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Thread: Sneak Peak: Ireland vs Wales

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    Sneak Peak: Ireland vs Wales

    There is a bit of an air of excitement coming into the knock-out stages of the World Cup. Two sides to the draw and two hemispheres locking horns on the pathway to glory. There will be no shortage of passion in this World Cup. Soon to be Four Nations rivals Argentina and New Zealand play off for the first time since 2006 in what will likely be a bruising encounter. Australia take on South Africa for the third time this year and will hope to make it three from three. Of the northern hemisphere sides, traditional foes England and France will scrap out what is likely to be a dour thriller- an oxymoron I know, but poor skills and aerial ping-pong will be made up for a by a close score line. But before all of these games kick off there will be a monster mash of Celtic proportions between Wales and Ireland. Letís take a look...

    The Form Guide
    While Wales can claim honours in an overall win/loss record over Ireland, the Irish have had the wood over the Welsh in the last 10 years. Through 10 Six Nations tournaments Wales have won just three matches; for the 2005 and 2008 grand slams as well as 2011. The Irish will be licking their chops at the prospect of a quarter final against Wales.

    There may be a lot of emotional overflow in this one as the two teamsí last encounter, the 19-13 Welsh win in the 2011 Six Nations, was highly controversial. The match winning try by Mike Phillips came from a quick line-out with a different ball. The incensed Irish protested to referee Jonathan Kaplan, who to his credit checked with the TJ, but was given incorrect advice and allowed the try. The Irish came despairingly close to taking the game at the death yet were unable to capitalise on an overlap and a media storm over the match ensued. Letís hope there isnít a repeat of the same nonsense from Craig Joubert this weekend.

    Adding to this will be the simple fact that a Rugby World Cup semi-final will be on the line. Ireland have never progressed past the quarter finals in a World Cup while Wales havenít seen semi-final action since 1987. They are both doing better than their last World Cup where neither team made it out of the pool stages! Both teams will fancy their chances in this one and will eagerly await playing the winner of England and France.

    It is hard to say which team has been in better form in the pool stage. Ireland went through their pool undefeated yet they struggled at times and didnít exactly inspire in their victories over the USA and Italy. Wales, on the other hand, lost their first up match against South Africa by a solitary point but have put on some fine displays in their other games. Have Wales learnt what it takes from their loss to South Africa? Can Ireland steam on and continue to build momentum?

    The Stars So Far
    For Ireland it most of the chatter has to be centred on the efforts of their forward pack. Stephen Ferris and Sean OíBrien have formed a deadly duo in the back row. Their efforts at the breakdown and in the tackle contest effectively won their pool decider with the Wallabies. Walesí captain Sam Warburton has also impressed, but factor in the rest of the Irish pack such as Paul OíConnell, Jamie Heaslip and Donncha OíCallaghan and there is a lot to content with. The game management and kicking skills of Jonny Sexton have also won him plaudits from every direction. Ireland certainly have the goods to roll out the kind of 10 man rugby that can clinch games in tournament play.

    For Wales a lot of the attention has been directed at the backline. Mike Phillips has impressed and he has certainly made things easier for young Rhys Priestland. Jamie Roberts has won himself a lot of applause although he will need to back up his efforts in the pool stage to gain more meaningful recognition. Most of the talk, however, has been centred on star winger George North. And why not? The 19 year old winger has the physique of a back rower and the speed and agility of an outside back. If that werenít dangerous enough, he has the nose for the try-line and has picked up almost as many tries in internationals as he has played tests. With Shane Williams likely to occupy the other wing, it will be very dangerous for Ireland if the ball gets some air.

    What It Will Come Down To
    This match is setting itself up nicely to be an absolute blockbuster. There isnít a whole lot between these two teams and no obvious deficiencies. Never has either side seen a clearer run through to the final. And how much would it mean for each country?

    I think this one will come down to the speed of the game. Now whether itís due to the weather, the referee or the players themselves, this will be decided in the pace of the game. I doubt Wales would fancy themselves in a forward tussle when you consider the kicking game of Sexton and having OíGara on the bench. The Irish line-out is pretty handy too. I think the Welsh will see the opportunity to build up some momentum and get the ball out to their dangerous backs. Ireland too have a star studded backline, however it has been under-utilised thus far and may struggle under pressure. Ireland are also without a recognised open side flanker, despite Sean OíBrienís impressive performances, and may struggle to maintain control in an up-tempo game. Wales were able to snatch their last win over Ireland, albeit questionably, by playing the ball quickly and taking the Irish by surprise. They should look to do that again.

    The Prediction
    The bookies have Ireland at slight favourites for this one (Ireland 1.75 and Wales 2.00 courtesy of your friendly neighbourhood vBookie) and that is pretty understandable. Ireland have a more experienced side and have the benefit of 4 straight wins. The forecast at the moment is for cloudy with possible light showers but it still could be quite blustery wind-wise. Instinct says that windy conditions like you would expect in Wellington would favour Ireland who donít typically have the luxury of Millennium Stadium and its retractable roof. But then again, perhaps the win will disrupt the Irish kicking game. Hmmm. Youíd still have to bank on Ireland. By multiples of 3. Ireland by 9.

    Teams
    TBA

    What do you think?

    Note: Sorry I havenít been keeping on top of match previews/reviews. I have been in Kununurra/Halls Creek/Kalumburu/Wyndham for the last 6 weeks and havenít had the time/energy/internet connection to do anything meaningful.

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  2. #2
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    Ohh I forgot to add.

    If you could have 1 player from the Irish team and 1 player from the Welsh team playing for the , who would you pick?

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    Legend Contributor Thequeerone's Avatar
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    Tommy Bowe - the force needs wingers and Welshrugbyguy likes him too and he likes the Ospreys

    Leigh Halfpenny (wales) for the other wing or fullback

    Sort of a theme running through my selections for the force - we are excellent at getting the ball, the problem seems to be getting the courage to do something with it when we do.

    Prediction for Welsh Irish Game - the Pubs will win, will be disappointed not to hear of a couple of pubs running dry as this will be not only one of the most evenly balanced games but both sets of supporters have excellent voices and a grudging respect for the other team's players and from.

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    Good call on the pubs.

    I prefer Kearney over Bowe. I quite like the ball running ability of the Ireland back row too. I think the Force lack a guy who can reliably get over the gain line off slow ball.

    From Wales I'd take Mike Phillips or one of the Welsh tightheads.

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    Champion welshrugbyfan's Avatar
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    Jamie Roberts and Paul O'Connell.

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    Sharpie and O'Connell would make a pretty dynamite combo. Roberts a personal favourite WRF?

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    Adam Jones - partly for the hair, but also because he's a devastating tighthead.

    Jon Sexton - because fly-half seems to be a problem position for us and he's been good enough to keep Ronan O'Gara on the sidelines for the last couple of years.

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    Legend Contributor slomo's Avatar
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    Wales were very impressive at the weekend against Fiji....... Wales to win by10.....

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    (formerly known as Coach) Your Humble Servant Darren's Avatar
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    Irish team named:

    15 - Robert Kearney (UCD/Leinster)
    14 - Tommy Bowe (Ospreys)
    13 - Brian O'Driscoll (UCD/Leinster) Captain
    12 - Gordon D'Arcy (Lansdowne/Leinster)
    11 - Keith Earls (Young Munster/Munster)
    10 - Ronan O'Gara (Cork Constitution/Munster)
    9 - Conor Murray (Garryowen/Munster)
    1 - Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster)
    2 - Rory Best (Banbridge/Ulster)/Sean Cronin (Leinster)
    3 - Mike Ross (Clontarf/Leinster)
    4 - Donncha O'Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster)
    5 - Paul O'Connell (Young Munster/Munster)
    6 - Stephen Ferris (Dungannon/Ulster)
    7 - Sean O'Brien (Clontarf/Leinster)
    8 - Jamie Heaslip (Naas/Leinster)

    Replacements:
    16 - Sean Cronin (Leinster)/Damien Varley (Garryowen/Munster)
    17 - Tom Court (Malone/Ulster)
    18 - Donnacha Ryan (Shannon/Munster)
    19 - Denis Leamy (Cork Constitution/Munster)
    20 - Eoin Reddan (Lansdowne/Leinster)
    21 - Jonathan Sexton (St. Mary's College/Leinster)
    22 - Andrew Trimble (Ballymena/Ulster)


    Head to Head stats for Ireland -v- Wales

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    Champion welshrugbyfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James View Post
    Sharpie and O'Connell would make a pretty dynamite combo. Roberts a personal favourite WRF?
    Him and George North are superb at running the ball up. Both are built like flankers with speed to burn.

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    I'm with Slomo. It'll be close, but Wales will come out on top. Ireland put a lot into the Wallabies and Italy games.

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    I wouldn't take much out of the Fiji game as Fiji have been pretty terrible this tournament

    I still think Wales will win

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    Senior Player DinkyDi's Avatar
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    Wales by 12

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    Legend Contributor Thequeerone's Avatar
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    TG is going to become Orish for a day a long with all the other bookies

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