O'Gara Replacement Options.

Discussion in 'International Test Matches' started by monkeypigeon, Jan 18, 2009.

  1. monkeypigeon

    monkeypigeon Guest

    He's getting/is old and showing particularly patchy form this year.

    Which leaves a dilemma as to who shall replace him. I was very worried untill this year but now see a list of possible replacements

    1. Ian Humphries, nearing 27 years of age now, beginning to show form that's helped Ulster improve alot in the klast couple of months. He was told by Williams to sort out his defence if he wanted to play first team rugby. He's done this and more. His place kicking has been excellent even in the horific conditions in RavenHill against Quinns yesterday. His passing has opened up a new surprisingly potent centre partnership of Wallace and Cave (who on an off point both deserve to be considered options at centre for Ireland in the upcoming 6 Nations).
    2. Ian Keatley, still just 22 and pivotal to the Ireland under 20s(?) grand slam just a couple of years ago. Seems to be the full package. He's not afraid to run at the opposition and has scored a couple of tries for Connacht this season. Whenever I've seen him in action he's kicked from hand well and his bizzare place kicking style seems to work for him and provides a laugh too. He also seems defencively sounds and seems like a very strong long term replacement. Unfortunatly one Michael Bradley of connacht doesn't see it fit to start him against opposition such as London Irish, resulting in a 70 point drubbing.
    3. Jonathan Sexton, stil 23 and developing, but unfortunatly being kept out of the leinster squad by Mr Cheika. Place kicking seems patchy from Magners League performance and Chuchill cup, however he seems skilled with ball in hand. Certainly needs more match experience than he's currently getting.
    4. Niall O'Conner, would like to see him do anything but sit on the bench. From non-competative performances I've seen (again mostly under 20s and a couple of A games (I think)), seems a strong player. Perhaps we'll se a reshuffling of outhalves next year with O'Connor moving to connacht and I'll happily have one of Keatley starting or sexton coming off the bench for Munster or Leinster.
    5. Paddy Wallace is not an outhalf and a wasted talent at centre. Wouldn't mind him starting at centre for Ireland to be honest, has proved that he can set the second centre free with cave outside him at Ulster recently and provies an extra kicking option if we chose to start one of the younger and less experienced outhalves.
    6. Jeremy Staunton is a joke.
    My preference at the moment is Humphries on the bench for O'Gara and Keatley to be phased in over the next couiple of seasons because he really does seem a phenomanel player.


    This of course is all just opinion and I'd love to hear from everyone else.
     
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  3. An Tarbh

    An Tarbh Guest

    been thinking about this in recent days and he's obviously the only international option we have, I've been impressed with Keatley and Humphreys lately but to be honest they're not up to international standard whereas O'Gara is despite what anyone says to the contrary, he delivered on Friday when the stakes were raised.

    Keatley needs to be brought back to Leinster next season and given some serious gametime in the HEC to see what he's made of, if he makes the grade he stays, if not ship him back to Connacht. He's the obvious hope and looks like making it eventually but he's still only 21.

    Humphreys looks more like a decent provincial prospect who won't make it at international level, it's easy to get caught up in the hype after a decent performance but regardless of what the Sky brigade say there's still quite a difference between test match level and HEC level bar the knockout stages and some pool games.
     
  4. As things stand, O'Gara is undisputed #1 with the backups being Humphreys, Wallace and Keatley in that order.

    Humphreys has been on fire for Ulster of late. I'd like to see him continue to perform for the rest of the season as he has done for the last 10 weeks. It's too early to judge whether he's a viable alternative to ROG but signs are promising. He should be the bench option during the 6 Nations.

    Wallace would be 3rd on my depth chart for the simple reason that he can effectively run a backline. He's nearly 30 years of age and will never be a long term solution but I wouldn't have too much of a problem if he was asked to cover 10, even though he's a better inside centre. His versatility is important and keeps him ahead of Keatley for now.

    Keatley has been developing nicely with Connacht. I see no reason to place the added pressure of a place in the Ireland 22 on him right now. Let him keep developing for Connacht for the next 18 months while also starting for Ireland A. I don't think move to Leinster is advisable for him until summer 2010 (if at all). Perhaps he could get a gig backing up ROG at Munster next season if Paul Warwick leaves for a regular starting job.

    Of the other flyhalves, Sexton and O'Connor both have talent but probably need to move to realise it fully. Sexton in particular should be looking towards a stint in the Premiership (or perhaps look to pick up the Munster backup role). Eoghan Hickey is little more than a solid club player.

    Further down the line, Andrew Burke and Ian McKinley seem best placed to make an impact on the pro game but it's a long way off in both their cases.
     
  5. monkeypigeon

    monkeypigeon Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (snoopy snoopy dog dog @ Jan 19 2009, 01:52 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    I totally agree that Sexton and/or O'Connor could do with a brief period in the GP, however I'd fear that they'd get lost there like Mike Ross and Jonny Murphy.

    The last thing I think Keatley needs though is to stay in Connacht to be mismanaged my Bradley and then ignored by the Irish Management. I'd rather see him benching at Leinster or even a Magners man at Munster with warwick playing FB where he plays very well.
     
  6. MunsterMan

    MunsterMan Guest

    Eoghan Hickey is perhaps the best kicker out of all our options, including ROG. Problem is that is all he offers.

    1. ROG
    2. Humphs
    3. Wallace
    4. Keatley
    5. (Daylight)
    5. Manning
    6. Stan
    7. O'Connor
    8. Hickey
    9. Sexton
    10. Dunne

    Is my top 10 at the moment. I would expect the top 4 to all be inclued in the 6N squad (actualy it's about time we get a nice bit of speculation going about the 6N Squad). Gametime is Key, For example now that Hickey seems to be getting regular gametime in the GP, he could move into contention.
     
  7. monkeypigeon

    monkeypigeon Guest

    Staunton? That's a joke right?

    Yes, could do with a bit of speculating. I would go and make an Ireland squad surprises speculation thread but I'm too damn lazy.

    I really just don't see Wallace as an outhalf. He doesn't get match time there and he's better at centre. he's 30(ish) now and he's not gonna make for a long term replacement. Why bother?
     
  8. <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (MunsterMan @ Jan 19 2009, 07:41 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    I agree for the most part but have one query. How is Manning so high up the list yet Sexton is so low? From what I've seen of Manning, he can't run a backline, is average at kicking for field position and he's made of glass. Sexton is out of form but he's still better than Manning in all categories bar goalkicking. He's also played far more pro rugby this season and over the last few years too - in the last 2 seasons, Manning hasn't started a game whereas Sexton has 21 starts to his name.

    I'd have the same rankings from 1-4 with Sexton at 5, Staunton and Hickey vying for 6th and the others not worth mentioning at this stage (although O'Connor cold become a useful if limited player). Dunne could probably become a good 7s player whereas I doubt Manning will ever amount to more than a backup for a some team.
     
  9. MunsterMan

    MunsterMan Guest

    If worst comes to worst, would you rather see Wallace or Keatley start at 10 for a big 6N game this year?

    Staunton was once a very talented player with huge potential, shame he never delivered on it. Several Irish Qualified Fly Halves would have to have broken legs for him to make into an Irish squad at this stage though.
     
  10. monkeypigeon

    monkeypigeon Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (MunsterMan @ Jan 19 2009, 07:54 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    Yeah, I suppose Wallace. But I'd rather Keatley than Wallace on the bench along with Keith Earls and Reddan and you have all the backs covered. The main reason for having Wallace on the bench for me has always been utility.

    I remember Staunton leaving Munster because he couldn't get game time at any position that he liked because he was useless and going to Wasps and making an eejit of himself in any big match.
     
  11. <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Monkeypigeon @ Jan 19 2009, 07:15 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    I'm no fan of Bradley either but Keatley is unquestionably improving due to getting regular action. I don't think he'd get much action at Leinster with Contepomi and Nacewa blocking his path (I'm assuming Sexton will leave at the end of the season). A move to his native province would likely send him backwards in his development.

    Munster is an interesting call if Paul Warwick leaves. He'd pick up some good training habits off O'Gara, benefit from being in a winning environment and McGahan's attacking philosophy (as opposed to the more conservative style Connacht employ) would round out his game. While he wouldn't be in position to start regularly for a couple of years, he'd likely see plenty of time on the field in the Magners League and off the bench in the Heineken Cup. Moving to Munster could be a case of one step backwards (in terms of playing time) and a giant leap forward in terms of developing his skill levels.
     
  12. monkeypigeon

    monkeypigeon Guest

    <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (snoopy snoopy dog dog @ Jan 19 2009, 08:00 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    I'm no fan of Bradley either but Keatley is unquestionably improving due to getting regular action. I don't think he'd get much action at Leinster with Contepomi and Nacewa blocking his path (I'm assuming Sexton will leave at the end of the season). A move to his native province would likely send him backwards in his development.

    Munster is an interesting call if Paul Warwick leaves. He'd pick up some good training habits off O'Gara, benefit from being in a winning environment and McGahan's attacking philosophy (as opposed to the more conservative style Connacht employ) would round out his game. While he wouldn't be in position to start regularly for a couple of years, he'd likely see plenty of time on the field in the Magners League and off the bench in the Heineken Cup. Moving to Munster could be a case of one step backwards (in terms of playing time) and a giant leap forward in terms of developing his skill levels.
    [/b][/quote]

    I don't think there's anyone in Munster who wouldn't be happy to have him.

    I was happy with Necewa's start of the season but since returning from injury I think he's been poor. Hopefully for Leinster its just rustiness.
     
  13. <div class='quotetop'>QUOTE (Monkeypigeon @ Jan 19 2009, 08:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}></div>
    I like Nacewa as a player, just not as an outhalf. He could be devastating coming off the bench with 30 minutes to go anywhere in the three quarter line or at fullback.
     
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