Gilroy's performance on Millennium stage proves a convincing narrative
Stepping up is the phrase. That’s just what Gilroy has done on demand.
“I enjoy it almost even more at that speed,” he said. “The fast play suits my style of rugby, especially from broken play. That is beneficial to me and if I get the ball in a bit of space . . . It (international match) is a bit of everything, really. It is very fast, more physical. Even the intensity to it at the breakdown . . .
“It was a pretty big step up. It is funny when you hear guys talking about it. You are playing them with their Welsh clubs week-in and week-out and it is the same guys. But when you step up it seems much more intensified.”
The last time Gilroy faced England was at Under-20 level and Ireland lost. Owen Farrell played inside centre that day. But for Gilroy’s generation the fear of English might is no longer as acute and they hope to “prove a point”.
No concern, no baggage and what a difference that makes.
England changes Haskell set to start with Tuilagi on bench
England’s backrow, rather than their midfield, will be the key point of difference when Stuart Lancaster finally confirms his starting XV today to face Ireland in Dublin. The English side will feature a return for James Haskell of Wasps at flanker and a new role, at number eight, for Northampton’s Tom Wood but the existing centre combination of Brad Barritt and Billy Twelvetrees is set to remain in situ.
Lancaster may have selected differently had Manu Tuilagi been in rampaging form on the training ground following his ankle injury but the management, for now, is understood to have opted to stick with the same back division that performed so well against Scotland at Twickenham last weekend. Tom Youngs is being tipped to retain his place at hooker in preference to Dylan Hartley, which leaves Haskell for the injured Ben Morgan as the only change in personnel.
Ryan Jones will return to captain Wales against France in Paris tomorrow after Sam Warburton was ruled out through injury.
Jones has recovered from a thumb problem to lead Wales for a record 30th time as blindside flanker along with openside Justin Tipuric, who comes in for the benched Aaron Shingler. Richard Hibbard replaces Matthew Rees at hooker.
WALES (v France): L Halfpenny; G North, J Davies, J Roberts, A Cuthbert; D Biggar, M Phillips; G Jenkins, R Hibbard, A Jones, A Coombs, I Evan, R Jones (capt), J Tipuric, T Faletau. Replacements: K Owens, P James, C Mitchell, L Reed, A Shingler, L Williams, J Hook, S Williams.
FRANCE (v Wales): Y Huget; W Fofana, M Bastareaud, M Mermoz, B Fall; F Michalak, M Machenaud; Y Forestier, D Szarzewski, N Mas, J Suta, Y Maestri, F Ouedraogo, T Dusautoir (capt), L Picamoles. Replacements: B Kayser, V Debaty, L Ducalcon, R Toafifenua, D Chouly, M Parra, F Trinh-Duc, F Fritz.
ITALY (v Scotland): A Masi; G Venditti, T Benvenuti, G Canale, L McLean; L Orquera, T Botes; A Lo Cicero, L Gharaldini, M Castrogiovanni, Q Geldenhuys, F Minto, A Zanni, S Favaro, S Parisse (capt). Replacements: D Giazzon, A De Marchi, L Cittadini, A Pavanello, P Derbyshire, E Gori, K Burton, G Garcia.