Ireland vs South Africa Preview

4 11 2010

Across the various rugby websites there have been several polls running along the same theme although posed in several different ways. What they all concur with however is the likelihood that, if any Northern Hemisphere side is going to win this weekend, it is likely to be Ireland. There is fairly solid reasoning behind this general consensus and it is not one that we, here at the Hooker, can really find fault with.

Ireland are at home, have almost their entire first choice side playing and, on paper at least, have a good enough side to win for the second November test match in a row. With the South African’s still clinging to their beloved kicking game the world class back three of Fitzgerald, Bowe and Kearney can run the ball back with interest should a wayward punt come their way. The scrum back three remains solid as ever, despite the slight consternation amongst Irish supporters at Sean O’Brien’s omission, and Paul O’Connell’s replacement, Mick O’Driscoll, will not let anyone down – just ask a Munster supporter.

The worries come as ever in the front row where Buckley needs to prove that he has the skills to provide some much needed solidity at scrum time. We cannot remember a time over the last two years when the Irish scrum went anything but backwards and this remains one of the major worries leading into world cup year.

The other potentially weak links are at 9, 10 and 12. Reddan has rightly been picked over Stringer although O’Leary will be sorely missed. His half back partner, Jonny Sexton, despite having one of the names crucial for a great fly half, tends to lose his kicking game at the wrong moments a la Matt Giteau. He has proved he has the running game to succeed and once he harnesses that to his place kicking Ireland should have found themselves a formidable weapon. Outside him is D’Arcy at 12 who these days does not provide the carrying and off loading skills he once had. He needs to fire if Ireland are going to win in any way other than through penalties.

The other reason why South Africa should be perceived as slight underdogs is the bad run of injuries that Pieter De Villiers men are suffering. Problems in the pack but particularly in the backline, as far as selection goes, coupled with a poor 2010 mean that Ireland should be dissatisfied with anything other than a victory.

Prediction: Ireland 22-15 South Africa

Look out for: Tommy Bowe – surely one of the best wingers around today. Sexton’s running and passing although hold your breath if he’s got the place T out. South African’s are yet to name their side but Matfield and the experienced heads are likely to be key if they are to win. PDV’s post match press conference should anything controversial happen whatever happens.



One response

4 11 2010

hopefully South Africa will give the new number 10, patrick Lambie a run, he’s seriously a world class player in the making, and in the old style, intelligence and fundamentals, a class act.

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