The teams for tomorrows Ireland v Italy RBS Six Nations match were announced yesterday. The game kicks off at the Aviva Stadium at 1:30pm with live coverage on ITV/RTE2.
While the U20’s and Women’s sides have shown some progress, in style of play and personnel used, this season the “flag ship” outfit seems to be going backwards with Joe Schmidt delivering another rather uninspiring selection.
Now, I know Schmidt takes a great deal of interest in the Women’s side and the U20’s and has been very encouraging in, well, encouraging them to open up so you have to wonder why he remains so reserved when it comes to the men? Jeez when you think of the great Leinster sides that hammered Ulster regularly in recent seasons you have to wonder what’s happened!
To me the issue seems to be the fear of losing, as Ireland appear to be concentrating more on defence rather than attack. Payne cited for his defensive organisation in the centre rather than his attacking prowess from full back is conservatism gone mad. Ireland’s current strategy would be fine if we had a big pack that could cause some damage behind the gain line and take advantage of Ireland’s positional tactics but with all modern defences well drilled and generally equally effective Ireland need to find that something extra to break opponents down other than brute force.
Having said that, brute force will probably be enough against this set of Italians but with Ireland without a win in their games against the championship contenders I fail to see what Ireland stand to gain from this match with such a conservative selection. No doubt the eventists will enjoy their day out at the Aviva as they celebrate an Ireland win but the long standing supporter should be feeling a touch disgruntled!
Anyway, welcome back Jared Payne, please stay injury free over the next two weeks!
|Simon Zebo||15||David Odiete|
|Andrew Trimble||14||Leonardo Sarto|
|Jared Payne||13||Michele Campagnaro|
|Robbie Henshaw||12||Gonzalo Garcia|
|Keith Earls||11||Mattia Bellini|
|Jonathan Sexton||10||Edoardo Padovani|
|Conor Murray||9||Guglielmo Palazzani|
|Jack McGrath||1||Andrea lovotti|
|Rory Best||2||David Giazzon|
|Mike Ross||3||Lorenzo Cittadini|
|Donnacha Ryan||4||George Biagi|
|Devin Toner||5||Marco Fuser|
|CJ Stander||6||Francesco Minto|
|Josh van der Flyer||7||Alessandro Zanni|
|Jamie Heaslip||8||Sergio Parisse|
|Sean Cronin||16||Oliviero Fabiani|
|Cian Heal||17||Matteo Zanusso|
|Nathan White||18||Dano Christolini|
|Ultan Dillane||19||Quintin Geldenhuys|
|Rhys Ruddock||20||Braam Steyn|
|Kieran Marmion||21||Alberto Lucchese|
|Ian Madigan||22||Kelly Haimona|
|Fergus McFadden||23||Luke McLean|