The depth of talent in Irish rugby is at its best ever. Barring a couple of standouts (Murray, Sexton, Furlong), every position has a player of equal ability ready to step in. This is an Irish XV made of some of
Loosehead Prop: Peter Dooley
The Offaly man was probably the one who benefited most from Andrew Porter’s switch to tighthead. Should have much more opportunities to show his ability and challenge Cian Healy now that Jack Mac’s move north has been finalised.
Hooker: Rhys MarshallEmbed from Getty Images
A residency pick; Marshall is Irish qualified in this year. Has all the standard hooker skills, plus a cultured boot and surprising pace. Adam McBurney and Ronan Kelleher are two other young promising players that need more provincial gametime.
Tighthead Prop: Tom O’Toole
Tom O’Toole is a beast. Only 20 years old but is a certain Irish international in the future. A monstrous scrummager for a guy so inexperiencedEmbed from Getty Images
Second Row: Fineen Wycherley
The man from west Cork is still very young but is making his presence but he doesnt let it hold him back, having already made 6 appearances for MunsterEmbed from Getty Images
Second Row: Ross MolonyEmbed from Getty Images
Thought of by many as Leo Cullen 2.0, the Leinster man is already a leader in the pack, and has captained his province several times.
Blindside: Caelan DorisEmbed from Getty Images
The latest product of Leinster’s never ending back row supply, the Mayo man is a number 8 by trade,
Openside: Nick TimoneyEmbed from Getty Images
Number 8: Max DeeganEmbed from Getty Images
An Ireland cap is surely not far away for Max Deegan. Formerly U20 player of the year, Deegan has one of the most complete skill sets of any back row forward in the country, and will soon overtake Jack Conan if he continues on the way he is going.
Scrum-half: Caolin BladeEmbed from Getty Images
The Connacht 9 has a similar style to his teammate Kieran Marmion; both are small, fast, and lively threat around the ruck. Blade has taken more of a leadership role in Connacht this season, captaining the side for the first time in the last few weeks.
Out-Half: Billy BurnsEmbed from Getty Images
Ulster’s new arrival, Burns hasn’t been setting the world alight like his teammate Will Addison, but he’s keeping Ulster ticking over well, and showing flashes of brilliance as he settled in more, some beautiful cross-kicks against Racing coming to mind. He may not be individually flashy, but he brings his teammates into the game well, and is forming a solid partnership with John Cooney.
Wing: Rob Lyttle
One thing they do well up north is a winger, and Lyttle is the latest example. Quick, decent in the air, and has a good step. Having played under two of Ireland’s greatest ever wingers at Ulster, and having one of the country’s best ever broken-field runners at his club will have done great things for his development. Has had his injury troubles but could be a star for Ulster within a few years.Embed from Getty Images
Inside Centre: JJ HanrahanEmbed from Getty Images
Generally deployed at 10 for Munster, the Kerryman spent a lot of his time at Northampton playing at first centre, and is very capable there, seeming to flourish when given less responsibility than the 10 jersey
Outside Centre: Tom FarrellEmbed from Getty Images
Farrell has been outstanding for Connacht ever since he arrived, a constant source of go-forward in the Connacht backline. One of the players most deserving of an Ireland cap, but unlikely to get one barring an injury crisis.
Wing: Barry DalyEmbed from Getty Images
Daly got his chance last season and grabbed it with both hands. Great in the air, and stronger than he looks, Daly’s claim to fame is he is the fastest player in the Leinster squad, and indeed in Irish rugby. Daly has not gone unnoticed by Joe Schmidt; he spent time in Ireland camp around the Six Nations ;ast year year
Full-Back: Michael LowryEmbed from Getty Images
Lowry has been given some serious responsibility this season for Ulster. Injuries saw Will Addison move to outside centre, so Lowry got the nod for Ulster’s opening Champion’s Cup games. Lowry looked at home on the biggest stage in club rugby. Ulster’s answer to Jordan Larmour, the 20 year old is a livewire in attack, with dancing feet and speed. For a young player, he’s very composed, and is competent defensively for such an inexperienced player in what is probably the most important defensive position
New Springboks Head Coach Announced
The Springboks have confirmed their new coach and his coaching staff
The Springboks have confirmed that Jacques Nienaber has been promoted from assistant coach to head coach.
Nienaber takes over from World Cup winning coach Rassie Erasmus, who has moved to the director of rugby role and the new head coach will report directly to Erasmus in his new position.
Speaking on the unveiling Erasmus believed that Nienaber is the perfect man to take over from him due to his experience with the side already.
“Jacques is highly experienced and has worked with the Springboks on three separate occasions now so knows exactly what the job is about. Jacques will be responsible for the Test match preparation and day-to-day team operations but, as the director of rugby, I will be with the team for the majority of the time and in the coaches’ box with Jacques at matches. I’ll still be responsible for the strategy and results with Jacques taking operational control. The structure allows the director of rugby to spend more time on other aspects of the role,” he said.
Nienaber himself is delighted to have the chance to manage the reigning World Cup holders and is looking forward to the challenge ahead.
“This is a massive honour and responsibility, but I have a good understanding of what it entails, especially in this new structure. I’ve worked with Rassie in a coaching capacity for nearly two decades now and we have a very good idea of how each of us thinks and as I’ll still be reporting to him our working relationship won’t be changing. It’s a big step-up for me in terms of carrying the day-to-day leadership role and there will be other adjustments but in many ways, it will also be business as usual. We’ve built up a good culture over the past two years and we’ll simply be looking to extend that,” he said.
Elsewhere, there is a tactical shuffle of coaches with Nienaber’s promotion as Mzwandile Stick coming into the assistant coach role, while former Ireland international Felix Jones remains in the set-up, but is now a European-based coaching consultant.
There are two new appointments as well in the coaching set-up with Deon Davids and Daan Human, the Bulls scrum coach, sharing the role of the forwards coach, taking over from Matt Proudfoot.
The changes are at a minimal to try and keep the harmony with the current squad following their incredible season last year and they will be hoping to continue where they left off later this year.
Borthwick Confirms New Job Already
Steve Borthwick confirmed his departure from the England set-up yesterday and less than 24 hours his new role has been announced
It is a move that has been rumoured for some time and with Borthwick announcing his departure from the England set-up yesterday after over four years with them, many expected that he would be heading in the Tigers direction.
However, the speed at which the confirmation has come about is the only surprise, but the former England international is delighted to be given the chance to manage the Tigers after learning so much from working with Eddie Jones since 2012.
“The last four-and-a-half years working with the England team has been an incredible journey. I have worked with some brilliant players and staff. In particular, I would like to thank Eddie Jones. To have worked with one of the greatest head coaches in the world for so long has been an unbelievable experience. I’m delighted to be joining Leicester Tigers as head coach. The Tigers have such a long and successful history and are one of the greatest rugby clubs in the game. Welford Road, with the special atmosphere created by the club’s incredible supporters roaring their team forward, is a very special place to be. We must now work to build upon that great history and create our future to get this club to the top of European rugby. It is a brilliant challenge and I am excited to start working with the players and everybody associated with the team. Geordan provides a link with the club’s greatest teams and we will be working together to ensure that there are many successful days ahead for this club, and for our supporters to enjoy,” he said.
He will be welcomed into the club with open arms after being part of the Japanese national set-up that stunned the world at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, before switching to England where he has won two Six Nations titles and reached a World Cup final.
His arrival sees current head coach Geordan Murphy changes his role at the club, taking up the position of director of rugby and club chairman Peter Tom believes that the two former stars can build back a Tigers team that has struggled lately.
“The appointment of Steve Borthwick as head coach and Geordan Murphy in the role of director of rugby provides an exciting combination of leadership, expertise and experience to drive the club forward in its desire to challenge for major honours again. The club has enjoyed many of its greatest successes with a blend of the Tigers DNA alongside fresh, innovative ideas from outside, both among the players and the coaching staff, and we look forward to Geordan and Steve leading that in their respective new roles,” he said.
Both Borthwick and Murphy will be hoping to bring the Premiership side back to the top level of the game come next season, but before then they have their separate tasks, with Borthwick guiding England through the upcoming Six Nations, while Murphy attempts to take the Tigers further up the Premiership table.
England Coach Set for Departure
England have confirmed that one of their coaches will leave at the end of the season and they already have his replacement sorted
England have confirmed that assistant coach Steve Borthwick will leave his role come the end of the season.
The 57-cap former England international has been involved with head coach Eddie Jones since 2012, having previously held the role of Japan’s forwards coach.
However, in 2016 the two left for England, during which time they have picked up two Six Nations crowns and made it to the Rugby World Cup final last year, but Borthwick admits following the tournament in Japan he made the decision to call time on his current role.
“I am very proud of what we have achieved as a team since 2016, culminating in a Rugby World Cup Final last year. Having come back from Japan, spent time with my family and reflected on my time with England, I have decided to step away from the role towards the end of the season,” he said.
Speaking on his departure head coach Eddie Jones praised his assistant’s impact and confirmed he will be missed around the camp.
“I have had a great seven years with Steve. He is a loyal, hard-working and analytical coach but I understand he needs now to get out on his own following this campaign. He’s made that decision and we are really pleased for him. He created a great lineout for England and really developed the young guys. If you look at someone like Maro Itoje, he’s become a world-class lock under Steve. He has also turned our maul into a weapon for us and he’s done brilliant work co-ordinating the England programme. We will miss him greatly,” he said.
The Rugby Football Union have already announced that Jason Ryle will take on the position in November and he is delighted to have the opportunity.
“I am really excited about the opportunity to work in a world-class programme with the England national team and someone like Eddie with his experience is very appealing for me. It will be a real honour to work with some of the best coaches and so many quality England player,” he said.
Ryle is currently the assistant coach at Australian rugby league side Melbourne Storm, where he has been since 2016, but this will be a huge step up for him.
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