Thursday, January 28, 2010


Well not so much Ireland itself but certainly an unusually high number of its players have played more than 90 test matches. In fact it's going to be a race to see who gets there first.

This is the second 6 Nations preview article. England were first under the spotlight in yesterday's article.

First up in the 2010 Six Nations International Championship is Italy. Veteran prop John Hayes is on 97 tests and has a slight lead on captain Brian O'Driscoll who sits on 96 test caps. Then we have Ronan O'Gara on 93. These three are still regular selections for Ireland and barring injury or a sudden loss of form, they should all reach 100 tests caps for Ireland by the time the second test against South Africa is played in June. That's seven tests away.

Brian O'Driscoll could well lead Ireland to a second Grand Slam. Image thansk to

Peter Stringer, on 91 tests, will not reach that mark this season. He's also not been the first choice scrum half for Ireland of recent making that 100 mark to look a long way off. At aged 32 he is getting to the 'old legs' stage of his career

Not selected in the elite squad of 42 is another veteran Malcolm O'Kelly. Still playing well for Leinster he has been left stranded on 91. At aged 35 he is not as old as Hayes but has been out of the Ireland mix now since the 2009 Six Nations. Girven Dempsey, on 86, is also out of contention although he is still playing fullback for Leinster. At aged 34 a comeback to the Irish side looks unlikely.

Ireland won the Six Nations Championship in 2009 and also won the 'Grand Slam' title, the first time since 1948. The euphoric reaction of Irish rugby fans echoed around the world. It was a great day for Ireland and a long time coming.

The Irish followed that Grand Slam win with a very successful Autumn international series. A 20-20 draw with Australia, a 41-6 win over Fiji and a 15-10 win over the mighty Springbox.

The challenge for Ireland is whether an ageing team can again sweep all before it. It was said that the 2003 English side was too old. Well those tired old legs carried off the World Cup. The tough games will be against France and England. Those two matches will be away

PREDICTION: If Ireland can defeat both France and England away, then I think they might just win the championship again. As for the Grand Slam? There are a few near test centurions who would give just one last fling to make two Grand Slams in a row. There is enough Irish blood in me to go along with that thought!

John Hayes
Veteran 36 year old John Hayes is poised on 97 caps for Ireland. Image thanks to

IRELAND Squad (2010 RBS 6 Nations Championship):

Rory Best (Ulster)
Isaac Boss (Ulster)
Tommy Bowe (Neth Swansea Ospreys, Wales)
Anthony Buckley (Munster)
Thomas Court (Ulster)
Sean Cronin (Connacht)
Leo Cullen (Leinster)
Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster)
Ian Dowling (Munster)
Keith Earls (Munster)
Stephen Ferris (Ulster)
Declan Fitzpatrick (Ulster)*
Jerry Flannery (Munster)
John Fogarty (Leinster)*
John Hayes (Munster)
Cian Healy (Leinster)
James Heaslip (Leinster)
Christopher Henry (Ulster)*
Marcus Horan (Munster)
Shane Horgan (Leinster)
Denis Hurley (Munster)
Shane Jennings (Leinster)
Robert Kearney (Leinster)
Fergus McFadden (Leinster)*
Kevin McLaughlin (Leinster)*
Johne Murphy (Leicester, England)*
Donncha O'Callaghan (Cork Constitution/Munster)
Paul O'Connell (Munster)
Michael O'Driscoll (Munster)
Brian O'Driscoll (Leinster)
Ronan O'Gara (Munster)
Tomas O'Leary (Munster)
Sean O'Brien (Leinster)
Eoin Reddan (Leinster)
Michael Ross (Leinster)
Donnacha Ryan (Munster)
Jonathan Sexton (Leinster)
Peter Stringer (Munster)
Devin Toner (Leinster)*
Andrew Trimble (Ulster)
Daniel Tuohy (Ulster)*
David Wallace (Munster)
Patrick Wallace (Ulster)
Brett Wilkinson (Connacht)*

* Denotes uncapped player

No comments:

Post a Comment