Ireland and Wales have named their teams for tomorrows 7th place play off which takes place at Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso. KO 11:00am.
Banbridge’s Jonathan Murphy is called into the squad as a replacement for Ireland’s captain Niall Annett, who was literally out on his feet after the South African semi final, and Leinster’s back rower Jordi Murphy steps up to take the armband.
Andrew Conway, who is one try away from equalling the competition’s top try-scoring record of 10, moves to full-back with a rejuvenated Craig Gilroy returning to the back-three. Tiernan O’Halloran is the player to make way after an exhausting game against the Boks.
After an impressive debut Alex Kelly and the 18-year-old JJ Hanrahan will form the centre partnership with Luke Marshall and Brendan Macken making way. James McKinney slotting in at out-half for Patrick Jackson and Kieran Marmion continues at scrum half.
In the forwards, Tadhg Furlong completes an impressive series in the front row and is joined by Finlay Bealham who showed great promise when he made his first appearance against South Africa. The versatile David Doyle, who started at openside flanker against South Africa last time out makes up the rest of the front row at hooker.
Daniel Qualter will start in the second row with the in-form Iain Henderson, perhaps the Irish “find” of the tournament, while Shane Buckley and Aaron Conneely are restored to the back row.
Speaking ahead of the game, Ruddock said:
We looked fatigued last time out against South Africa and so I have made a number of changes for our fifth game of this tournament. Another short turnaround see us fighting it out for seventh spot with Wales.
There was nothing between the two teams in the Six Nations earlier this season and both teams will be keen to end the tournament with a win.
While Ireland fell off a few tackles during the game against South Africa it has to be noted that they came up against a Bok side that hit a purple patch in the opening twenty with every bounce of the ball going their way. A lot of sides would have struggled to stay with the Bok’s on that sort of form and Ireland did well to stage some sort of revival in the second half.
The match against Wales is a difficult one to predict but having had a chance to watch Wales against Fiji I would have to say that it lacked a bit of the intensity of the Ireland – Bok’s game. Granted it was played earlier, in the stifling heat of early evening, but even taking that into consideration it did seem to lack the same edge, so if Ireland can keep up the intensity they have displayed over the last four games they should come out on top.
With the game to be played at 12:00 noon, in the full glare of the Italian sun, whether either team will be able to sustain any level of intensity, with temperatures in excess of 35 deg C, may be a moot point and having got all but one of my predictions wrong this series I’m a little wary about going for Ireland yet again. However, this group of players deserves better than an eighth place finish and I reckon they’ll have enough to take this one.
|Rhodri Jones||1||Finlay Bealham|
|Kirby Myhill||2||David Doyle|
|Will Taylor||3||Tadhg Furlong|
|Macauley Cook (C)||4||Daniel Qualter|
|Lloyd Peers||5||Iain Henderson|
|Luke Hamilton||6||Shane Buckley|
|Thomas Young||7||Aaron Conneely|
|Ben Thomas||8||Jordi Murphy (C)|
|Jonathan Evans||9||Kieran Marmion|
|Matthew Morgan||10||James McKinney|
|Ross Jones||11||Andrew Boyle|
|Lewis Robling||12||JJ Hanrahan|
|Iolo Evans||13||Alex Kelly|
|Liam Williams||14||Craig Gilroy|
|Steve Shingler||15||Andrew Conway|
|Jamie Sollis||16||Jonathan Murphy|
|WillGriff John||17||James Tracy|
|Cory Hill||18||Michael Kearney|
|Owen Sheppeard||19||Eoin McKeon|
|Lewis Jones||20||Peter Du Toit|
|Rheon James||21||Paddy Jackson|
|Dale Ford||22||Brendan Macken|