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13th Nov 2018

“I think Ireland were trying to see if they could cope without him at the weekend and they couldn’t”

Michael Corry


There has been a lot of talk about what XV Ireland should start against the All Blacks this weekend.

Saturday’s test match is extremely important. Not only are we heading into a World Cup year, but Ireland are currently second in Rugby’s World Rankings, so Saturday’s game is a grudge match between the two best teams in the world.


Ireland have a chance, for the first time ever, to go top of the rankings and finish 2018 as the best team in the world. A feat that would be very much deserved given the calibre of year the sport has had on these shores.

The stakes are high, which means Joe Schmidt has to pick the right team.

What is the right team though? Ireland have the luxurious problem of too many players, too few positions.


One hotly contested area of the pitch is the second row. Ireland have four solid options in; Devin Toner, James Ryan, Iain Henderson and Tadhg Beirne. You could pick any two of these four and be happy with the selection.

Against Italy in Chicago, Schmidt opted for Beirne and Toner. He changed against Argentina going with Ryan and Henderson.

Something has got to give against the All Blacks on Saturday.

On this week’s episode of Baz and Andrew’s House of Rugby, the lads discussed who will get the nod against New Zealand. Both Andrew Trimble and producer, Pat McCarry were in total agreement as to who has to start.

“I think they were trying to see if they could cope without him at the weekend and they couldn’t, Devin Toner.” McCarry said.

“So, I’d bring Devin Toner back in, things just got so much better when he came on, he even disrupted the Argentinian lineout, Peter O’Mahony got a steal because they didn’t want to throw to the back were Toner was. 


“So, I’d bring Toner back in and pair him with James Ryan which is bad news for Iain Henderson who played well around the pitch, but maybe if you want this lineout to work I’d get Toner in.”

It’s important to note that Tadhg Beirne scored two tries against Italy and won the man of the match award, yet he finds himself totally out of the picture with regards to this coming weekend.

“Yeah, there’s just so much competition there at the minute. Obviously Tadhg Beirne as well, it’s weird having seen him go so well in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, that he’s not still in the conversation.” Trimble said.

“Again, I thought Iain Henderson went really well, but as you said, you need to get that lineout sorted, Dev did really well when he came on.

“This could change, if you played the All Blacks every weekend, this could change every single week, but this is the big one, you need to get it right”

You need to get it right. Saturday is going to be huge!