Having taken time now to read and review the squad I still find it difficult to get myself overly excited about this one which is really more of the same from Joe Schmidt.
As with the Under 20’s, its a Leinster Rich side, the boys from HQ accounting for 41% of the squad, Munster being the losers on this occasion with a paltry 15%.
The biggest surprise to me is that the leading try scorers in the PRO12, Craig Gilroy and Matt Healy, don’t make the trip and I can’t think of another country that would so blatantly disregard form players, offering them no meaningful opportunity to develop at international level. We are not going to learn any thing new about Fitzgerald, Dave Kearny, Earls or Trimble on this trip and we certainly don’t have a pack to slug it out with the South Africans so leaving behind the two form fliers is myopic at best.
The only non-capped players are project players Quinn Roux and Sean Reidy, both who have good seasons at their provinces. However, barring injury to others, I can’t see Schmidt using them for more than twenty minutes over the three games as we all know they are making the trip to get that one minute on the pitch that ties them to Ireland.
The only player genuinely being developed on this trip is Stuart Olding who I suspect is being groomed to be the “new” Ian Madigan, covering out-half, centre and fullback. Cue years of frustration for the Ulster youngster!
So disappointing, I suspect it will be a 3 – 0 series win for the South Africans.
|Forwards (18)||Backs (14)|
|Finlay Bealham||Keith Earls|
|Rory Best||Luke Fitzgerald|
|Sean Cronin||Robbie Henderson|
|Ultan Dillane||Paddy Jackson|
|Tadhg Furlong||Dave Kearney|
|Jamie Heaslip||Rob Kearney|
|Iain Henderson||Kieran Marmion|
|Dave Kilcoyne||Luke Marshall|
|Jack McGrath||Conor Murray|
|Jordi Murphy||Stuart Olding|
|Sean Reidy*||Jared Payne|
|Mike Ross||Eoin Reddan|
|Rhys Ruddock||Jonathan Sexton|
|Quinn Roux*||Andrew Trimble|
|Devin Toner||* Denotes uncapped player.|
|Sat 11 June||16:00||South Africa||v||Ireland||Newlands Stadium|
|Sat 18 June||16:00||South Africa||v||Ireland||Emirates Airline Park|
|Sat 25 June||16:00||South Africa||v||Ireland||Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium|