RWC Game 2

RWC 2023

Ireland’s 2023 World Cup campaign got off to the perfect start with an 82-8 win over Romania who look a long way off the pace and according to an ex-coach Michael Bradley who also coached here in Ireland Romania have regressed so far that they are about 10 years behind Georgia in terms of preparation and all that goes with that particular aspect of things !!

Ireland did the needful and scored 12 tries which were evenly spread between forwards and backs. They need to work on the line out and the restart which were not where they need to be if this side can truly challenge at the top end of this competition.

Paul O Connell will need to help them fix the issues that continue to hold them back, losing Dan Sheehan and Ronan Kelleher hasn’t helped with consistency but both men are on the way back with Kelleher making a return from the bench last weekend.

I would be hopeful that the return to fitness of both men along with Jonathan Sexton’s return will have the desired impact. Sexton looked like hadn’t been absent for 6 months through injury and then suspension.

Bundee Aki got the opening chance to play alongside Garry Ringrose and took full advantage, he and Ringrose may make way for both Stuart Mc Closkey and Robbie Henshaw to face Tonga next Saturday at 8pm Irish time.  Henshaw was named on the bench for Saturday’s clash but was withdrawn after the captains run on Friday.

If he is deemed fit enough one thinks that both men will get the chance to stake a claim for a starting role. Not taking Tonga lightly will be key for Ireland next weekend. We have seen how ruthless and clinical they can be which is great to see. Watch the final few minutes and you’ll see a prime example of the clinical and ruthless edge I speak of. An end to end try started by Mack Hansen and finished by Tadgh Beirne.

The campaign started well and now it’s onto game two where Ireland will expect plenty of themselves as well as the travelling masses who will want more of the same against Tonga that was seen and in evidence last week.

Here is the 23 I would select for game 2 against Tonga –

15 Jimmy O Brien

14 Mack Hansen

13 Robbie Henshaw

12 Stuart Mc Closkey

11 Keith Earls

10 Jack Crowley

9 Conor Murray

8 Jack Conan

7 Josh Van Der Flier

6 Ryan Baird

5 Iain Henderson

4 Joe Mc Carthy

3 Finlay Bealham

2 Ronan Kelleher

1 Dave Kilcoyne

16 Rob Herring

17 Jeremy Loughman

18 Tom O Toole

19 James Ryan

20 Peter O Mahony

21 Craig Casey

22 Ross Byrne

23 Bundee Aki

This is the 23 I would select to play Tonga on Saturday night, time is now for this squad to hit their second marker….

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