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Old 23-11-18, 10:34 PM   #3201
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Was away working for a few days so catching up with this thread - Iíll keep my comments to myself Zap but I will say I used to work a lot in ZA and I never met an arrogant rugby fan from South Africa

Anyway in this weekend - I see Scotland at playing Argentina. That will be a cracker played at a breakneck pace - the Argies were v good vs us and your style of game will actually suit them. This may be a very high scoring game.

We are playing the US and it will be 4 wins from 4 if we manage to beat them
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Old 24-11-18, 10:33 AM   #3202
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Was away working for a few days so catching up with this thread - Iíll keep my comments to myself Zap but I will say I used to work a lot in ZA and I never met an arrogant rugby fan from South Africa
I would actually like you to shed some light on this. It's not just rugby, whenever I'm abroad I get this South Africans being arrogant thing. I've never really quite understood it myself. Maybe I'm too close to things and am blind to it, or it's an intercultural miscommunication. I don't consider people here more or less arrogant than any other people in relation general things.

There isn't much arrogance in our current set up. We don't rate them and our media and supporters are generally quite pessimistic. It's a rebuild job. Just because most people here don't really rate the 6 Nations teams doesn't mean that we're promoting the Bok team. From 2006-12 we were close to parity with the All Blacks sporting a great team with outstanding depth. I don't think much credit was ever really given for that. Although our players were always in contention for international individual accolades. Worth noting that some of the best SA players don't or rarely play, like Frans Steyn for example. Imagine taking a player like Carter out of NZ for half of his career. Public expectation coupled with financial and political issues are a very real and complicated handicap to deal with.

Will probably miss the games (including Liverpool) today. Have a work team building this afternoon/evening which is placed at the most inconvenient time. I couldn't be more bleak about it. Worst of all, it's some dramatic theatre show...
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Old 24-11-18, 01:05 PM   #3203
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Will be interesting to see how Kurtley Beale responds to all the rainbow laces in the internationals today.
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Old 24-11-18, 03:56 PM   #3204
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Will be interesting to see how Kurtley Beale responds to all the rainbow laces in the internationals today.

I thought he was dropped for disciplinary reasons, also Adam Ashley Cooper?
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Old 24-11-18, 03:57 PM   #3205
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I would actually like you to shed some light on this. It's not just rugby, whenever I'm abroad I get this South Africans being arrogant thing. I've never really quite understood it myself. Maybe I'm too close to things and am blind to it, or it's an intercultural miscommunication. I don't consider people here more or less arrogant than any other people in relation general things.

There isn't much arrogance in our current set up. We don't rate them and our media and supporters are generally quite pessimistic. It's a rebuild job. Just because most people here don't really rate the 6 Nations teams doesn't mean that we're promoting the Bok team. From 2006-12 we were close to parity with the All Blacks sporting a great team with outstanding depth. I don't think much credit was ever really given for that. Although our players were always in contention for international individual accolades. Worth noting that some of the best SA players don't or rarely play, like Frans Steyn for example. Imagine taking a player like Carter out of NZ for half of his career. Public expectation coupled with financial and political issues are a very real and complicated handicap to deal with.

Will probably miss the games (including Liverpool) today. Have a work team building this afternoon/evening which is placed at the most inconvenient time. I couldn't be more bleak about it. Worst of all, it's some dramatic theatre show...
- I went to the Loftus a few times and turned up once in a Munster jersey - the abuse I got from the Ďthoroughbredí Africaaners was hilarious.
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Old 24-11-18, 07:20 PM   #3206
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Zap in the crowd today

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Old 24-11-18, 07:37 PM   #3207
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Just saw that.

Took the kids to Murrayfield today. Was pissing down and freezing which ruined the game as a spectacle. Knock on, scrum etc etc.

The Hastings Russell 10-12 thing didn’t work and we scored a try within 5 mins of Russell returning to 10.

First dull game out of the last 12 I’ve been to and we still won.

Overall a decent autumn. Blooded a few new guys increased depth, and had opportunities to win the games we lost.
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Old 24-11-18, 08:33 PM   #3208
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Just saw that.

Took the kids to Murrayfield today. Was pissing down and freezing which ruined the game as a spectacle. Knock on, scrum etc etc.

The Hastings Russell 10-12 thing didnít work and we scored a try within 5 mins of Russell returning to 10.

First dull game out of the last 12 Iíve been to and we still won.

Overall a decent autumn. Blooded a few new guys increased depth, and had opportunities to win the games we lost.
Fair play to you - mine are too small and Dublin too far away but will get them into the Munster games in the coming years for sure.
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Old 24-11-18, 09:45 PM   #3209
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Fair play to you - mine are too small and Dublin too far away but will get them into the Munster games in the coming years for sure.
Mine are 7 and 8 so just about able to sit through it. It started absolutely throwing it down on the way... so there was some reluctance, a hotdog and chips helped them as did a fair few treats during the match..!

Pro 14 will be great for the kids. Way more relaxed smaller crowds so more manageable, but still some top quality Rugby on display.
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Old 24-11-18, 11:49 PM   #3210
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Mine are 7 and 8 so just about able to sit through it. It started absolutely throwing it down on the way... so there was some reluctance, a hotdog and chips helped them as did a fair few treats during the match..!

Pro 14 will be great for the kids. Way more relaxed smaller crowds so more manageable, but still some top quality Rugby on display.
5 and 7 for me - it will be a couple of years yet. My little fella (5) thinks when I go to play football itís on tv
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Old 24-11-18, 11:57 PM   #3211
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Just saw that.

Took the kids to Murrayfield today. Was pissing down and freezing which ruined the game as a spectacle. Knock on, scrum etc etc.

The Hastings Russell 10-12 thing didn’t work and we scored a try within 5 mins of Russell returning to 10.

First dull game out of the last 12 I’ve been to and we still won.

Overall a decent autumn. Blooded a few new guys increased depth, and had opportunities to win the games we lost.

The Argies were utterly inept weren't they despite having plenty of ball.

Even though the score stayed close throughout, at no point did I think there was the remotest possibility of anything other than a Scotland win.

As you say the Hastings Russell axix didn't really fire although to be honest whilst they were together on the pitch the Scotland backs didn't see a huge amount of ball. And there were several Argentina set pieces where Maitland took the 12 role presumably because GT was concerned about Russell defending that channel. If you have to change the player's positions about in that way then playing that system is probably the wrong option IMO unless there is a significant return on investment, the sort we didn't see today.
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Old 25-11-18, 08:56 AM   #3212
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- I went to the Loftus a few times and turned up once in a Munster jersey - the abuse I got from the Ďthoroughbredí Africaaners was hilarious.
Sorry you had to go through that. The Dutchman at loftus are often the worst. Can't stand those guys. They don't even allow booze in there the last 10 years. The Bulls plummeting has kept them quiet lately. I've seen some shit there at local games between them and Lions or Stormers supporters. So it's not just Munster jerseys.

The girls there are often unbelievably hot though. Met a few stinkers there.

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Was so sloshed last night I probably looked like that when I found out the result.
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Old 25-11-18, 09:05 AM   #3213
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Sorry you had to go through that. The Dutchman at loftus are often the worst. Can't stand those guys. They don't even allow booze in there the last 10 years. The Bulls plummeting has kept them quiet lately. I've seen some shit there at local games between them and Lions or Stormers supporters. So it's not just Munster jerseys.

The girls there are often unbelievably hot though. Met a few stinkers there.



Was so sloshed last night I probably looked like that when I found out the result.
As I said I used to go to ZA a few times a year and have some really good friends there (even the Dutch ones ) - the last time I went to the Loftus was the Steyn, Du Preez, Matfield, Botha, Roussow + more side, some team that was.
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Old 25-11-18, 12:54 PM   #3214
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3 Northern H teams ranked in the top 4 right now.
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Old 25-11-18, 12:55 PM   #3215
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Looks about right at the moment
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Old 25-11-18, 01:27 PM   #3216
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Yeah hard to argue with that (we are better than Aus though beaten them 3 out 4 home and away over 2 years), what is intriguing though is most of the top 8 are capable of beating each other. Also will be interesting to see the World Cup where home advantage isn't an issue, a truly neutral WC.

I cant believe the French lost to Fiji we absolutely blew them away. Neither team has got 80 good minutes in them.

Also the Welsh look annoyingly good just now, when 12 months ago they were despairing.
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Old 25-11-18, 01:38 PM   #3217
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As I said I used to go to ZA a few times a year and have some really good friends there (even the Dutch ones ) - the last time I went to the Loftus was the Steyn, Du Preez, Matfield, Botha, Roussow + more side, some team that was.
That team was incredibly good. Spies used to run through people. I'm sure he was juicing in his peak, his physicality and pace didn't seem right. His rapid decline raises more questions about it.

I wasn't having a go at Afrikaans people in general. More so Bulls fans Most of my exes have been Afrikaans and I have some Afrikaans blood myself, not that I speak the language. Also, above was supposed to say stunners woman wise - not sure how predictive text changed it to stinkers...

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Yeah hard to argue with that (we are better than Aus though beaten them 3 out 4 home and away over 2 years), what is intriguing though is most of the top 8 are capable of beating each other. Also will be interesting to see the World Cup where home advantage isn't an issue, a truly neutral WC.

I cant believe the French lost to Fiji we absolutely blew them away. Neither team has got 80 good minutes in them.

Also the Welsh look annoyingly good just now, when 12 months ago they were despairing.
Not so perturbed about rankings, but that is an absolute shocker for the French. Unbelievable actually. Low ranked teams have won world cups, 6 Nations and Tri-Nations in the past.

Didn't see the game, but I'm not surprised they're very good. As I stated last week, I didn't have much optimism about the match. Fair play to them. Regardless, it's a pretty awful tour for us. Maybe it's a good thing. Wins perhaps paper cracks.
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Old 25-11-18, 01:52 PM   #3218
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Didn't see the game, but I'm not surprised they're very good. As I stated last week, I didn't have much optimism about the match. Fair play to them. Regardless, it's a pretty awful tour for us. Maybe it's a good thing. Wins perhaps paper cracks.
You guys butchered a lot of decisions in the Welsh 22.

Then kept coughing up pens which kept them just that score ahead.

I'd say your tour was ok. You are only the second team to win at Murrayfield in 13 games, where we have beaten everyone of note (bar NZ and now SA). I've been at all of them, so I'd say that was a good win, and you were a poor decision away from beating England.

The Irish and the AB's are a good way ahead. Everyone else has food for thought.
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Old 25-11-18, 04:14 PM   #3219
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That team was incredibly good. Spies used to run through people. I'm sure he was juicing in his peak, his physicality and pace didn't seem right. His rapid decline raises more questions about it.

I wasn't having a go at Afrikaans people in general. More so Bulls fans Most of my exes have been Afrikaans and I have some Afrikaans blood myself, not that I speak the language. Also, above was supposed to say stunners woman wise - not sure how predictive text changed it to stinkers...



Not so perturbed about rankings, but that is an absolute shocker for the French. Unbelievable actually. Low ranked teams have won world cups, 6 Nations and Tri-Nations in the past.

Didn't see the game, but I'm not surprised they're very good. As I stated last week, I didn't have much optimism about the match. Fair play to them. Regardless, it's a pretty awful tour for us. Maybe it's a good thing. Wins perhaps paper cracks.
Spies - I couldnít remember his name just that they had an absolute brute at no 8 who looked like he was carved from granite. A def candidate for the juice

Some cracking women down south also - tall blondes, plenty of them. Iíve been lucky to travel a bit over the years and Israeli women (those I met in SE Asia and India) followed by Latino (Argentina and Colombia) were the nicest. In Europe the Polish are right up there

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Old 25-11-18, 04:17 PM   #3220
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You guys butchered a lot of decisions in the Welsh 22.

Then kept coughing up pens which kept them just that score ahead.

I'd say your tour was ok. You are only the second team to win at Murrayfield in 13 games, where we have beaten everyone of note (bar NZ and now SA). I've been at all of them, so I'd say that was a good win, and you were a poor decision away from beating England.

The Irish and the AB's are a good way ahead. Everyone else has food for thought.
I dread the away game in Murrayfield more than any we have in the 6 Nations - your style of play is the antithesis of ours and we never seem in control vs you. Thatís why the WC is right in the balance between us.
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Old 25-11-18, 04:27 PM   #3221
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Old 25-11-18, 07:15 PM   #3222
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I dread the away game in Murrayfield more than any we have in the 6 Nations - your style of play is the antithesis of ours and we never seem in control vs you. Thatís why the WC is right in the balance between us.
Games v Ireland are ones I enjoy the most as typically we attend with Irish friends. Its almost a free hit for us. You guys are the big dogs these days.

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Thats amazing
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Old 26-11-18, 11:59 AM   #3223
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World Rugby Awards:

World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year - Johnny Sexton (Ireland)
World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Year, in association with Mastercard - Jessy TrťmouliŤre (France)
World Rugby Team of the Year - Ireland
World Rugby Coach of the Year - Joe Schmidt (Ireland)
World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year - Aphiwe Dyantyi (South Africa)
World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year - Perry Baker (USA)
World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year - Michaela Blyde (New Zealand)
World Rugby Referee Award - Angus Gardner (Australia)
Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service - Yoshiro Mori (Japan)
Award for Character - Doddie Weir (Scotland)
Spirit of Rugby Award - Jamie Armstrong, The Clan (Scotland)
IRP Special Merit Award - Stephen Moore (Australia) and DJ Forbes (New Zealand)
IRP Try of the Year - Brodie Retallick (New Zealand v Australia)

-------

Well deserved for Sexton, Schmidt and Dyantyi.
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Old 26-11-18, 02:28 PM   #3224
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Blow for Ireland.

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Joe Schmidt is to stand down as Ireland's head coach after the 2019 World Cup and will be replaced by current defence coach Andy Farrell.

Schmidt, 53, said he had decided to finish coaching and focus on family commitments.

He has been with Ireland since 2013 and this year guided them to their third Grand Slam and a first victory on home soil over New Zealand.

"I feel that Irish rugby is in good hands," said Schmidt.

"The management and players have been incredible to work with and the tremendous support we have had, particularly at home in the Aviva, but where ever we have travelled, has been uplifting."
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Old 26-11-18, 03:50 PM   #3225
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Blow for Ireland.
Been known for a long time Buzzo - he wants to go back home and he'll probably get the AB job. Blow for Ireland but a bigger blow for teams playing against NZ now.

Farrell will be interesting as I think it's his first "main gig" job.
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Old 26-11-18, 03:58 PM   #3226
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Been known for a long time Buzzo - he wants to go back home and he'll probably get the AB job. Blow for Ireland but a bigger blow for teams playing against NZ now.

Farrell will be interesting as I think it's his first "main gig" job.
I thought it had only been widely speculated? With some hope that you could chuck enough money at him to make him change his mind.

He leaves you in a great place. Will be motivating for the squad going into the WC and 6ns.

Munster v Edinburgh this weekend Nev. Cockerill has said he is resting the internationals, and given it is a 4 day turnaround for us I cant say I have any confidence.
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Old 26-11-18, 05:18 PM   #3227
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I thought it had only been widely speculated? With some hope that you could chuck enough money at him to make him change his mind.

He leaves you in a great place. Will be motivating for the squad going into the WC and 6ns.

Munster v Edinburgh this weekend Nev. Cockerill has said he is resting the internationals, and given it is a 4 day turnaround for us I cant say I have any confidence.
Money not an issue for him + he was v well paid by rugby standards. He was away from NZ for over 10 years with Clermont, Leinster and then Ireland. I think they just want to settle down back home in NZ. I'm not sure if he will need to serve his time as a Super Rugby coach but that might not work for him.

The international set-up suits him better as he has more time off with his family. Not widely known but one of his kids suffers from severe epilepsy and I know the Irish RFU were very open to him needing the work life balance element. He'd only get that at national level.

Re Munster - I'll watch but am away next weekend at the derby so not going to go to it - priorities and all that
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Old 26-11-18, 06:35 PM   #3228
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He's got to be in the frame for replacing Steve Hansen when the time comes.
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Old 26-11-18, 07:16 PM   #3229
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He's got to be in the frame for replacing Steve Hansen when the time comes.
almost certainly I think.

It's brave by Farrell because unless something unexpected happens Ireland are going to have a brilliant 6N followed by a potentially brilliant WC. The trajectory is only going to go down after that.
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Old 26-11-18, 09:48 PM   #3230
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almost certainly I think.

It's brave by Farrell because unless something unexpected happens Ireland are going to have a brilliant 6N followed by a potentially brilliant WC. The trajectory is only going to go down after that.
the Farrell one is interesting as he will be the main man in a side expecting to do well but everything Iíve read about him has been v positive. I had wondered if Stuart Lancaster would be involved.

So on to the next year - weíve been amazing this year but we won a lot of tight games (Paris) and a few cold have gone either way. Weíve England and France at home and Scotland and Wales away so three of those will be v tough (depends on France) and close.

The WC - weíve never made it past the 1/4 finals and genuinely a semi final would be amazing. We have an up and coming Scotland (who we hate playing) in our group and if we win then Zapís boys await or maybe an All Black side out for revenge. Nothing easy there.

For now delighted with 2018 and looking forward to 2019. The provinces are strong and unified with a good conveyor belt of players coming through. We have an embarrassment of riches in some positions but we are still v reliant on JS and CM. All the best to Joe, met him in Heathrow airport a few months ago and was happy to chat for a few mins - a real gent.
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Old 26-11-18, 10:21 PM   #3231
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6N: France are cack, England are only capable of turning up for half a game, Buzzo's mob will get everyone excited for 20 minutes but eventually lose and Ireland normally win in Cardiff anyway don't they?

WC: You'll get through the QF if it's the Boks then it's Australia or Wales if I've read it right. So if that's the case you won't have to play NZ until the final
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Old 26-11-18, 10:47 PM   #3232
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6N: France are cack, England are only capable of turning up for half a game, Buzzo's mob will get everyone excited for 20 minutes but eventually lose and Ireland normally win in Cardiff anyway don't they?

WC: You'll get through the QF if it's the Boks then it's Australia or Wales if I've read it right. So if that's the case you won't have to play NZ until the final
I wish I had your confidence but a lifetime of disappointment tells me otherwise
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Old 26-11-18, 11:05 PM   #3233
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Ireland normally win in Cardiff anyway don't they?
Has been pretty 50/50 between the two teams, whatever the venue, for some time now.
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Old 27-11-18, 12:09 AM   #3234
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Has been pretty 50/50 between the two teams, whatever the venue, for some time now.
Ya, there used to be a strange quirk where we used to beat Wales in Cardiff and they beat us in Dublin. As you said itís been 50/50 recently and Wales are flying right now.
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Old 27-11-18, 09:46 AM   #3235
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The talk is here is that Joe S will be taking a break from rugby for a while - https://www.independent.ie/sport/rug...-37569252.html
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Old 27-11-18, 11:15 AM   #3236
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I'm pretty sure Scott Robertson will get the job.
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Old 27-11-18, 12:44 PM   #3237
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I'm pretty sure Scott Robertson will get the job.
That's how they tend to do it in NZ recently - promote from within.
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Old 27-11-18, 08:10 PM   #3238
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That's how they tend to do it in NZ recently - promote from within.
Ian Foster, their assistant has also been linked to the role with Hansen moving to Director of Rugby. He has a lot of experience with the Chiefs too.

Not now, but it's quite possible in the longer term future Warren Gatland could take the Graham Henry route. Robertson makes the most sense for me though, huge character and his break dancing is something else.
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Old 29-11-18, 08:12 AM   #3239
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Telegraph picked a Lions squad - nice bit of fun and to be debated later

PROPS

Tadhg Furlong

If the Autumn Internationals taught us anything it is that Furlong is the best tighthead in world rugby, and to think he is still only 26. Furlong is the size of a tank, but with an impressive turn of speed and good hands for a forward. He would walk into a World XV and will be the starting Lions No 3 for many tours to come.


Tadhg Furlong - the rock upon which the Ireland pack is built
Tadhg Furlong - the rock upon which the Ireland pack is built CREDIT: PA
Jack McGrath

Furlong's partner in crime in the Ireland front row, the 29 year-old may not be guaranteed a starting Lions jersey like his compatriot, but he remains one of the best looseheads in the business and would be a fabulous squad player.

Mako Vunipola

Mako was ruled out of the November Tests but gets the nod here via dint of past performances for both England and the Lions. He would likely be the starting loosehead as the 27 year-old's scrummaging has improved immeasurably, combined with his skills at the breakdown and threat in open play.

Kyle Sinckler

He may now be England's starting tighthead but he would have to make do as back-up to Furlong in this squad. But what a player to bring on when required. Aggressive, combative, physical - Sinckler is any team's worst nightmare when coming on as a 'finisher'.

Kyle Sinckler - England's wrecking ball of a tighthead prop
Kyle Sinckler - England's wrecking ball of a tighthead prop CREDIT: AFP
Cian Healy

The ideal squad man who, at 31 and with 82 caps to his name, would bring vast experience to the cause and ensure no drop in quality in the loosehead position. Would start off as third choice behind Vunipola and McGrath but could easily shift both in the battle for the No 1 jersey.

Andrew Porter

The final prop spot was a battle between Ireland's Porter, Wales' Tomas Francis and Samson Lee, Scotland's WP Nel and England's Harry Williams, but the place here goes to the youngest of the lot. Porter is just 22, but is already pushing Furlong hard. He could be something really special.

HOOKERS

Jamie George

He started every one of the Lions' Tests against New Zealand in 2017 and would be favourite to wear the No 2 jersey because of what he brings across the park. His lineout accuracy needs to improve, though.


Ken Owens

Solid. Dependable. Owens may not have George's all-court ability but when it comes to doing the basics well, there is nobody better.

Ken Owens clatters into Aphiwe Dyantyi
Ken Owens clatters into Aphiwe Dyantyi CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
Fraser Brown

The final hooker slot goes to Scotland's Brown, who is the perfect blend of George and Owens. It's tough on Rory Best who, at 36, led Ireland to victory over the All Blacks during the autumn series, while fellow Irishmen Sean Cronin and Niall Scannell both have claim, too. As does Dylan Hartley, who, like Owens, would bring reassuring dependability.

LOCKS

Maro Itoje

What a player he is becoming. One of England's stand-out performers during the autumn Tests and a sure-fire starter.

Alun Wyn Jones

At 33 he is still one of the best locks in world rugby and put in a monumental shift for Wales during their victory over South Africa earlier this month. Jones would be Itoje's second-row partner.

Alun Wyn Jones - still one of the finest locks in the world
Alun Wyn Jones - still one of the finest locks in the world CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
James Ryan

The young Irishman is just 22 but has already cemented his place in Ireland's second row. He possesses size, strength and athleticism and proved he can mix it with the very best as a starter in Ireland's victory over New Zealand.

Courtney Lawes

Mr Versatile, who can play equally effectively at lock and in the back row. He would travel as a squad player and would probably have to make do with a place on the bench, but what a player to bring on.


Jonny Gray

Like Lawes, Scottish lock Gray would have to start behind Itoje and Jones but such his experience and class he could quite conceivably replace either in the starting XV.

Jonny Gray knock the ball out of Malcolm Marx's hands
Jonny Gray knock the ball out of Malcolm Marx's hands CREDIT: ACTION IMAGES
BACK ROW

Billy Vunipola

Injured for the Autumn Internationals, Billy gets selected because he is - when fit - one of the best No 8s in the world.

CJ Stander

He endured a disappointing tour to New Zealand in 2017, but this year - in the Six Nations and autumn Tests - the 28 year-old has taken his game to a new level in line with Ireland's rise to becoming New Zealand's greatest challengers. Has the ability to play on the blindside and at No 8.

Peter O'Mahony

A total warrior. And what a player to have in your side. He would put his body on the line for the cause and seemingly doesn't know the meaning of pain. He was heroic against New Zealand in the No 6 jersey.

Peter O'Mahony put his body on the line against the All Blacks
Peter O'Mahony put his body on the line against the All Blacks CREDIT: REUTERS
Sean O'Brien

Sidelined for the November Tests, the 31 year-old is the veteran of two Lions tours and one of the finest flankers Ireland has ever produced. He would most likely be the starting openside in this Lions squad.

Justin Tipuric

Wales are blessed with a number of outstanding No 7s, but, now that Sam Warburton has retired, Tipuric is the best of the lot and was immense during the November Tests.


Hamish Watson

The third openside slot goes to Scotland No 7 Watson. In terms of slowing down play and pilfering ball at the breakdown, there are few better. He claims the spot ahead of England's Sam Underhill.


Taulupe Faletau

Like Billy Vunipola, Faletau was forced to miss the autumn Tests through injury, but when fit he is one of the best No 8s in the world and therefore has to travel.

Ellis Jenkins

This final back-row slot was a real tough one, with so many players deserving of a place after fine performances this autumn. In the end I've gone with Jenkins after his match-defining display for Wales against South Africa. It is harsh on players like Mark Wilson, Dan Leavy, Dan Lydiate and Ross Moriarty, but Jenkins has it all.

SCRUM-HALVES

Conor Murray

When fit, the best scrum-half in the world.

Ben Youngs

Currently playing some of the best rugby of his career, and being around Richard Wigglesworth in the England camp has certainly rubbed off because his box-kicking is now top-drawer.

Ben Youngs has become a master of the box-kick
Ben Youngs has become a master of the box-kick CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
Rhys Webb

A bit of a controversial choice because Webb is in this squad at the expense of another Welshman, Gareth Davies. His move to France means he has ceded possession of the No 9 jersey to Davies, who had a fine autumn. But Webb is a class above which is why rumours of his return to the Wales national set-up for the World Cup continue to swirl.


FLY-HALVES

Johnny Sexton

The World Player of the Year.

Owen Farrell

When the Lions toured New Zealand in 2017, Farrell played at inside centre in a dual-playmaker role with Sexton at 10. It was the only way to fit both of them in, so good have they both become. A true general on the field.

Owen Farrell is a leader on the field
Owen Farrell is a leader on the field CREDIT: REUTERS
Finn Russell

The Scotland fly-half pips Dan Biggar, Gareth Anscombe and George Ford to the post. Biggar is especially unlucky but Russell has that X-factor, that bit of magic that can unlock even the tightest of defences.

CENTRES

Jonathan Davies

The 30-year-old Wales centre is a veteran of two successful Lions tours and remains the best No 13 in the northern hemisphere. His ability to beat a man in close quarters is second to none.

Garry Ringrose

Another of Irish rugby's young superstars, it is amazing to think that this outside centre is only 23. He started against the All Blacks in November and continues to make a big impression.

Huw Jones

Pips the likes of Jonathan Joseph, Manu Tuilagi and Henry Slade to the third outside-centre spot. Jones can be prone to the odd brain freeze, but the fact he is not afraid to try things, be it running the ball back from his own try line or flinging a long cut-out pass, means he warrants a plane ticket.


Huw Jones looks to escape the clutches of Martin Landajo
Huw Jones looks to escape the clutches of Martin Landajo CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
Robbie Henshaw

He has the ability to play inside and outside centre, but it is at No 12 that he warrants a place in this squad.

Ben Te'o

The big man in the middle, a role Jamie Roberts once played so well for the Lions. When a team needs to go route one, up the middle, Te'o is the man you give the ball to. Bundee Aki and Hadleigh Parkes are unlucky to miss out.

WINGS

Jacob Stockdale

We are running out of superlatives for this Ireland flyer - and he's only 22. Scored the only try of the game against the All Blacks in Dublin and now as 12 international tries in 14 matches.

Jacob Stockdale celebrates his try against New Zealand
Jacob Stockdale celebrates his try against New Zealand CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES
Jonny May

England's speedster. He missed out on a place on the last Lions tour to New Zealand but has improved immeasurably since then to become one of the most dangerous wings in the world... and most probably the quickest.

Elliot Daly

In for his versatility. Currently playing at full-back for England, having transitioned from the wing, he didn't set the world alight at 15, but his all-round game - and howitzer of a left boot - makes him invaluable.

Anthony Watson

Currently sidelined with a long-term injury, he warrants his place in this squad because of what he can do when fit and firing. Eddie Jones must be praying he is available for the World Cup.


Jordan Larmour

A bit of a wildcard - there always has to be one - and what pace this young man has. He is only 21 but the talent is there. Anyone who saw his tries for Ireland against Italy in Chicago will testify to that. Honourable mentions must go to Liam Williams, George North, Jack Nowell, Chris Ashton, Joe Cokanasiga, Keith Earls and Tommy Seymour.

Jordan Larmour zips in a out of the Italian defence
Jordan Larmour zips in a out of the Italian defence CREDIT: AP
FULL-BACKS

Leigh Halfpenny

He of the metronomic right boot. The 29-year-old Wales full-back is already a veteran of three Lions tours. His presence of mind is what makes him stand out from the rest.

Stuart Hogg

One of the most exciting attacking players in world rugby. When given licence to run from deep, he is a joy to watch and has the pace and know-how to play at 15 or on the wing.

Rob Kearney

Eighty-six caps and counting for Ireland, two Lions tours and big-match experience that cannot be measured. Kearney has been Ireland's No 1 full-back for what feels like an eternity, and he's still only 32.
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Old 29-11-18, 10:13 AM   #3240
Buzzo
Donald Buzzworth
 
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 40,147
Eh? There’s some of our players in it. That can’t be right.

Weird to put Frazer Brown in ahead of Stuart McInally. I’d agree with other selections, though.
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