Thursday 17 January 2019

Saxons have too much for Wolfhounds Irish women can kill off the Azzurri

Ireland Wolfhounds v English saxons Ravenhill, tonight 7.30

The Irish will be smarting from their collapse to Scotland A after an opening spell that hinted at a gelling of the provinces. Ultimately, they fell away tamely.

The Saxons will bring greater intensity and power to Belfast. They have several players teetering on the brink of full England selection and a crushing of Italy A to back up their credentials.

Verdict: England Saxons

Ireland Wolfhounds: D Kearney; J Murphy, E O'Malley, N Spence, D Hurley; I Humphreys, I Boss; B Wilkinson, D Varley, D Fitzpatrick, D Ryan, M O'Driscoll, M McCarthy, W Faloon, C Henry (capt).

England Saxons: N Abendanon; J Simpson-Daniel, M Tuilagi, B Twelvetrees, U Monye; S Myler, J Simpson; A Corbisero, L Mears, P Doran-Jones, G Kitchener, C Day, J Gaskell, C Robshaw (capt), L Narraway.

Ruthless U20s to secure Italian job

Italy v Ireland, Stadio Aprile, Parma, tonight 6.0.

These two met at Christmas. Ireland scored five tries in rapid time with nine of the players that will start in Parma tonight.

The Italians will start eight of the players and one replacement from the side that took a shelling in the first-half of that match.

The problem for Ireland is that when Italy tightened it up in the second-half the Irish were hard pressed to win the ball.

Interestingly, Leinster centre Brendan Macken only makes the bench, with provincial colleague Alex Kelly asked to carry the threat in the outside centre berth. Paddy Jackson has won a tight call over last year's first-choice James McKinney at fly-half.

Verdict: Ireland

Italy: A Cosulich; A Morsellino, G Alberghini, T Castello, M Gennari; L Morisi, G Palazzani; N Quaglio, A Kudin, P Leso (capt), M Fuser, A Mammana, E Ghiraldini, J Bocchi, E Ruffolo.

Ireland: C Gilroy; A Conway, A Kelly, L Marshall, A Boyle; P Jackson, B McIlroy; J Tracy, N Annett (capt), M Moore, M Kearney, D Qualter, J Murphy, A Conneely, E McKeon.

Irish women can kill off the Azzurri

Italy v Ireland, Rovigo, Sunday 1.30

The Irish will be going nowhere unless they can put Italy to the sword. They will look to do so in convincing fashion with their best player Joy Neville set to provide go-forward ball from the back of the scrum.

Verdict: Ireland

Italy: TBC.

Ireland: N Briggs; N Kavanagh, L Cantwell, G Rea, M Kelly; N Stapleton, A Davis; F Coghlan (capt), G Bourke, L Day, M-L Reilly, L Guest, C Staunton, C Molloy, J Neville.


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