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[2021 Six Nations] Ireland vs France (14/02/21)

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Some thoughts on halfbacks. Billy Burns 's strengths for Ulster are his short kicking game - chips, grubbers, high balls for teammates to chase and compete for - and orchestrating back line running moves. But that's a high-risk game, and Ireland are a safety-first team. He also doesn't do the goal kicking for Ulster unless John Cooney isn't there, so I don't know how reliable he is - he missed a fairly straightforward penalty against France. Ross Byrne is an incredibly reliable goal kicker and touch kicker and a safe pair of hands, so he perhaps suits Ireland's style of play better. But he lacks a certain amount of attacking creativity, so if you're going to go with him, I think you need to pair him with a more adventurous scrum-half like Cooney or Caolin Blade. I'm a fan of playmaking scrum-halves, and Cooney and Blade are the nearest we have to someone like Antoine Dupont. I'm an Ulster fan and can bore on with the best of them about Cooney's Ireland credentials, but I can't believe Blade doesn't have a single senior Ireland cap.
Agreed. Given that we've been seeing mediocre play from 9 for nearly 3 years now I'm surprised Blade hasn't gotten a chance. Maybe it wouldn't work out but he does deserve a go. Consistently good for Connacht and behind the weakest pack of the provinces.

Mad how much an ACL makes you forget about someone.

Farrell's first squad actually had HB, Baloucuone, Baird and Deegan in it. Admittedly the first three were apprentice players. I think Baird was definitely in line to make his debut in the Autumn before getting injured but obviously that's all supposition.

Baloucoune to be fair probably would be capped right now if he hadn't gotten an injury. Tom O'Toole is another who's been backed but hasn't got on the pitch yet.

Overall I do think the point stands that Keenan is the only player who didn't have to be capped but was while also working out really well and going on to become a starter. I do have some sympathy for Farrell because he has tried in some places and been stymied by both injury and a pandemic but I still think his record isn't good enough. I can understand leaving Casey on the bench if we had Conor Murray at his peak but I don't think anyone outside the Ireland coaching box rated JGP as a guy we needed for 80 minutes on Sunday.

Casey, Baird and Harry Byrne should really all be on the pitch against Italy and I can't see any real justification to not have them involved. Kelleher should start that game too if nothing else.
 

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Please just leave Jake White alone, the Bulls need him for the next few seasons.....
 

Jakedood

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m
Some thoughts on halfbacks. Billy Burns 's strengths for Ulster are his short kicking game - chips, grubbers, high balls for teammates to chase and compete for - and orchestrating back line running moves. But that's a high-risk game, and Ireland are a safety-first team. He also doesn't do the goal kicking for Ulster unless John Cooney isn't there, so I don't know how reliable he is - he missed a fairly straightforward penalty against France. Ross Byrne is an incredibly reliable goal kicker and touch kicker and a safe pair of hands, so he perhaps suits Ireland's style of play better. But he lacks a certain amount of attacking creativity, so if you're going to go with him, I think you need to pair him with a more adventurous scrum-half like Cooney or Caolin Blade. I'm a fan of playmaking scrum-halves, and Cooney and Blade are the nearest we have to someone like Antoine Dupont. I'm an Ulster fan and can bore on with the best of them about Cooney's Ireland credentials, but I can't believe Blade doesn't have a single senior Ireland cap.
Last year, maybe start of 19/20 season I'd have fully agreed with you, he used to frustrate me watching ulster games because he sat so deep, and just shipped on ball without fixing defence, or it was his kicking game, however in last season and a half, he's really developed as a player who can take it to the line. I understand re Byrne being a better goal kicker,he is, however my biggest isue is Byrne sits so deep and it kills the backline. When we got to the end of the game on Sunday, clock was red, he just sat deep and shovelled the ball on, Burns adds a lot more variety while maybe lacking a little bit of the class of a genuine high quality international 10. But he has more tools than Byrne, and that's why I'd prefer him. If you think of a back 3 of Keenan, stockdale and larmour for instance, you could have three players who've played full back who are all good in the air, so I dont disagree with the high balls put up. Most of them were excellent as well
 

paddybrown

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Last year, maybe start of 19/20 season I'd have fully agreed with you, he used to frustrate me watching ulster games because he sat so deep, and just shipped on ball without fixing defence, or it was his kicking game, however in last season and a half, he's really developed as a player who can take it to the line. I understand re Byrne being a better goal kicker,he is, however my biggest isue is Byrne sits so deep and it kills the backline. When we got to the end of the game on Sunday, clock was red, he just sat deep and shovelled the ball on, Burns adds a lot more variety while maybe lacking a little bit of the class of a genuine high quality international 10. But he has more tools than Byrne, and that's why I'd prefer him. If you think of a back 3 of Keenan, stockdale and larmour for instance, you could have three players who've played full back who are all good in the air, so I dont disagree with the high balls put up. Most of them were excellent as well
I don't disagree - that's the way I'd like to see Ireland play more. But I don't think they're going to under the current coaching setup. Ulster should probably give Burns more of the goal kicking duties to support his Ireland chances.
 

munstermuffin

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Agreed. Given that we've been seeing mediocre play from 9 for nearly 3 years now I'm surprised Blade hasn't gotten a chance. Maybe it wouldn't work out but he does deserve a go. Consistently good for Connacht and behind the weakest pack of the provinces.


Baloucoune to be fair probably would be capped right now if he hadn't gotten an injury. Tom O'Toole is another who's been backed but hasn't got on the pitch yet.

Overall I do think the point stands that Keenan is the only player who didn't have to be capped but was while also working out really well and going on to become a starter. I do have some sympathy for Farrell because he has tried in some places and been stymied by both injury and a pandemic but I still think his record isn't good enough. I can understand leaving Casey on the bench if we had Conor Murray at his peak but I don't think anyone outside the Ireland coaching box rated JGP as a guy we needed for 80 minutes on Sunday.

Casey, Baird and Harry Byrne should really all be on the pitch against Italy and I can't see any real justification to not have them involved. Kelleher should start that game too if nothing else.
From media soundbytes it seems Sexton and Farrell will be starting.
 

MikeTheNative

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Seems to be more Ex Irish players all pilling into Farrell now. The thing is outside of a very unlikely Italy victory I can't see things changing too much under Farrell.
 

munstermuffin

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Sorry Murray.

Also interstingly - Peter O'Mahony back training with us and we have asked is he allowed play this week. If it is deemed NO then he is free to play in Final 2 Irish games.
 

TW27BA

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France appear the only nation not to have a thread for their 6 Nations squad 2021?
So I'll put this here

No chance of Dupont making the team next weekend now France have upped the isolation period from 7 to 10 days.
Who's the next scrum half off the bus? Is it Serin?
 
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