Andy gets a wee run out alongside Paddy this weekend. Picture by rugbypicture.co.uk

Ireland have announced, what would largely be regarded as, an makeshift side for their first match on the road to World Cup glory.

The team to face the Scots at Murrayfield on Saturday afternoon (KO 2:15) sees three Ulster players start with Trimble and Wallace getting the nod in an experimental backline and Court in the front row where he should expect an easy ride alongside scrummaging giants Cronin and Buckley! (God help him – well at least someone help him!)

The match probably only has any real relevance for Wallace, McFadden, O’Leary and Kearney, plus Boss and Jones should they get on, as they all still have something real to prove, fitness wise or competitively, if they are to be on the plane at the end of the month.

These are always difficult games to call and in fairness they are difficult games to select for. While it may be highly unlikely that Ryan, McCartney or Ronan are going to be travelling, a lot of this game will depend on how they perform against their opposite numbers, particularly the guys in the back row where the Scots have a huge advantage, probably enough of an edge to give Scotland the advantage in this one.

But I still find it very difficult to call as there are way too many variables under the circumstances. Scotland only have two warm up games and are already looking to protect their meagre resources, just how hard they’ll go at it I don’t know.

Ireland on the other hand are extremely rusty, have not put out a team so bereft of “the golden generation” since the last World Cup warm ups, add the pit of the stomach feeling that the injury situation is worse than is being let on and a couple of long-term crocks are making their competitive comeback and it’s really anyones guess as to what sort of match we’ll see.

Let’s hope it’s a least entertaining. It would be a disappointing start to the World Cup build up if it was an overanxious, error laden, snatchy, scratchy bore fest, though I think it just might be!

At the end of the day I’ll go with my gut instinct – Scotland by 7.

Scotland   Ireland
C Paterson (Edinburgh) 15 Rob Kearney (Leinster)
N Walker (Ospreys) 14 Andrew Trimble (Ulster)
J Ansbro (London Irish) 13 Fergus McFadden (Leinster)
G Morrison (Glasgow Warriors) 12 Paddy Wallace (Ulster)
S Lamont (Scarlets) 11 Luke Fitzgerald (Leinster)
R Jackson (Glasgow Warriors) 10 Jonathan Sexton (Leinster)
R Lawson (Gloucester) 9 Tomas O’Leary (Munster)
A Jacobsen (Edinburgh) 1 Tom Court (Ulster)
R Ford (Edinburgh) 2 Sean Cronin (Leinster)
G Cross (Edinburgh) 3 Tony Buckley (Sale)
J Hamilton (Gloucester) 4 Donnacha Ryan (Munster)
R Gray (Glasgow Warriors) 5 Leo Cullen (Leinster)
A Strokosch (Gloucester) 6 Mike McCarthy (Connacht)
J Beattie (Glasgow Warriors) 7 Niall Ronan (Munster)
R Rennie (Edinburgh) 8 Denis Leamy (Munster)
     
D Hall (Glasgow Warriors) 16 Jerry Flannery (Munster)
A Dickinson (Sale Sharks) 17 Marcus Horan (Munster)
A Kellock (Glasgow Warriors) 18 John Hayes (Munster)
D Denton (Edinburgh) 19 Mick O’Driscoll (Munster)
G Laidlaw (Edinburgh) 20 Kevin McLaughlin (Leinster)
N De Luca (Edinburgh) 21 Isaac Boss (Leinster)
J Cuthbert (Bath) 22 Felix Jones (Munster)

3 Comments

  1. I think Ryan has a much better chance of going than some provided he can prove his ability to function in the lineout . This being the first of four games Kidney was never going to select his first choice side on mass ,The games against France and England may see those players get an outing while the game against Connaught could see most of the final 30 get a half .

    The Irish backrow on this occasion looks so deprived of first choice players it would appear as if Kidney wants to find out if those on view have suficient pace to play at International level.
    I haven’t seen enough of McCarty to form an opinion but Leamy Ronan and McLauglin I fear may not be pacey enoung for International Rugby to play against the likes of Australia .

    They perform well at pro 12 level but fear not many sides in the League play with the same pace as the Australian half backs and backs.

    How good Australia are may become evident tomorrow but their ability was never tested by a slow Boks team leaking in the centre and in my opinion the Irish back row to-morrow resembles that of South Africa — big strong but three yards behind the play.

  2. That’s a pretty strong Scottish team. I think losing by 7 may be an optimistic forecast, John.
    Rocky.

    • Ended up less than 7 in the end Rocky but Scotland should have been out of site in the first half!