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Ireland v USA: the online debate

Ahead of Ireland v USA clash in New Plymouth, we asked two bloggers from either side of the Atlantic to log on for discussion on gchat. Heave

Image: Jon Ovington via Creative Commons

AHEAD OF TOMORROW’S Ireland v USA clash in New Plymouth, we asked two bloggers from either side of the Atlantic to log on for discussion on gchat.

Hedley Lagrand is the founder A Rugby Life, in the states.  Shane is one half of the brain’s trust behind Whiff of Crodite.

They logged on and lined out with TheScore:

TheScore: Let’s start with a journalistic cliche – what’s the mood in your respective camps?

Whiff of Cordite: Hedley, take it away on USA.

A Rugby Life: Thanks. I think the Eagles are optimistic. They know its a tough game but Eddie O’Sullivan will be keen to do well.

Whiff of Cordite: The mood in the Irish camp seems good… they all enjoyed Queenstown and even though form hasn’t been good they don’t seem to have developed that acidic edge that undermined them in France. That said, confidence must be low after the poor results and performances last month

TheScore: what do you expect from USA?

Whiff of Cordite: I’d expect them to be very well organised and disciplined. They’ve a good lineout and good strike runners out wide if they can get the ball to them. in many ways I think Eddie is well suited to them. It’ll be fairly programmed, simple game plan, but they wil be proud, and won’t roll over for anyone

TheScore: Is that a fair assessment Hedley? And what do you think Ireland will bring to the table?

A Rugby Life: I think so.

They certainly don’t have the experience level the Irish team have, but if they settle in early, I think it should make for a good game. As for Ireland, they have a lot at stake. The current Irish selection is of my favorites with a collection of great players. This team does have the potential to do well in tournament but consistency on the field is going to be key.

Whiff of Cordite: For sure. If you look at USA’s results in ’07, they didn’t win any games, but only the Saffers put big points on them. They kept England to 28-10 and were competitive against Samoa and Tonga. I think they lost by less than a score to Samoa.

A Rugby Life: 25 -21 was the score in that game.

Whiff of Cordite: Yes, that’s right. My fear would be that Ireland are coming in on bad form and try to force it. They know they need to get a few tries on the board and win comfortably to build confidence. they have to earn the right to play and not go wild from the first minute. We all remember Namibia and Georgia from 2007!

TheScore: Is the Eddie factor important?

Whiff of Cordite: Oh yes, very important I’d say. Hedley what do you think?

A Rugby Life: Yes, I think so. He’s going to want the team to put on a good performance and he’s got to think they have a chance to win. The last time I think Ireland and US met was on the US tour in 2009. Ireland won the game, I think by a comfortable margin. He’d want to build on that for certain.

Whiff of Cordite: Yes – plus knowing the Irish team so well can do no harm whatsoever.

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A Rugby Life: He’d may also want to settle the score on the Ireland biggest win ever, which was over the Eagles in 2000.

Whiff of Cordite: Plus, he knows he’s not fondly remembered in Ireland (in spite of his many achievements) so he’ll have a point to prove.

A Rugby Life: Totally agree with you on that.

TheScore: What’s your hopes for the tournament in general?

Whiff of Cordite: You have to hope Ireland can go one step beyond and reach a semi-final. I think it’ll be tough, a quarter-final against South Africa is most likely, as I don’t see us troubling the Aussies. But SA should hold no fear for these players, they don’t look that good.

A Rugby Life: I would love to see the Eagles finish well in the Pool. Second place is a tough target, but a third place finish would a great outcome for them.

Whiff of Cordite: That would be an outstanding achievement. Do you think they can beat Italy?

A Rugby Life: Italy are definitely going to be tough for both the Eagles and I think Ireland. But on the right day….

Whiff of Cordite: I think if USA had a better scrum they could trouble Italy, but without a top tighthead it will be hard.

A Rugby Life: I agree, the scrum is going to have its work cut out, But in open play, Eagles have few speedsters in the mix including Clever.

Whiff of Cordite: They sure have some gas alright. out wide especially.

TheScore: So finally guys – predictions for Sunday?

Whiff of Cordite:

In spite of the poor form I actually have a good feeling about this one. I think Ireland are in a reasonable frame of mind. I’d say it will open up in the last 20 minutes. Ireland to win by 25-30 I’d say, with a bonus point.

A Rugby Life: I think the score will be close, a try in it, but maybe not so high scoring. As much I think the folks over here would love to see a upset, I feel Ireland will win it.

Whiff of Cordite: the US  will take confidence from Tonga’s second half today and the resonance of the day will have an impact but it think Ireland should have too much class in the end

A Rugby Life: Definitely. Like I said earlier, its key for the Eagles to settle early. Tonga were a mess in the first half but played far better in the second. It’s going to be an emotional day for the Americans, which hopefully motivates them rather than unhinge them.

Whiff of Cordite: Agreed. I think the USA will start well, and i don’t think Ireland will have it easy. I’d say the USA could be close enough after 50-60

A Rugby Life: Fitness is going to be so key, especially If the game is very physical, which I suspect it will be.

Check out A Rugby Life and Whiff of Cordite

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