Andy Farrell has the eternal Irish question to ponder over the next few weeks – how can he keep Johnny Sexton fit until the end of the World Cup? Ireland were bullied by France for the first quarter of the match without Sexton’s leadership, and never recovered from France’s initial 10 point lead.
Sexton having tweaked one of his 36 year old hamstrings on Thursday, “young” Joey Carberry (26) took the reins in an OK kind of a way, but was always a step behind the dastardly duo from Toulouse, Antoine Dupont (25) and Romain Ntamack (22). In Rome Marcus Smith (22) looked completely at home running the English line in their romp over Italy. Middle aged Finn Russell (29) and elderly Dan Biggar (32) slugged it out in Cardiff, and maybe it was Biggar’s ability to stay on the pitch for the full 80 minutes that made the wining difference. So youth isn’t everything, but it sure helps.
The F6NF was shaken up by the weekend’s results, with Colin O’Riordan going top with 98 points, Julian D’Arcy hot on his heels with 94 and veterans Noel Stapleton and John McMahon also making the nervous 90s.
|Leaders After Week 2|
|15||Tom De Gomme||81|
|16||Here we go Again!||80|
“That is brilliant” said a breathless O’Riordan. “It was hard watching the Ireland match knowing the result I needed for the F6NF but wishing Ireland on. I knew I’d come close with the Wales result to. Lets hope my luck holds!”
“90, these are the dizzy heights!” exclaimed a delighted McMahon. “I was pretty flat after the Ireland game I’d have to say, especially listening to that commentary team who’d win prizes for miserable pessimism, talk about the glass being almost empty, but that has perked me up no end. Bring it on!”
Points = Prizes
Last week’s Kirby Engineering Pack Leader Award was split between Peter Pigot and John Dolan, and count back gives it to Dolan as his score this weekend of -12 was not quite as negative as Pigot’s -22. Dolan wins a framed Everton jersey and Wayne Rooney’s autobiography.
This week’s RKD Form Before Function award goes to top points scorer David Kilty, with a near perfect 59 points. “That is great news” said Kilty from his paddle board off Bullock Harbour. “I’d had a poor enough start last week but maybe this will turn the tide. Talking of which, I’d better start paddling” Kilty wins a consultation with a real architect about how to work out how to get a grant for insulating your man shed, or €200 instead.
The Dornan Engineering Top Woman Award goes to Siobhan Scully for being the leading lady at this stage with 84 points. “That is fantastic” said Scully whilst walking the dog in Wicklow. “Wait until I tell my husband, he’ll be thrilled to know I’m whupping his ass!”
Take a Breather
Take a break from the excitement next weekend, the 6 Nations return in a fortnight and so shall we, when France travel to Scotland (you forecast on average a French victory by 16 points). England will host Wales (you say England by 8) and Italy arrive in Dublin just like they didn’t two years ago (you say Ireland by 34).