Connect with us
//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});

6 Nations

Scotland v Italy preview: Don’t Believe the Hype?

Published

on

Photo by Danilo Di Giovanni/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Opening weekend has traditionally been a weak point for Scotland in the Six Nations. In the last 18 tournaments, Scotland have won two opening games, one in 2006, and most recently in 2017. Last year Scotland travelled to Cardiff on opening weekend and were comprehensively beaten. Two tries from Leigh Halfpenny led to a 34 – 7 win for the Welsh against an optimistic Scotland. The Scots were flying high after an impressive Autumn, coming within inches of a win against New Zealand but were humbled by an impressive Wales. There is a similar level of optimism this year but Scotland have had their troubles with the Italians in the past.

Embed from Getty Images

Last year Scotland travelled to Rome, with most expecting a win but were given quite the scare. Tommy Allan put on a clinic at fly-half, and Jake Polledri burst through the Scottish defensive line at will, but the fairytale was put to bed by the ever-reliable Greig Laidlaw, who kicked a penalty to save the day and make it 27-29 in favour of the visitors.

Embed from Getty Images

In fact, Italy’s last win in the championship came in Edinburgh four years ago. Scotland failing to turn up led to the visitors taking a three point victory.  Scotland in Murrayfield has now become a fearsome prospect; Scotland have not lost a game in Murrayfield in the Six Nations since a 9-15 loss to England in 2016.

Scotland are much stronger these days, and injuries are no longer the cause for concern they once were. Sean Maitland misses out this weekend through injury, as does Jonny Gray, but Blair Kinghorn and Grant Gilchrist have come in in place. Notably Glasgow centre Sam Johnson has been handed a debut, after missing out on a Test appearance through injury in the autumn. Scotland also have two debutants on the bench. Leicester hooker Jake Kerr will be in line to make his debut, as will Newcastle Falcons’ Gary Graham, who has returned from his reconnaissance mission with the England squad this time last year.

Embed from Getty Images

Italy have two big names missing from their squad, Full-back Matteo Minozzi will not be dazzling us with his dancing feet this year, as he has not recovered from an ACL injury.  Gloucester’s Jake Polledri will not bash from the back row this year, he also misses out through injury.

Sergio Parisse is in line to break the record for Six Nations appearances, going one ahead of Brian O’Driscoll. There will be a lot of eyes on Parisse this weekend. A less than stellar display in last years tournament led to calls for him to be dropped. Italy are not the one-man-team they used to be, and, whisper it, but may be better off without the man who led them so well in previous years. A certain line from The Dark Knight comes to mind “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. Regardless of nationality, everyone watching will hope that Parisse is back to his best, in  what will probably be his last Six Nations.

Embed from Getty Images

The Scotland hype train has left the station; a win at the Murrayfield fortress this weekend is likely for Toonie’s men, but they will need to have their wits about them, Conor O’Shea has been doing great work and will be improved since last year.

Prediction; Scotland by 10

Scotland: Stuart Hogg, Tommy Seymour, Huw Jones, Sam Johnson, Blair Kinghorn , Finn Russell, Greig Laidlaw ; Allan Dell, Stuart McInally, Willem Nel, Ben Toolis, Grant Gilchrist, Sam Skinner, Jamie Ritchie, Ryan Wilson .

Replacements: Jake Kerr, Jamie Bhatti, Simon Berghan, Gary Graham, Josh Strauss, Ali Price, Adam Hastings, Chris Harris

Italy: Jayden Hayward, Angelo Esposito, Luca Morisi, Tommaso Castello, Michele Campagnaro, Tommaso Allan, Tito Tebaldi; Andrea Lovotti, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Simone Ferrari, David Sisi, Dean Budd, Sebastian Negri, Braam Steyn, Sergio Parisse (capt).

Replacements: Luca Bigi, Cherif Traore, Tiziano Pasquali, Federico Ruzza, Jimmy Tuivaiti, Guglielmo Palazzani, Ian McKinley, Edoardo Padovani.

6 Nations

Two Uncapped Players In Ireland Squad For Italy Match

Published

on

(Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

There are two uncapped players included in the Ireland match day squad for the opening game of the Guinness Series against Italy on Saturday.

Munster’s Jean Kleyn will make his Ireland debut in the second row alongside Devin Toner in a new look Ireland side captained by Rhys Ruddock.

Ruddock is joined in the back row by Jordi Murphy and Tommy O’Donnell, who won the last of his 12 caps against Scotland in 2016.

Jack McGrath, Rob Herring and Andrew Porter are named in the front row.

Luke McGrath and Joey Carbery fill the half back positions with Chris Farrell and Garry Ringrose named in the centre.

Jordan Larmour is at fullback with Andrew Conway and David Kearney on the wings.

The uncapped Mike Haley is included in the replacements. He is joined by Niall Scannell, Cian Healy, John Ryan, Iain Henderson, Tadhg Beirne, Kieran Marmion and Jack Carty.

The match will be live on RTE and Channel 4.

Ireland Team & Replacements (v Italy, Guinness Series 2019, Saturday, August 10, Aviva Stadium, 2pm)

Player/Club/Province/Caps
15. Jordan Larmour (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 13 caps
14. Andrew Conway (Garryowen/Munster) 12 caps caps
13. Garry Ringrose (UCD/Leinster) 20 caps
12. Chris Farrell (Young Munster/Munster) 5 caps
11. Dave Kearney (Lansdowne/Leinster) 17
10. Joey Carbery (Clontarf/Munster) 18 caps
9. Luke McGrath (UCD/Leinster) 10 caps

1. Jack McGrath (St Marys College/Leinster) 54 caps
2. Rob Herring (Ballynahinch/Ulster) 7 caps
3. Andrew Porter (UCD/Leinster) 14 caps
4. Devin Toner (Lansdowne/Leinster) 64 caps
5. Jean Kleyn (Munster) 0 caps
6. Rhys Ruddock (St Mary’s College/Leinster) 21 caps Captain
7. Tommy O’Donnell (UL Bohemians/Munster) 12 caps
8. Jordi Murphy (Lansdowne/Ulster) 27 caps

Replacements
16. Niall Scannell (Dolphin/Munster) 14 caps
17. Cian Healy (Clontarf/Leinster) 88 caps
18. John Ryan (Cork Constitution/Munster) 18 caps
19. Iain Henderson (Queens University/Ulster) 44 caps
20. Tadhg Beirne (Lansdowne/Munster) 5 caps
21. Kieran Marmion (Galwegians/Connacht) 25 caps
22. Jack Carty (Buccaneers/Connacht) 3 caps
23. Mike Haley (Munster) 0 caps

The post Two Uncapped Players In Ireland Squad For Italy Match appeared first on Irish Rugby.

Images & Content from Irish Rugby & Images © Inpho Photography

Continue Reading

6 Nations

Alun Wyn Jones Announces Future Plans

Wales captain Alun Wyn Jones has confirmed his long-awaited decision for the future

Published

on

(Photo credit PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Image)

Alun Wyn Jones has announced that he has signed a contract extension with both the Welsh Rugby Union and the Ospreys until June 2021.

The second-row, who had been rumoured to be heading overseas come the end of the season has committed his future to his hometown region and confirmed the news on social media.

“I have some news I would like to share with you. I’m happy to announce that I have signed a contract extension to June 2021 with the Welsh Rugby Union and the Ospreys and will be playing at the Liberty Stadium for the foreseeable future,” he said.

The Welsh captain who has gone on to make 134 caps at test level (125 with Wales and 9 for the British & Irish Lions), admitted he considered all options available to him but decided to stay put.

“After serious consideration and taking stock of all options, it is the right decision for my career at this point in time, along with my personal ambitions on and off the field, my welfare, and needs of my family. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to tell you directly, in particular to the Ospreys supporters and all those who have supported me during my career to date. Thanks, Alun Wyn,” he added.

Jones is set to head to Switzerland this week for Wales’ first overseas training camp ahead of the Rugby World Cup, and WRU CEO Martyn Phillips is delighted that Jones will be remaining in the country after the tournament in Japan.

“This announcement is a huge boost for Welsh rugby. Alun Wyn is hugely respected across the game and I’m delighted he has committed his future here in Wales and that he will be continuing to play for his hometown region. It is a boost for the game both on and off the field and I’m sure the news will delight both Wales and Ospreys supporters alike as he continues to inspire the next generation. The extension allows the WRU and the Ospreys to continue working together with Alun Wyn to ensure he has the very best of environments to thrive in,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ospreys head coach Allen Clarke is also excited to have the clubs most capped player (238 caps) still in his squad and believes it is brilliant news for everyone in the region.

“Today’s announcement is fantastic news for us as a club and all Ospreys and Wales supporters. Alun Wyn is a man I have the upmost respect for; he is greatly admired not just because of what he has achieved and what he represents as a local boy playing for his home region and country but importantly because of the ambition and level of performance he consistently displays. He’s a tremendous individual and a winner with a deep hunger for the Ospreys to be successful on and off the field. Alun Wyn has spent his entire career with the Ospreys and I expect him to continue his legacy as a player and well beyond his playing days,” he said.

Jones’ announcement will be a massive boost for all Welsh Rugby supporters and will also be a motivation for the national team heading into the World Cup later this year as they look to add more silverware to their Six Nations Grand Slam from earlier in the year.

Watch every Guinness PRO14 Game - Only On Premier Sports.
Continue Reading

6 Nations

Ireland Add Final Piece to Backroom Puzzle

Ireland have confirmed their final addition to Andy Farrell’s coaching staff

Published

on

(Photo by Ashley Western/MB Media/Getty Images)

Former England coach Mike Catt has been announced as Ireland’s new attack coach come the end of the Rugby World Cup in Japan later this year.

Catt is currently coaching the Italian national side however; he will leave his post following the conclusion of the World Cup and take up the role of Ireland’s attack coach until 2023.

He is the last of the coaches to be named as a part of Andy Farrell’s backroom staff, with Farrell set to take over from Joe Schmidt once the tournament in Japan is completed.

Catt is delighted to be moving on to work with the Irish side but insists that he is solely focused on his current task with Italy.

“I am looking forward to the Rugby World Cup in Japan and seeing the group of players we have here in Italy fulfil their potential and achieve the objectives we have set for ourselves. Obviously, it is an honour to be given this future opportunity with Ireland, but I will focus on that challenge only after I have given my all for Italy and this group of players,” he said.

Farrell and Catt previously worked together while part of England’s coaching set-up for the 2015 Rugby World Cup and has plenty of experience which is appealing to IRFU performance director David Nucifora.

“Mike brings a wealth of experience to the coaching group and has been operating at the highest level of the international game for some time. He was a smart and innovative player, and he brings those attributes and much more besides in his approach to coaching and player development. We feel that we have secured a talented practitioner who will add significant value to the group and to the wider Irish system,” he said.

Along with Catt, Farrell has added John Fogarty as the side’s new scrum coach, while Simon Easterby and Richie Murphy will continue on as forwards specialist and kicking and skills coaches respectively.

Farrell will be hoping that he will take over the reigns following a successful World Cup campaign and will want to hit the ground running having put together a top-quality backroom set-up.

Continue Reading

Trending