Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Latest Suggested World Cup Squad That Eddie O'Sullivan Will Totally Ignore

Two whole months till the announcement of Rugby World Cup squads then, but sure, with the dismal round of summer tour internationals over, what else is there to talk about?

There is the distant, mystical wonder of the Tri-nations getting under way this weekend, but we're blinkered, parochial types around here, so we'll just agree that they all look very big and scary down there and get back to speculating if Big Mal will get crocked again.

Ostensibly there is only one game left for Ireland's supporting cast to snare positions on the World Cup bench before the day of reckoning on August 14th. That comes against Scotland on August 11th, although there has been some speculation that the IRB will push the date back to allow the internationals scheduled for later in the month to be included as final auditions.

Ireland's last game before the titanic opening tussle with Namibia on 9th September is on 24th August, but one imagines that, even if the IRB does extend the deadline for squad announcements, Eddie O'Sullivan's mind will be well made up by then, if it isn't already.

Presumably there won't be many takers for the access all areas DVD about the tour to Argentina. However, like a Big Brother race row, it was at least useful in shaving a few contestants out of the running for the big prize.

So binning their French phrasebooks are Tony Buckley, Peter Bracken, Kieran Lewis, Barry Murphy, Tomas O'Leary and Jeremy Staunton. Also praying for an outbreak of some deadly virus or other in the camp are Shane Jennings and Leo Cullen, neither of whom were able to demonstrate enough to leapfrog ahead of those untainted by sinister English club ways. Luke Fitzgerald's lack of game time has not ruled him out in the eyes of some of his advocates, but it's a gamble I can't see O'Sullivan taking.

There's an old joke about sculpture, it goes something like "how do you do a sculpture of an elephant? Take a block and remove all the bits that don't look like an elephant". Not really a joke, as such, more of pithy aphorism. Anyhow, with a few bits removed that don't look like a World Cup squad, we can focus on the fine detail.

Stuff That Will Not Cause Eddie To Drift Off In Contemplation When His Wife Tries To Engage Him In Discussion About The Banjaxed Washing Machine Or Whatever Wives Of International Managers Yammer On About

Namely that the four props will be Horan, Hayes, Best (S), Young; that the three hookers will be Best (R), Flannery and Sheahan; that three of the locks will be O'Connell, O'Callaghan and O'Kelly; that three of the back rowers will be Easterby, Wallace (D) and Leamy; that the scrum-halves will be Stringer, Boss and Reddan; that the outhalves will be O'Gara and Wallace (P); that two of the centres will be O'Driscoll and D'Arcy; that two of the wingers will be Horgan and Hickie; and that the full-backs will be Dempsey and Murphy.

Stuff That Will Cause Eddie To Say "Woman Will You Stop Yammering On About Banjaxed Washing Machines, I'm Trying To Think Here!!"

Wow it looks like an elephant! But not quite. Six places left, and like the hard-hitting internet news organ we aren't, let's start a heated debate.

I contended before that Mick O'Driscoll would go to the World Cup, and while I have wobbled on my stated position like an atheist at the gates of hell, I will stick to it. That's based on nothing more solid than a hunch on O'Sullivan's mindset, mind you, and indeed would consider Trevor Hogan exceedingly unlucky to miss out, given that, aside from O'Kelly, he alone showed well in Argentina of the locks.

Perhaps it's just the suspicion that the boss would like a man who knows the workings of his Munster mates in the event of a need for action, or maybe those couple of lineouts stolen in Argentina, I don't know. As I said it's flimsy stuff.

The back row, though, sheeeesh! This is Ireland's strongest area, has been for a while. As I expect O'Sullivan to go with 17 forwards (leveraging his backs' versatility a little - ooh don't I sound all Wall Street?) it follows that back-up will be like-for-like in the back row.

Neil Best will definitely get to deploy his brand of mayhem at no.6 in France. His physicality over a long tournament and potential impact off the bench make him a cert for the match-day 22. I'll plump for Keith Gleeson to make the cut as David Wallace's understudy, delighting purists of the open-side role. And with the Wise Head department well covered, Jamie Heaslip should get the reward his outstanding season deserves at number 8.

Just two official blazers going in the backs then. Andrew Trimble has been ensconced in the scene for long enough, and has done enough in an Ireland shirt, to make it as centre and wing cover. Then comes the question: Gavin Duffy's decent tour and adaptability in a number of positions? Or Brian Carney's explosive potential and element of mystery?

In the normal run of things, Eddie would smile at Duffy and say "You had me at 'decent' and 'adaptable'". But maybe the excitement will get to him, maybe the anticipation will be too much, or maybe the washing machine will finally pack up and he'll just say "Feck it!" and decide to throw one Carney-shaped curveball at the plate.

Let's see shall we.

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Blogger Fence said...

"three of the props will be O'Connell, O'Callaghan and O'Kelly"

props? ;)

I think that Duffy had a relatively good tour in Argentina. But I get the feeling that O'Sullivan likes Carney, so if it is a choice between the two I'd expect him to pick Carney. Don't know if it is the wisest of options, but maybe Eddie'll go crazy.

10:17 a.m.  
Blogger Tommy77 said...

ooops! that'll teach me to write after watching big brother....corrected now!

11:51 a.m.  
Blogger Tommy77 said...

I think he needs a little bit of something spicy on the bench, a 'gamebreaker', in the current parlance, in which case he might go for Carney.

11:56 a.m.  
Blogger Fence said...

He may. but then again he is known as Steady Eddie. So who knows.

1:11 p.m.  

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