2018 Six Nations – Ireland vs Wales Under 20

Ireland Vs Wales Under 20

So Ireland were narrowly beaten last night in the3rd game of this season’s Under 20 Six Nations, Wales for their part are now very well in tune with this new Welsh approach of attacking rugby where looking for an outside shoulder or offloading is key.  

Ireland for their part will look at the lack of control at every restart as one key reason why they didn’t get any closer than within 3 points of Wales. This now means that Ireland will be looking to the final two games against Scotland in two weeks and England away to salvage this campaign.

Looking at some positives from last night, the performance of Jack O Sullivan, Angus Curtis and Tommy O Brien who was shifted from centre to the right wing. These three men where key to the Irish comeback in the 1st half.

Also the line out and scrum are also big positives heading into the final two games and also in the long term with an eye of the World Championship in France this summer. They will hopefully have a number of key men back to go into that campaign. It was heartening to see such good attacking play throughout the 80 minutes from both teams although both defences will know they will need to improve over the coming weeks.

Last night also showed how important it is to have a strong pairing at half back to guide the team around the field, Jonny Stewart and Harry Byrne have shown that they can be a good partnership and this has to be the pairing that the 20s coaching set up goes with barring injury for the next few games.

Let’s hope they can pick up some good results before the end of the Six Nations and bring that form into the World Championship in France next summer.


Cian Mc Gibney


2018 Six Nations – Winning Menatality

Ireland Winning Mentality

Looking at all that has been written this week in the build up to the game this weekend , Ireland will need to gain a victory over a side they have struggled to beat consistently since Warren Gatland took over in 2007. On the eve of his 100th Test as Welsh head coach you can be sure his men will want to come to Dublin and gain victory.

Ireland have made a few enforced changes because of injury. Like 2015 against Argentina , they will be without 5 first choice players but unlike 2015 there are able deputies will to step in , Chris Farrell into the side alongside Bundee Aki , Andrew Porter in to fill the massive boots of Tadgh Furlong only a few months after making his move from loose to tighthead.

Devin Toner returns to the side in place of Iain Henderson. Ireland may be shorn of 5 key men but it is time we trusted these players and see how they get on. As the 2015 World Cup showed you need these players to step up when needed and not to fear the International stage.

Yes Wales will have some key men back to ease the burden on men like Gareth Davies and the centre pairing of Parkes and Scott Williams. Ireland will know all about the lapses late on two weeks in Dublin against Italy and if they happen again Wales will take full advantage and we could find ourselves in the same boat as the Scots in Cardiff.

Joe Schmidt is still the most forensically clever coach I have ever seen he really doesn’t leave anything to chance.  He will have his troops well schooled and drilled; Wales still have a Championship to play for whereas for the time being it’s all still on for Ireland.

Ireland don’t do favourites very well, I feel it is time we as a nation embraced the favourites tag and realised it isn’t something to fear. Let’s hope Ireland can transform all the possession into points tomorrow and they give Wales the type of reception that they haven’t received in Dublin for as few season’s since the last World Cup.

Ireland will need to box clever in this game and be squeaky clean in all facets and let’s face it, these are two teams who for the most part don’t give away many penalties in any game. This game has all the makings of a classic let’s hope it will leave up to the major billing and deliver another classic Six Nations encounter.

Another major concern is if anything happens to Jonathan Sexton who has now entered that critical category of most needed players , John Hayes and Ronan O Gara were two of those men so important over their careers.  Joey Carbery will be in the number 22 shirt tomorrow and will come into the side if anything happens to Sexton , the big question will be has he the temperament to manage this type of game , he has the skill so here’s hoping everything else falls into place.

Roll on 2.15 tomorrow….


Cian Mc Gibney


2018 Six Nations

Ireland Vs Wales

Ireland face Wales this weekend in the 3rd round of this year’s Six Nations, after the results against Wales in the last two years, a 16 all draw in 2016 and a 22-9 defeat in Cardiff last year. This particular fixture has been one of the trickiest ties since he took the job in 2013.

Injuries to Robbie Henshaw and Luke Mc Grath in the last few weeks have cast a shadow on the good results of the opening two weekends.  Gary Ringrose , Rory Scannell and John Cooney have been called into the squad to train this week ahead of Wales on Saturday.

Looking at what has gone before this fixture won’t be as easy as turn up and walk away with the win. This game will be won up front and will take a monumental effort to keep the hopes of at the very least a Championship win on track for another few weeks. Ireland have managed this campaign very well, one hopes that they can attack Wales and see where that will take them.

The Irish defence needs to sharpen up and you can be sure in the down week , Andy Farrell has put his charges through a few rigours sessions and they can iron out some chinks that may have been spotted against Italy. All the talk this year is of a winner take all clash on March 17th in London but let’s not get carried away with ourselves just yet, if Ireland do the business then and maybe only at full time this Saturday people may be able to get excited of what lies ahead but the players will be fixed on 2.15 this Saturday.

This campaign is of course set up perfectly for the game that everyone wants and of course that is England in Twickenham on St Patricks Day at the end of the Cheltenham week. Of course that is the ideal picture and we have been here before and hopefully we will be here again. Let’s just see how this weekend goes first and then bring on the rest.

Here is the XV I would select to take on Wales,

15 Rob Kearney

14 Keith Earls

13 Bundee Aki

12 Rory Scannell

11 Jacob Stockdale

10 Jonathan Sexton

9 Conor Murray

8 Jack Conan

7 Dan Leavy

6 Peter O Mahony

5 James Ryan

4 Iain Henderson

3 Tadgh Furlong

2 Rory Best

1 Cian Healy

16 Sean Cronin

17 Jack Mc Grath

18 Andrew Porter

19 Ultan Dillane

20 CJ Stander

21 John Cooney

22 Joey Carbery

23 Andrew Conway


Cian Mc Gibney


Ireland Vs Italy

Ireland Vs Italy

Ireland take on Italy this weekend in the second game of this year’s Six Nations Championship. Ireland won in dramatic fashion last Saturday thanks to a last gasp Jonathan Sexton drop goal. This win keeps alive the hopes of a Championship win for the first time since 2015.

Ireland will need to improve in certain aspects of their game plan if they are to beat Italy this weekend and beyond in this campaign. Ireland created a few try scoring chances early in the game against France in the first half. They failed to take any of the chances that they created and this particular aspect of Irish play is a source of concern.

Yes Ireland win a large percentage of the games they play by tight margins and they don’t score too many tries and this will come back at them at some point in the future. Joe Schmidt is a man that always seems to have a plan and in most cases it works although in the 2015 World Cup Quarter Final the best laid plans were left in ribbons when several key players were ruled out through injury and Argentina ran riot in the opening 20 minutes and the game was gone. They came back into that game in the 2nd half but alas that was too late.

Getting back to the game coming up this weekend , Ireland will know they need to make improvements and they will need to do more than just maul and use the line out as an attacking weapon. They will need to use their half backs to try and launch certain plays to see can they cross the whitewash.

The man with the plan Joe Schmidt will know the majority of the 80 minutes last weekend wasn’t good enough and you can be sure that they will try to correct all the wrongs from the French game. Looking to the positives from the game , James Ryan in particular stepped up and was counted along with Peter O Mahony and a number of other players who will hope to continue that good form on Saturday afternoon.

Ireland play a very structured game and have become very clever playing this game since Joe Schmidt came onboard in 2013. Joe Schmidt has been commended for turning Leinster into the best attacking club side in world rugby and you can be sure that his well stocked play book will be seen over the coming weeks, Ireland may need to stick to playing the structured game they have become so adept at playing but they will need to call upon his play book in this Championship to beat the other sides.

Let’s hope that Ireland will find the right mix between the hard edge and soft hands. So its time now to see can Ireland get the Italian job done.


Cian Mc Gibney