Commercial Property Blog
All posts tagged: Trinh-Duc
'You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run.' Wise words indeed. Take a look at the team selections for this weekend’s games and the over-riding theme is chop and change.
England change three, Ireland four, and Wales a whopping ten. There are players coming in, players going out and players changing position. It’s sh*t or bust time now for the coaches – and I sense some panic creeping in.
Whose gamble is going to pay off? That’s the killer question.
Lievremont, to my mind, is making the strangest call. When you’ve just played your best game of the tournament and delivered a superb result against a Grand Slam defending and Grand Slam chasing Wales, what’s going through your head to want to shake it all up? Chabal at flanker is just about understandable – he has form in that department and a strong record against England.
But to put Trinh-Duc at fly-half? That’s an odd one. Nor do I get the other changes in the pack. Maybe Lievremont is a wise exponent of Monte Carlo’s famous tables and knows things I don’t but, for my money, he’s off the mark.
When I was packing down in the Wasps ‘back row club’ there was something special about knowing the likes of Dean Ryan and 'Buster' White would be there alongside.
Familiarity bred strength. Game time together got you out of scrapes and gave you an understanding and an edge. That’s why I’m unsure about the French strategy – and let’s hope they do fold rather than flourish on the day!
I’m delighted to see Wasps man Simon Shaw back in the England line up (for his sake if not for Wasps who have a tough trip to Gloucester this weekend). I think he’ll add muscle and nous, and that’s always important against French forwards.
It’s ironic going into a game with the French that we’re the ones with the disciplinary problems. You could usually rely on nine to twelve points a game in the 80s and 90s by roughing the French pack and waiting for them to fall foul of the ref as they sought to ‘get their retaliation in’. Whistle, penalty, points – it was your classic three card trick.
Now, it’s all about England and our poor disciplinary record. Will we park it and develop? I certainly hope so. Lawrence was spot on with his piece in last weekend’s Sunday Times about how Clive gave him a tape of dodgy penalties and told him to sort it out. The players have to think and to act – the responsibily rests with them.
So the call then? Well, I’m going with the heart this weekend. England to nick it by less than five points. Time for Twickenham to have something to shout about.
The Irish know a thing or two about punting – if you’ll forgive the stereotype – and those with any money left from Cheltenham might be attracted by a wager at Croke Park. I see it as a clear Irish banker though so I doubt they’ll be much value there.
Ireland have too much talent and also too much to play for. You can bet your bottom dollar they want to be going to the Millennium with the Championship up for grabs. The biggest danger they face is thinking about that match and not getting on with the business of winning against Scotland.
But it’s Ireland by 10-12 points for me. O’Gara can’t kick as badly again so I’m expecting him to create the platform and for Ireland to ease away over the eighty minutes.
In Rome, Warren Gatland has certainly re-shuffled his deck. What a luxury to have but, as any student of the Classics will tell you, luxury and Rome can be dangerous bed fellows. It doesn’t take much for the one to undermine the other.
That said, Wales remain the class act of the tournament and, even with such significant changes, I can’t see them letting Italy get one over on them. Phillips at scrum half will be strong and set the tempo with off-loading options inside and outside that will be too good for the home team. Does Nick Mallett have a joker in his pack (literally!) to threaten an upset? I think not. It’s Wales by 12-15 points for me.
So, who would be a coach then and what price a crystal ball? Tough choices, bold calls, intriguing gambles. Good decision / bad decision, who knows? Where’s Kenny Rogers when you need him?
This weekend’s games:
England versus France
Ireland versus Scotland
Italy versus Wales