greystones), Tony Ward, Willie Duggan, Moss Keane, Fergus Slattery were some of the more well-known names on that tour, with Campbell getting the headlines when he replaced Tony Ward at the starting 10, and helped win the day. Across the two tests, Ireland scored 36 points (when tries were worth 4), Campbell kicked 28 of them bringing his total to 60 points for the tour. He was named player of the tour. Ward, by his own admission in his autobiography, never played as well again and laid blame squarely at the manager and coach’s door for how they handled it. Campbell returned home the hero of the hour by helping to claim the first individual tour victory by a northern team in the Southern Hemisphere. (France had won 8 out of 9 matches but drawn the first test on a tour in 1972.)

    He and the team were cheered to the rafters. Ireland won the Five Nations in 1982, shared it with France in 1983 and won outright again in 1985. And then the curtain came down. And the roof started to fall in.

    Two further 2-test tours against Australia followed in 1994 and 1999 - this time Ireland lost all the test matches. And won only a few mid-week games too - 2 from 8 in 1994 and just 1 in 1999 . Those two tours formed part of probably the lowest period in Irish rugby when Ireland played 11 tests against Australia, 8 vs NZ and 6 vs South Africa between 1980 and 2002 - they lost every test game. Despite their successes in early 1980s, their record in that period against Five/Six Nations opponents was not much better - 3 wins from 24 against France, 7 from 24 vs both England and Scotland, and even losing 3 from 8 against Italy.

    From 2002 onwards, the fortunes of the Irish provinces and test side changed - first under Eddie O'Sullivan, winning tests again against Australia and for the first time against South Africa as well as moving up from being regular wooden spooners in the 90's to competing at the top in the new Six Nations until finally achieving a Grand Slam in 2009 with Declan Kidney.

    Now, it’s the turn of Joe Schmidt to bring the Ireland squad down-under for a three-test series in June. Expectations are high with Ireland’s recent win record against the Wallabies, 3-2 in the last five matches, with two wins at home, and one in NZ at the RWC. Their losses include one in Brisbane 22-15 in June 2010, the last time Wallaby fans saw Ireland on Australian soil. On that day, newcomer, Johnny Sexton, kicked all of Ireland’s 15 points in the first half, going in at the break down 16-15. But the Declan Kidney-coached team, off the back of a 97 point shellacking from the All Blacks and NZ Maori, and down a few key players, couldn’t overtake the Wallabies as Giteau notched another couple of penalties to finish them off.

    Eight years on from Brisbane, both teams are in different places and ranking. Cheika is hoping to fashion a team that can compete and win in the Rugby Championship. He needs a decent scalp on his belt going into that battle. Schmidt has the 6N in his back pocket and a team that is beginning to hum nicely with a mix of old heads and young hearts running a new 12-match streak.

    England, Scotland & Wales have all announced squads with development and player rest on their minds as coaches seek to add depth to their squads for RWC 2019. Irish pundits and fans have been making similar noises querying whether players such as Sexton, Murray, Furlong, Stander should rest up on their summer hols and let the younger Turks get more time and experience. Schmidt has faced this before, through injury rather than choice, when he brought a relatively raw squad to South Africa and gave much needed game time to some new faces including Jackson, Furlong, Henderson, Roux, Stander, and Marmion.

    So should Schmidt now choose to do the same in Oz? He'll want to win the series, but he needs to give more time to the newbies.

    Schmidt issued his touring squad for the Australia tour this week.

    Ireland Squad (Summer Tour 2018, Australia)

    FORWARDS (18)
    Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) Captain 111 caps
    Tadhg Beirne (Scarlets) uncapped
    Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 7 caps
    Sean Cronin (St Mary's College/Leinster) 61 caps
    Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 23 caps
    Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 78 caps
    Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 38 caps
    Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 3 caps
    Dan Leavy (UCD/Leinster) 9 caps
    Jack McGrath (St Mary's College/Leinster) 47 caps
    Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster) 20 caps
    Peter O'Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 47 caps
    Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 7 caps
    Quinn Roux (Galwegians/Connacht) 5 caps
    James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 8 caps
    John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 13 caps
    CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 23 caps
    Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 58 caps

    BACKS (14)
    Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 7 caps
    Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster) uncapped
    Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Leinster) 10 caps
    Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 6 caps
    John Cooney (Terenure College RFC/Ulster) 1 cap
    Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 67 caps
    Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 33 caps
    Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 83 caps
    Jordan Larmour (St Mary's College/Leinster) 3 caps
    Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 21 caps
    Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 64 caps
    Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 13 caps
    Johnny Sexton (St Mary's College/Leinster) 73 caps
    Jacob Stockdale (Ballynahnch/Ulster) 9 caps

    IRELAND SUMMER TOUR 2018 FIXTURES

    Saturday 9th June, 2018
    Australia v IRELAND
    Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, KO 20.05 local (11.05 IRL)

    Saturday 16th June, 2018
    Australia v IRELAND
    AAMI Park, Melbourne, KO 20.05 local (11.05 IRL)

    Saturday 23rd June, 2018
    Australia v IRELAND
    Allianz Park, Sydney KO 20.05 local (11.05 IRL)

    Edit: updated some info since I first posted this for accuracy.



  • Good write up mate. I hadn’t realised what a decent record your boys had v Aus.



  • Great write up

    @pot-hale said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    ... old-style tours involving matches against club teams as well as one or two test matches
    ...
    ... including two tests, and lost just once against local club, Sydney.
    ...

    [Pedant]
    If I may be picky most of the other tour matches would likely be against state based rep teams. Even Sydney would be a rep team (usually indistinguishable with NSW ... very few Country players would make the state team).

    Most places would refer to them as provincial unions. Not sure in Aus as they're based around States.

    Just important to distinguish them from clubs.
    [/Pedant]



  • Across the two tests, Ireland scored 36 points (when tries were worth 4), Campbell kicked 28 of them

    So they scored two tries in two tests? Or did Campbell nab a couple of 4 pointers? Was capable of scoring a try or two.



  • Just to flag the Raeburn Shield will also be on the line in these matches as Ireland are the current holders.

    Could be the route by which the ALL Blacks get it back in the Rugby Championship 😀 (though I think Ireland might be too good in reality)



  • Awesome write up Pot Hale



  • Very good work PH, great to get a perspective from outside the long white cloud.

    The three tours this time are going to be crackers. France are never easy, and are one NH side that don't seem to have a mental block about playing NZ in NZ.

    The SA Eng games could make or break a coach - either way, there is loads riding on it.

    Aus Ire shoudl be cracking tight games. Should be great to watch.



  • @booboo said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    Across the two tests, Ireland scored 36 points (when tries were worth 4), Campbell kicked 28 of them

    So they scored two tries in two tests? Or did Campbell nab a couple of 4 pointers? Was capable of scoring a try or two.

    Pattison, the Irish scrum-half scored two tries in the first test.
    The second test was a tight contest - 9-3 including two droppies from Ollie. Remember watching him and Ward - they were bloody good. Met them at a charity function a year or two ago - very friendly and approachable and willing to have a good natter about the tour and other games. I think I nearly bowed when I was introduced to them.



  • @nzzp said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    Very good work PH, great to get a perspective from outside the long white cloud.

    The three tours this time are going to be crackers. France are never easy, and are one NH side that don't seem to have a mental block about playing NZ in NZ.

    The SA Eng games could make or break a coach - either way, there is loads riding on it.

    Aus Ire shoudl be cracking tight games. Should be great to watch.

    Agreed. When the Tour schedule came out in 2010, these were the ones that I thought were the most balanced and competitive. You’re quite right about the French - they simply don’t seem to buy into the nerves of an NZ tour.
    SA v Eng has lots of matching styles and colonial clashes. Aus v Irl will be a Paddy Love/Hate/Love fest. I’ve loads of mates going down, and am still thinking about it myself (never been).



  • @booboo said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    Great write up

    @pot-hale said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    ... old-style tours involving matches against club teams as well as one or two test matches
    ...
    ... including two tests, and lost just once against local club, Sydney.
    ...

    [Pedant]
    If I may be picky most of the other tour matches would likely be against state based rep teams. Even Sydney would be a rep team (usually indistinguishable with NSW ... very few Country players would make the state team).

    Most places would refer to them as provincial unions. Not sure in Aus as they're based around States.

    Just important to distinguish them from clubs.
    [/Pedant]

    Don’t mind pedantry when I’m wrong, Booboo. Thanks for that, I’ll make sure to correct it for re-posting elsewhere.



  • @pot-hale said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    Don’t mind pedantry when I’m wrong, Booboo. Thanks for that, I’ll make sure to correct it for re-posting elsewhere.

    also drives some weird behaviour. We dno't have 'clubs' or 'clubrooms' per se - just venues that people play in. Strong provincial loyalty, but followign a union has a different feel to following a club.

    Also leads to a more collective ownership model (the provincial unions are owned by the clubs as I understand it), with some revenue flow from NZR



  • I was going to include a tour in 2003 that included a test against Australia and Tonga and Samoa - rather quaintly (and probably inaccurately) titled ‘2003 Ireland Rugby Union Tour of the South Seas’. Ireland were hockeyed 45-16 in Perth, but won convincingly in Apia and Nuku’Alofa with a young fella called O’Gara stepping in for Humphreys.



  • @pot-hale said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    @booboo said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    Across the two tests, Ireland scored 36 points (when tries were worth 4), Campbell kicked 28 of them

    So they scored two tries in two tests? Or did Campbell nab a couple of 4 pointers? Was capable of scoring a try or two.

    Pattison, the Irish scrum-half scored two tries in the first test.
    The second test was a tight contest - 9-3 including two droppies from Ollie. Remember watching him and Ward - they were bloody good. Met them at a charity function a year or two ago - very friendly and approachable and willing to have a good natter about the tour and other games. I think I nearly bowed when I was introduced to them.

    Have been re-watching some old games including the Lions 1983 tour to NZ. By God Campbell was good. He really shone in a losing cause that year. It was great to see his kicking routine, line up the ball, step back, up on tip-toes then bang! Over the bar. Took about a quarter of the time blokes do now.



  • @pot-hale

    If Irish fortunes started to change in 2002 until peaking in 2009, surely the man primarily responsible was the man who was coach for most of that time?

    It certainly looked like it to me at the time.



  • @chester-draws said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    @pot-hale

    If Irish fortunes started to change in 2002 until peaking in 2009, surely the man primarily responsible was the man who was coach for most of that time?

    It certainly looked like it to me at the time.

    Yes. Although, there’s an argument that Gatland started the foundations post RWC Lens 1999 loss to Argentina. Eddie O’Sullivan moved them on in terms of back play but was always the nearly man and it took Kidney to get them over the line in 09.



  • @pot-hale said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    @chester-draws said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    @pot-hale

    If Irish fortunes started to change in 2002 until peaking in 2009, surely the man primarily responsible was the man who was coach for most of that time?

    It certainly looked like it to me at the time.

    Yes.

    No need to flower it all up mate.



  • @catogrande said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    @pot-hale said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    @chester-draws said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    @pot-hale

    If Irish fortunes started to change in 2002 until peaking in 2009, surely the man primarily responsible was the man who was coach for most of that time?

    It certainly looked like it to me at the time.

    Yes.

    No need to flower it all up mate.

    :). I gave in and added more detail.



  • I'm not really suggesting Gatland moved them all the way to the top, because especially then he wasn't too innovative with the backs.

    But he seemed to bring in a harder edge somehow. Instead of running around like fierce headless chooks, the pack started to operate as a pack.

    It's why I think he'd be excellent at the Blues. They don't need finesse at this point.



  • @pot-hale said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    @nzzp said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    Very good work PH, great to get a perspective from outside the long white cloud.

    The three tours this time are going to be crackers. France are never easy, and are one NH side that don't seem to have a mental block about playing NZ in NZ.

    The SA Eng games could make or break a coach - either way, there is loads riding on it.

    Aus Ire shoudl be cracking tight games. Should be great to watch.

    Agreed. When the Tour schedule came out in 2010, these were the ones that I thought were the most balanced and competitive. You’re quite right about the French - they simply don’t seem to buy into the nerves of an NZ tour.
    SA v Eng has lots of matching styles and colonial clashes. Aus v Irl will be a Paddy Love/Hate/Love fest. I’ve loads of mates going down, and am still thinking about it myself (never been).

    Sorry in advance to lads (and maybe factor into your multi's). Last AB's game I went to in NZ was vs France at Carisbrook. We lost from memory.Last two in Aussie I have been to were Abs vs Aussie in syd2015(loss)and suncorp last year.

    Will be in dunedin this year....



  • @chester-draws said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    I'm not really suggesting Gatland moved them all the way to the top, because especially then he wasn't too innovative with the backs.

    But he seemed to bring in a harder edge somehow. Instead of running around like fierce headless chooks, the pack started to operate as a pack.

    It's why I think he'd be excellent at the Blues. They don't need finesse at this point.

    I think I’m confused by your original comment/question about the person in charge between 2002 and 2009 being responsible. Eddie O’Sullivan was coach from 2001-2008.



  • @pot-hale

    Well, that serves me right for checking on my phone that I got the right details. The page on Gatland didn't line the dates up right.

    So, having not used my phone this time, I now have the correct dates.

    I think the turn-around dated from Gatland, not O'Sullivan. I followed his career closely at the time because I was so pissed off with the Chiefs letting him go and keeping Foster.

    By the time Gatland was sacked he got them to inches from winning the 6 Nations. They went from being smashed by the likes of the All Blacks to being a credible threat. There was a huge change, although we tend not to notice it now because results have continued to improve.

    He couldn't get the politics right though.

    Not that it was necessarily just him or O'Sullivan. The other huge contributor was the restructuring of European rugby. Professionalism, like Argentina, allowed the sport to be properly developed. Having Irish provinces in the Heineken Cup was a major benefit, helping to stem the flow overseas. Close attention to contracting, which is easier when your provinces are successful, followed.

    While the coaches are key, back-room stuff is important too.



  • @chester-draws said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    @pot-hale

    Well, that serves me right for checking on my phone that I got the right details. The page on Gatland didn't line the dates up right.

    So, having not used my phone this time, I now have the correct dates.

    I think the turn-around dated from Gatland, not O'Sullivan. I followed his career closely at the time because I was so pissed off with the Chiefs letting him go and keeping Foster.

    By the time Gatland was sacked he got them to inches from winning the 6 Nations. They went from being smashed by the likes of the All Blacks to being a credible threat. There was a huge change, although we tend not to notice it now because results have continued to improve.

    He couldn't get the politics right though.

    Not that it was necessarily just him or O'Sullivan. The other huge contributor was the restructuring of European rugby. Professionalism, like Argentina, allowed the sport to be properly developed. Having Irish provinces in the Heineken Cup was a major benefit, helping to stem the flow overseas. Close attention to contracting, which is easier when your provinces are successful, followed.

    While the coaches are key, back-room stuff is important too.

    Yep back room stuff was very important. The decision by IRFU to enter the provinces into the Celtic League in 2001/02 helped enormously, and brought home a number of players, along with introducing Category A central contracts for a small number of players. O’Sullivan was Gatland’s backs coach and it was his inventive back plays that led to some of the new success that Ireland enjoyed and likely what got him the top job when Gatland got ousted. O’Sullivan and an IRFU guy, Eddie Wigglesworth, came up with the idea of the playing limit times of 25 games max in 2004, and those have been in place ever since. Although going by some UK media stories earlier this year, you’d swear they were only invented last September... 😏



  • @Pot-Hale, and for that matter, any other Irish 'Ferners, will you be making a journey to Aus to support your team?

    The reason I'm asking as myself and a good Irish-Aussie mate are planning on attending the Sydney test at Allianz Stadium on the 23rd of June and would be keen for a pre/post match TFS drink.

    Doesn't have to be on game day either.

    Can't recall Sydney 'Fern gathering for quite some time.

    Cheers



  • @roninwc said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    @Pot-Hale, and for that matter, any other Irish 'Ferners, will you be making a journey to Aus to support your team?

    The reason I'm asking as myself and a good Irish-Aussie mate are planning on attending the Sydney test at Allianz Stadium on the 23rd of June and would be keen for a pre/post match TFS drink.

    Doesn't have to be on game day either.

    Can't recall Sydney 'Fern gathering for quite some time.

    Cheers

    @NTA needs no excuse to escape Western Sydney for a pint



  • 23rd June is a home game for the Renegades. Not sure what is happening post-match but no doubt my wife has detailed (but as-yet unrevealed) plans to fuck the rest of my weekend up with her family's bullshit.



  • Just announced.

    Two further possible new caps - Beirne and Byrne.

    Ireland Squad (Summer Tour 2018, Australia)

    Props
    Tadhg Furlong (Clontarf/Leinster) 23 caps; Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 78 caps; Jack McGrath (St Mary's College/Leinster) 47 caps; Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 7 caps; John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 13 caps

    Hookers
    Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 3 caps; Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster) Captain 111 caps; Sean Cronin (St Mary's College/Leinster) 61 caps

    Locks
    Tadhg Beirne (Scarlets Munster) uncapped; Quinn Roux (Galwegians/Connacht) 5 caps; James Ryan (UCD/Leinster) 8 caps; Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 58 caps

    Backrowers
    Iain Henderson (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 38 caps; Dan Leavy (UCD/Leinster) 9 caps; Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Leinster Ulster) 20 caps; Jack Conan (Old Belvedere/Leinster) 7 caps; Peter O'Mahony (Cork Constitution/Munster) 47 caps; CJ Stander (Shannon/Munster) 23 caps

    No 9
    Kieran Marmion (Corinthians/Connacht) 21 caps; Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster) 64 caps; John Cooney (Terenure College RFC/Ulster) 1 cap

    Out-halves
    Ross Byrne (UCD/Leinster) uncapped; Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Leinster) 10 caps; Johnny Sexton (St Mary's College/Leinster) 73 caps

    Midfielders
    Robbie Henshaw (Buccaneers/Leinster) 33 caps; Bundee Aki (Galwegians/Connacht) 7 caps; Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 13 caps

    Back three
    Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster) 67 caps; Jordan Larmour (St Mary's College/Leinster) 3 caps; Jacob Stockdale (Ballynahnch/Ulster) 9 caps; Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 6 caps; Rob Kearney (UCD/Leinster) 83 caps

    FIXTURES
    Saturday 9th June, 2018
    Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, KO 20.05 local (11.05 IRL)
    Saturday 16th June, 2018
    AAMI Park, Melbourne, KO 20.05 local (11.05 IRL)
    Saturday 23rd June, 2018
    Allianz Park, Sydney KO 20.05 local (11.05 IRL)



  • @pot-hale said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    Beirne and Byrne.

    Are Beirne and Byrne pronounced differently?

    Second question, what is the IRFU's policy on overseas players? Picking a guy from Scarlets, is he returning to an Irish province next year?



  • @rapido said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    @pot-hale said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    Beirne and Byrne.

    Are Beirne and Byrne pronounced differently?

    Second question, what is the IRFU's policy on overseas players? Picking a guy from Scarlets, is he returning to an Irish province next year?

    Nope - Byrne, Beirne, Burn all sound like Burn. There's actually 4 Byrnes in Leinster and when they play together it makes fun listening to see if the commentator gets Byrne bingo. They managed it once last season when one Byrne brother passed to another (hooker and prop) who passed to Ross Byrne at 10 who made a cross field which was caught by Adam Byrne to score.

    Tadgh Beirne was a Leinster player, got a long-term injury, contract not renewed and decided to try his luck with Scarlets. It worked and Munster persuaded him to come back for next season. He becomes a Munster player next Monday - after the final.



  • How much does Joe love thee, Webb Ellis Cup? Let me count the ways. 5 full-backs, 11 wingers, 10 midfielders, 6 out-halves, 5 scrum-halves, 3 loose-heads, 7 hookers, 5 tight-heads, 9 locks and 11 back-rowers. 72 and counting. That’s the number of players that Joe Schmidt has selected - for trial and on experience - since the start of the 2016 Six Nations right up this week’s announcement of the 32-man Ireland Tour Squad for Australia.

    If ever the phrase, ‘never die wondering’, matched a man’s purpose, Joe Schmidt is your guy. His Oz squad has 2 more uncapped players for use during the month of June. It’s been a twisting, turning road at times as his unending search for talent has looked at every player available to him within the Irish system and playing in Ireland, capping over 30 players in the last two seasons. In comparison, Michael Cheika has blooded 20 new players in the test arena since Australia finished runners-up at the 2015 World Cup.

    So let’s put the spotlight on his young bloods - the players whose names may not be so familiar to Southern fans, but who could likely be running out on Aussie tracks next month to prepare them better for Japan next year. All of them are 26 or younger. I’ll included links to video clips, where available (made by others so apologies in advance for any unwelcome music, over-exuberant editing, etc)

    Rob Kearney (83 caps) at full-back is having a new lease of life this season and is now the Irish player with most honours, including 4 Six Nations titles (2 Grand Slams), 3 PRO 12 titles, and 4 European Cup medals. Sitting on the bench to replace him at some point might be Schmidt’s most recent cap selection, hot-stepper, 20-year old, Jordan Larmour - young, raw and exciting to watch, he’ll get a lot of learning on his first tour - even if he doesn’t play much of a part.

    Alternatively, Munster’s Andrew Conway (6 caps) is a calm presence at the back, yet spiky and aggressive in defence, with an unexpected shift of speed on the wing that keeps him scoring tries, particularly this one for Munster to defeat Toulon in the European Cup

    .



  • Winger, 67 cap Keith Earls, was named Ireland Player’s Player of the Season with his pace as good as ever, and his save-the-day tackling during the Six Nations.

    He’ll likely be playing with try-wunderkind, Jacob Stockdale, a 22-year old who broke into the Ireland team last November and hasn’t stopped scoring since - 11 tries in his 9 caps setting a new 6 Nations try-record along the way in the Grand Slam finale against England in Twickenham. He’s big, he’s fast, nimble, an eye for an intercept, and pretty handy in midfield or at 15 if it’s required.



  • Wallabies named. Almost zero experience at hooker. Apparently Samu may be added when/if NZRU allow.

    WALLABIES SQUAD

    Hookers: Folau Fainga’a, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Jordan Uelese

    Props: Sekope Kepu, Tom Robertson, Scott Sio, Taniela Tupou, Allan Alaalatoa

    Locks: Izack Rodda, Adam Coleman, Rob Simmons, Rory Arnold

    Backrowers: Michael Hooper (c), David Pocock, Caleb Timu, Lukhan Tui, Ned Hanigan

    Halfbacks: Will Genia, Nick Phipps, Joe Powell

    Five-eighths: Bernard Foley

    Centres: Kurtley Beale, Samu Kerevi, Tevita Kuridrani, Curtis Rona

    Outside backs: Israel Folau, Tom Banks, Dane Haylett-Petty, Reece Hodge, Jack Maddocks, Marika Koroibete, Sefa Naivalu



  • Wallabies squad:

    Forwards

    Allan Alaalatoa (23 Tests, Brumbies, 24)
    Rory Arnold (15 Tests, Brumbies, 27)
    Adam Coleman (20 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)
    Folau Fainga’a* (uncapped, Brumbies, 23)
    Ned Hanigan (12 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 23)
    Michael Hooper (c) (79 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 26)
    Sekope Kepu (91 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 32)
    Brandon Paenga-Amosa* (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 22)
    David Pocock (66 Tests, Brumbies, 30)
    Tom Robertson (18 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 23)
    Rob Simmons (82 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)
    Scott Sio (43 Tests, Brumbies, 26)
    Izack Rodda (4 Tests, Queensland Reds, 21)
    Caleb Timu* (uncapped, Queensland Reds, 24)
    Lukhan Tui (4 Tests, Queensland Reds, 21)
    Taniela Tupou (1 Test, Queensland Reds, 22)
    Jordan Uelese (2 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 21)

    Backs

    Tom Banks* (uncapped, Brumbies, 23)
    Kurtley Beale (71 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)
    Israel Folau (62 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)
    Bernard Foley (vc) (55, NSW Waratahs, 28)
    Will Genia (vc) (88 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 30)
    Dane Haylett-Petty (18 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 28)
    Reece Hodge (24, Melbourne Rebels, 23)
    Samu Kerevi (18 Tests, Queensland Reds, 24)
    Marika Koroibete (8 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 25)
    Tevita Kuridrani (58 Tests, Brumbies, 27)
    Jack Maddocks* (uncapped, Melbourne Rebels, 21)
    Sefanaia Naivalu (7 Tests, Melbourne Rebels, 26)
    Nick Phipps (61 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 29)
    Joe Powell (3 Tests, Brumbies, 24)
    Curtis Rona (3 Tests, NSW Waratahs, 26)

    *denotes uncapped player

    Samu still in limbo as Cheika names June Series squad

    Crusaders backrower Pete Samu has not been named in Michael Cheika's June Series squad, but still remains a chance of playing for the Wallabies this season.
    
    Samu signed a two-year deal with the Brumbies this week, making the Melbourne-born forward eligible for the Wallabies, pending a release from New Zealand Rugby, due to his Super Rugby contract obligations.
    
    It's a decision NZR said on Tuesday they were still mulling over and on Wednesday night, when Cheika named his squad, he said he couldn't pick Samu, but the backrower had a spot in the squad should he be released.
    
    There is no deadline for NZR to approve Rugby Australia's request to release Samu for June, leaving both he and the Wallabies in limbo, though Cheika said he hoped there would be more clarity on the decision on Thursday.
    
    "I've been told I can't select him but there is a spot for him there," Cheika said.
    
    "At this point, the decision's in other hands. I'm not really involved in that part of it but I'm hoping that there'll be some more clarity about that tomorrow."
    
    Should that clearance not come, Lukhan Tui is likely to don the no. 6 in the first Test, with first-choice blindside Ned Hanigan not expected to be back from a knee injury until the second Test.
    
    Uncapped Caleb Timu is another option to fill the back row alongside David Pocock and Michael Hooper, but he would most likely slot in at eight.
    
    Reds backrower Timu is one of five uncapped players in the squad, with perhaps Brumbies fullback Tom Banks the biggest surprise of the potential debutants in the group named for the June Series.
    
    Banks had two of his best games in the side's recent South Africa tour, scoring the game-turner against the Bulls in Pretoria last weekend.
    
    Rebels rising star Jack Maddocks is another new face in the backs, confirming his widely-expected inclusion in the squad, after a sensational start to the season in Melbourne.
    
    The wing spots were among the most-hotly contested, with Maddocks and Banks beating out seasoned winger Henry Speight as well as Queensland's Izaia Perese, who was on the verge of a Test debut in 2017, and giant Waratahs winger Taqele Naiyaravoro.
    

    etc etc



  • Glad to see the back of Speight. Defensive liability.



  • Should be interesting to see how Tupou goes. I gather his scrummaging is at a competent level now.



  • @nta haven't watched a lot of super rugby this year, but from previous I'd expect Arnold and Coleman to be a bloody good, abrasive locking pair. Is that a decent start to a competitive tight five?



  • @nzzp Rodda has also been playing well and offers a bit now around the field than Arnold IMHO.



  • @nta You seem to churn out decent locks on a regular basis.

    Where do you see the strengths and weaknesses in the forwards? From outside, I don't know the front row form, and the backrow with Pocock and Hooper can be unbalanced (white dwarves can't jump or carry)



  • this could be an absolute blood bath. That is a very fucking ordinary looking Australian squad.



  • These mid-season tests are hard to predict.

    On the one hand you could argue it's a Wallaby team thrown together with a week to prepare against a settled Irish side that is at the end of a successful season. In that case, you'd say 3-0 Ireland should be the outcome.

    But then again you could suggest Ireland have played a lot of rugby this year, and will be playing on tired legs. With a World Cup around the corner they may look to blood new players. They are facing a Wallabies side at home who have plenty to prove after last year, and may just want it more.

    I don't think our team is that bad, and our tight 5 and 9-10-12 look like they will trouble the Paddies. But we've got big holes at 6 and 13, and will be fielding a few new faces.

    I'd tip 2-1 Ireland but all results are in play IMO.



  • @barbarian said in Paddy on Tour Down Under - Number 5:

    These mid-season tests are hard to predict.

    On the one hand you could argue it's a Wallaby team thrown together with a week to prepare against a settled Irish side that is at the end of a successful season. In that case, you'd say 3-0 Ireland should be the outcome.

    But then again you could suggest Ireland have played a lot of rugby this year, and will be playing on tired legs. With a World Cup around the corner they may look to blood new players. They are facing a Wallabies side at home who have plenty to prove after last year, and may just want it more.

    I don't think our team is that bad, and our tight 5 and 9-10-12 look like they will trouble the Paddies. But we've got big holes at 6 and 13, and will be fielding a few new faces.

    I'd tip 2-1 Ireland but all results are in play IMO.

    Ireland/IRFU do manage their workloads though. They'll be good.


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