Our Ireland team for the Autumn Internationals

Conor Buckley examines the options available to Declan Kidney, and offers his advice on who should be picked.

Ireland have an attractive fixture list this Autumn, facing the Springboks on Saturday week, followed by tests against Samoa, New Zealand and Argentina. I have compiled what I think is the strongest starting XV, and would welcome any feedback in the comments.

Back Three
The fullback jersey stays with Leinster’s Rob Kearney. Geordan Murphy is set join the squad after the South African test, but don’t see him getting the nod ahead of Kearney in the big games against South Africa and New Zealand. Tommy Bowe and Keith Earls fill the wing spots whilst Luke Fitzgerald returns to the squad after hip and rib injuries, and he should make an appearance from the bench for the South African game.

Tried and tested combination of Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy. Nothing to see here!

This possibly the biggest headache for Declan Kidney: Ronan O’Gara and Johnny Sexton likely to get pretty even game-time accross the 4 tests, and I expect O’Gara to start the opening game against the Springboks. Since Tomas O’Leary is out with a thumb injury, Peter Stringer has stepped back into the frame with some great performances for Munster, however, in-form Leinster scrumhalf, Isaac Boss will probably get the nod ahead of Stringer.

Back row
Kidney will go for the combination of Stephen Ferris, David Wallace and Jamie Heaslip for the South Africa and New Zealand tests, although Connacht’s John Muldoon is likely to get a start in the Samoa or Argentina game.

Second Row
In the absence of Paul O’Connell, it’s likely to be the Munster combination of Donnacha O’Callaghan and Mick O’Driscoll with Leinster’s Devin Toner starting the Samoa/Argentina test.

Front Row


Tony Buckley has finally usurped John Hayes in the front-row, whilst Cian Healy will take the loosehead spot and due to Jerry Flannery being injured, Rory Best will start at hooker.

Keep an eye out for Sean Cronin in the Samoa/Argentina game, his recent form for Connacht has been outstanding – check out this video for an example of his pace from their recent match against Bayonne in the Amlin Challenge cup.

My Ireland Starting XV

15. Rob Kearney
14. Tommy Bowe
13. Brian O’Driscoll
12. Gordon D’Arcy
11. Keith Earls
10. Ronan O’Gara
9. Isaac Boss

8. Jamie Heaslip
7. David Wallace
6. Stephen Ferris
5. Mick O’Driscoll
4. Donnacha O’Callaghan
3. Tony Buckley
2. Rory Best
1. Cian Healy

By Conor Buckley

12 thoughts on “Our Ireland team for the Autumn Internationals

  1. I think the injury to Tomas O’Leary will benefit Sexton – picking the Leinster fly-half alongside Boss would make sense. Sexton was impressive against Sarries, controlling the game and kicking everything, so I’d probably pick him over ROG.

  2. I’d prefer Reddan to Boss everyday of the week – much more of a sniper. As for having Earls on the wing, can’t see that happening. Trimble has been in fine form on the wing this season in a high flying Ulster team, whilst Earls is yet to hit anywhere near the form he showed for Ireland before the Lions tour.

    Undecided about Sexton and ROG though – it’s almost a coin flip as to which one of the two he goes for.

  3. It’s probably the one position where Kidney has an embarrassment of riches, Bowe has nailed his place down, with Fitzgerald, Earls and in-form Trimble all competing for the other wing.
    Earls and Fitzgerald are both returning from injury, whereas Trimble has full fitness. It’s a strange situation that one from these three players will not make the matchday squad!

  4. Surprised that Sean O’Brien does not even get a mention given he is the form flanker in Ireland plus has a great relationship with Heaslip. O’Brien has the skills and size to take on the Boks. While it does depend on the balance that Kidney is looking for as the Ferris/Wallace/Heaslip backrow is big and powerful but O’Brien would add better distribution skills and that is probably the game that Ireland needs to play as playing trench warfare with the Boks is a poor idea.

    Boss is vastly improved since his move south and deserves a spot on the bench at the very least. While Reddan is returning to form the prospect of Sexton and Stringer triggering the back line at pace is mouth watering.

  5. Can Reddan really be 4th choice? He was excellent at Wasps, has he been injured or out of form? Always rated him comfirtably above Boss, who only seems to pass as a second option, and Stringer who rarely does anything else.

  6. Brian O’Driscoll, Keith Earls, Gordon D’Arcy and Rory Best are now injury concerns apparently…they’ve been sitting out training.

    That would have a massive impact on this side. As Fromthebottomoftheruck mentions, one injury to Best and we’re in trouble! Bit of a problem at centre now as well.

  7. Not as bad as it all sounds, D’arcy is resting a calf strain, expected to train later in the week, Best has a slight concussion from last weekend, will train later in the week also.
    Earls and BOD are looking less and less likely to start against SA. Luke Fitz looks like he has recovered from his hip injury, will start in place of Earls with either Johne Murphy or Paddy Wallace in the centre?

  8. It was always three weeks minimum for concussion in my day! Good news though, hopefully D’Arcy and Best will come through.

    I’d go with Wallace in the centres ahead of Murphy…

  9. Looks like Kidney is going to go with Reddan at scrum half with Boss and Stringer having been released to their provinces for the weekend.

    Quite a few walking wounded but with 10 days to go who knows what will happen.

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