ALL IN THE SCRUM:On a rare day off last Thursday, this column took in the Leinster A v Munster A game in Donnybrook. It was a good opportunity to see the progress of the recent graduate of the Ireland under-20s who, unlike Paddy Jackson and Iain Henderson, are not on the fast track and must serve their time before climbing the ladder.
Munster won 18-12 but it was the individual performances that were of more interest. Leinster continue with the potentially valuable experiment of switching former Clongowes Wood college flanker Jordan Coghlan to inside centre. Think Jamie Roberts although there is some way still to go. However, the standout performer was Leinster outhalf Noel Reid. And that’s factoring in the presence of more established backs like Dave Kearney, Felix Jones and Peter Stringer.
Try to make sense of pasting in Limerick
Fiji captain and Llanelli Scarlets prop Deacon Manu was asked, in the aftermath of Saturday’s pasting in Limerick, if there was simply not enough time or access to their players to make themselves competitive against a second string Irish team?
“Yeah, I guess I agree and disagree there. I think the more preparation we have the better we will be. ”
The obvious follow-on question: What’s the difference between Fiji and Samoa then?
“It’s hard to say without being in their camp. It some ways the score didn’t really reflect the effort the boys put in. Probably our execution of simple things compound things really.
“We were our worst enemy at times. Hard one to make a call on really.”
No answer at all really. To most observers the 53-0 final scoreline reflected exactly what was seen on the field; one rugby nation re-building, another in a downward spiral.
Stamp it out
The chief executive of the IRB, Brett Gosper, entered the disciplinary debate this week on Twitter by seemingly criticising the decision to give New Zealand backrower Adam Thompson just a one week suspension for stamping on Scotland’s Alasdair Strokosch. Gosper’s reply to a tweet to former England hooker Brian Moore was: “The IRB will review this case as it is a match under our jurisdiction. If we decide to take action we will make it public.”
The actual criticism of the Six Nations disciplinary panel came when Gosper retweeted the following: “Can you please tell me how I’m going to explain the disgraceful Adam Thompson decision to the kids at training on Sunday!”
All this despite Strokosch’s saying: “It certainly wasn’t malicious. There was no damage done. I wouldn’t take it any further. It wasn’t a big deal.”