Murray Kinsella reports from Musgrave Park
THE IRELAND WOLFHOUNDS suffered a frustrating 18-9 defeat to the England Saxons in Cork this evening. You can read our full match report on the game here.
In this piece, we look at some of the Irish players who did their Six Nations prospects no harm against the Saxons.
The Leinster back row got through a strong 51-minute shift on his return from injury, announcing himself with a turnover penalty on Sam Burgess in the opening minute. Even better was the 12th-minute steal of Elliot Daly, as O’Brien positively bounced off the deck to jackal.
O’Brien leaves the pitch after 51 minutes of action. Source: James Crombie/INPHO
His carrying was largely in cluttered areas, but O’Brien happily did the dirty work there. In terms of tackling, that troublesome left shoulder took some heavy contact and seemingly came through unscathed.
How does Schmidt utilise O’Brien next weekend? The openside himself will naturally be desperate to start in Rome, but is there risk in that? Ireland’s medical staff may have some part to play in the decision, but O’Brien looks ready based on this evidence.
This was a highly productive evening for another of the all-Leinster starting back row, with Ryan prominent throughout. His lineout work was a particular highlight, with Richardt Strauss repeatedly aiming for Ryan in the air.
Ryan combines with Mike Ross to tackle Thomas Waldrom. Source: James Crombie/INPHO
A thumping first-minute tackle on Burgess set out Ryan’s stall in a physical sense, and the 24-year-old threw himself around the corner to carry in typical fashion. There are more high-profile back rows in the Ireland squad, but ‘Dippy’ continues to show his worth.
The fact that Ryan covers both flanker positions is useful too, and Schmidt has long been a fan. Tommy O’Donnell and Jordi Murphy are in the frame for Italy, as well as O’Brien, but Ryan has put his hand up in emphatic fashion.