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A Blind Mouse
Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 3:51 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 Sep 2012 Posts: 123
Daithi wrote:


On the whole, I find a few of the picks questionable ... the bolter Maitland ... but then he's the obligatory "bolter" and its good that there's still room for one, although a few others may feel a little hard done by. In terms of ensuring some Scottish representation - and his performances in the Six Nations - the decision is more than justifiable.


I can see the logic in bringing a Scot, but I really think Tim Visser would have been the first name on most people's list. I genuinely think that Gatland didn't like his 'silky' skills and went for the bigger, bludgeoning type winger - that he also favours with North and Cuthbert.

Daithi wrote:

Richie Gray, on the other hand ... two seasons ago, no question. But not this year. He's just not performed. Complications with the availability of Top 14 players here or there, I don't think he's outperformed NATHAN HINES, Jim Hamilton or Alastair Kellock (all possible Scottish alternatives).

I'm certain that Hines has retired completely from international rugby - it doesn't necessarily mean he wouldn't play Lions rugby, but I think he effectively ruled himself out of the trip. Of the other two, I thought Hamilton the more likely to get the nod, but he's aging and pretty workmanlike. Gray at least has a spark, he's younger and takes a lot of ball in the loose - a lot more than most other locks - and I reckon the harder ground down under will suit him. Plus you need to be able to merchandise those wigs (I trust Leinster will have Kirchner wigs on sale for the coming season).

Daithi wrote:


And, finally, Farrell ... I'm certainly not one of the 'Wilkinson for God' brigade but I think he's still ahead of Farrell (again, irrespective of Top 14 scheduling) and would support the arguments put forward by Tony Ward in the Independent today. Alternatively, and as much as it pains me to say it, I would have given the second fly half spot to Dan Biggar. I hate to give another slot to a Welshman, but he'd be my preferred pick.


I have heard that Wilkinson has ruled himself out of consideration for selection - and did this some time ago. Whether or not that's a smokescreen remains to be seen. Personally, I;d have Madigan ahead of Biggar any day - to use an NFL expression, Madigan has a way higher 'ceiling', plus he covers other positions.
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A Blind Mouse
Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 4:13 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 Sep 2012 Posts: 123
Actually, on mature reflection I;m inlined to agree with you about Biggar. I sometimes forget that although I get to watch Madigan every week he isn't (yet) an established international, whereas Biggar is - and Biggar also plays the Heineken Cup games, which Madigan is also not first choice for.

I don't like the selection of Farrell, but I can see the logic behind his selection. I definitely would have liked to have seen a third out half selected. If Wilkinson isn't available for selection then Biggar should have got the nod. If Wilko is going to travel out, then I, like you, would sooner that Biggar had gone with the original touring party. Was Biggar injured for a good while (or am I mixing him with Priestland?). If he was, maybe that mitigated against him, but there's plenty of time for him to play himself back into full fitness.
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Daithi
Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 5:44 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 13 Jun 2005 Posts: 3427 Location: Dresden
Priestland was injured long term, which led to Biggar getting the Wales slot at the start of the Six Nations - which was baffling in itself, as Priestland has always been flakey whereas Biggar has gotten better and better with each passing season. As he's an Osprey, I hate to give him any credit for anything, but I do try to be objective occasionally. It may be that he's injured now, though, and there's a legitimate reason why he wasn't considered. But, the fact that Gatland persisted with Priestland until injury forced his hand, suggests to me he just doesn't really like Biggar for some reason.

I'd have taken a punt on Madigan too, but as you say, he hasn't played a huge number of big games as yet, so it's not like there's no logic to not picking him. And the thing with bolters is they are almost always wingers (let's face it, not the most critical position on a rugby field) or at a push a back rower (where there's some safety in numbers). A bolter at fly half was always going to be a stretch. Increasingly the Maitland thing is bothering me though ... I didn't realise he was a plastic Scot until yesterday. I'd forgotten about Visser - definitely a more suitable candidate (having been in Scotland a few years now) and you'd have thought exactly the kind of (massive) player Gatland favours.

Gray ... yeah, the hard ground argument might fit. And he's a great player so it'd be good to see him find fitness and form on the tour ... it's just that if you are talking about picking a team on 'form' ... well, himself and the likes of Lydiate just don't have any going into this tour. It must feel like a kick in the teeth to someone like Geoff Parling or Donncha Ryan, who've been brilliant of late (the latter possibly not in any fit state to travel admittedly).
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A Blind Mouse
Posted: Wed May 01, 2013 6:23 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 Sep 2012 Posts: 123
Daithi wrote:
Priestland was injured long term, which led to Biggar getting the Wales slot at the start of the Six Nations ... It may be that he's injured now, though, and there's a legitimate reason why he wasn't considered.


I don't know that he's injured - I just mixed him up with Priestland!

Daithi wrote:
Increasingly the Maitland thing is bothering me though ... I didn't realise he was a plastic Scot until yesterday.


I agree with you here. I've never seen enough from Maitland to push him above Visser in my estimation. Also, he's not only a 'plastic Scot' he's Quade Cooper's cousin. That'll be the foundation of many a headline - although I can't see Maitland playing in the test team. Whatever about Cooper (who's family upped sticks to move to Oz when he was 13), Maitland stayed in NZ (4 caps for the Maoris) until even a blind man could see he wasn't ever going to be good enough to get capped by the ABs. Off he trots to Scotland - who need to take anyone they can get at the moment in fairness to their selection committee. Next thing he's a Lion. Madness, utter madness. (I accpet that Visser is Dutch, but that's hardly the same thing. Scottish rugby is a big step up for a Dutchman, a big step in the other direction for a New Zealander).

Daithi wrote:
It must feel like a kick in the teeth to someone like Geoff Parling or Donncha Ryan, who've been brilliant of late (the latter possibly not in any fit state to travel admittedly).


I think Parling made the squad, but I;d have to double check that. Ryan is a class act, but he's banjaxed at the minute. A Lions trip would have been nice for his bank balance, but, in the longer term, it may be better for him to rest up till the start of the new season. I just hope, having missed out on the Lions, he doesn't get taken on the North American tour.
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DISRUPTER
Posted: Thu May 02, 2013 4:10 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 16 Jul 2011 Posts: 778 Location: www.facebook.com/grinnedcore
Jesus Christ

http://www.breakingnews.ie/discover/us-rugby-team-build-up-to-ireland-clash-with-cringeworthy-promo-593188.html
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alsvartr666
Posted: Thu May 02, 2013 7:13 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 06 Jun 2005 Posts: 1886 Location: Belfast


Oh yeah, they really thumped it into the 'Irish' in that last match. All the clips of the 'big hits' are of their forwards tackling our backs. It didn't show their forwards getting bullied by the Irish front 8. Haha!
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A Blind Mouse
Posted: Fri May 03, 2013 8:58 am Reply with quote
Joined: 21 Sep 2012 Posts: 123
That's Les Kiss' motivational speech done for him
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Caller of the Black
Posted: Sun May 19, 2013 3:06 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 06 Jun 2005 Posts: 3115 Location: in cold water with disinfectant
Clermont choke at the last, although Munster showed how they might be beaten. Nice to see Wilko pick up the Heineken Cup medal too.
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A Blind Mouse
Posted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 10:32 am Reply with quote
Joined: 21 Sep 2012 Posts: 123
Couple of links for the Lions vs Western Force game, if anybody needs them:
http://www.viponlinesports.eu/rugby/157121/1/western-force-vs-british-and-irish-lions--live-stream-online.html

http://www.epl424.org/channel-3.php
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stench of gore
Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 9:19 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 09 Jun 2005 Posts: 1327 Location: Dublin
cracking Under 20s game tonight. Really thought Ireland were gonna come back and beat the all blacks after that amazing comeback after 50 mins or so. Really bodes well for the future that they can beat australia one week and then narrowly lose to the Baby Blacks the next.
Also the fact that we have some outstanding props coming through the ranks and were dominant in the scrum throughout is really encouraging.
Lets hope France do a job on South Africa so Ireland will get another crack at the all blacks in the semis
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cclad16
Posted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:01 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 12 Dec 2008 Posts: 2574 Location: Waterford
stench of gore wrote:
cracking Under 20s game tonight. Really thought Ireland were gonna come back and beat the all blacks after that amazing comeback after 50 mins or so. Really bodes well for the future that they can beat australia one week and then narrowly lose to the Baby Blacks the next.
Also the fact that we have some outstanding props coming through the ranks and were dominant in the scrum throughout is really encouraging.
Lets hope France do a job on South Africa so Ireland will get another crack at the all blacks in the semis
only saw the last 5 minutes,they were unlucky,would have loved to have seen the whole game.
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Daithi
Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 8:28 am Reply with quote
Joined: 13 Jun 2005 Posts: 3427 Location: Dresden
Yeah, Ireland were unlucky in the end. Given the history of Ireland v New Zealand clashes, I can't really say "I thought they were going to do it" but I was certainly on the edge of my seat for all of the last twenty minutes of the match. They came very close. Although I don't usually harp on about referees, I also thought they were a bit hard done by at times. Maybe that was just my bias, and the slightly jerky internet connection, but a lot of little decisions went the way of the Kiwis I felt in the first sixty or so minutes, making it hard to build up much momentum. And, at senior level, I'm sure one of those Blacks tries out on the left touchline would have gone to the TMO as well. The scorer looked very close to having a foot in touch.

Understandly for under 20s they did show a little inexperience on a few occassions, such as McGrath taking up the ball without support early in the second half at a time when the Blacks were destroying the Irish in every tackle and ruck (which the Irish did well to rectify eventually), the decision to grab the ball while clearly in an offside position (rightly leading to a yellow card), kicking straight to the AB backs on a few occasions, etc. They also just couldn't capitalise on the sin binning of the New Zealander unforunately. But, as you say Stench, the prop situation does look quite promising all of a sudden and there seem to be a few handy players coming through.

Anyway, apart from Ireland doing well and coming very close, it was just a great game of rugby.
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A Blind Mouse
Posted: Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:26 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 21 Sep 2012 Posts: 123
Daithi wrote:
Although I don't usually harp on about referees, I also thought they were a bit hard done by at times.

I do like to harp on about refs, but I don't want this to be taken as such necessarily!

Quite a number of the Baby Black's offloads (passes too, but offloads particularly) looked suspiciously forward to me. The ref picked up on none of them. The point I;d like to make is that NZ (at all levels) play such a fast paced game that they get away with these 'infringements' far more often than anyone else, as refs have less time to follow the play and view each incident. Ireland has been producing players that are equally capable (imho) of playing the game at similar pace to NZ. I;d like to think that both Schmidt and Ruddock would draw from these sorts of games the conclusion that a pacy (or is that pacey?) game suits our players and is the way forward. I think Joe, for one, firmly believes that. We got really close yesterday to beating NZ, especially as we looked dead and buried after 55 mins. I think with a little more self-confidence Ireland (seniors and 20s) should be looking to beat NZ before too long. ANd certainly to regularly compete with them.

28-1 with Stan James for RWC 2015. You heard it here first ....
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Daithi
Posted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 10:04 am Reply with quote
Joined: 13 Jun 2005 Posts: 3427 Location: Dresden
Is it just me, or is Gatland really beginning to take the piss out of this whole Lions thing? A call up for Shane Williams?! Seriously? Great player that he was, he retired from real rugby and moved to Japan a year (or two?) ago for a reason.

He also recently stated that the nature of touring today means you need more players. Woodward recognised that in 2005, and later it was one of the (many) sticks used to beat him with afterwards. To the best of my knowledge, it was Gatland himself who restricted this year's squad to 37.

Anyway, I see that Best is captain for the Brumbies match. As suspected, his throwing has been abysmal so far but hopefully he gets it right this time. At the moment Youngs has the spot nailed for the tests as he's the only Lions' hooker able to throw (Hibbard has been awful in the lineout as well), so with a good performance Best could yet get himself the 16 jersey and possibly even a starting position for one of the tests if anything happens to Youngs.
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beansboy
Posted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 6:29 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 19 Jul 2011 Posts: 206
I agree that Youngs should start at hooker, but I know Gatland will start Hibbard, the Williams call up is a joke, I know you want to rest player's but there's plenty of other worthy candidate's, also suprised O'Brien is playing I thought he'd be in the starting 15 for the first test.
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