Men v Boys
November 14 2017
What seemed to be a very small group of us (of the 11272 attendance I don’t think Irish supporters made up the whole 72) made our way to Kingsholm to watch pretty much the Gloucester side we expect to face in the Premiership in a few weeks, play a team made up of many of our very promising academy with some senior players thrown in.
In terms of the teams, I know statistics don’t tell the whole story and it is quite hard to find the correct figures but some examples of the differences were: Irish had 9 players with no Premiership experience (5 starters, 4 bench) and Gloucester had 4 (2 and 2 – although one of these had 10 Australia caps). The Gloucester front five had nearly four times as many first team appearances as Irish’s. The Gloucester half backs had about ten times as many first team appearances as the Irish pairing. Two of our players were making their Irish debut, one of whom was still at school.
Before the game started, it was great to see the support from both teams for Darren Dawiduk in his fight against testicular cancer, with the teams sporting ‘Dukey2’ t-shirts and Oddballs hats in the warm up. The hats will be available at the Irish game next week – all in a really good cause. Seeing this and the minute’s silence for Remembrance brought home the fact that however passionate we are about rugby and our team, there are people round the world facing really significant challenges that put the results of a game into perspective.
Our young and inexperienced team held their own really well for a long time, with the scoreline being 0-0 after 20 minutes. Up to about 60 minutes the score line of 19-7 showed the talent, attitude and defensive effort of the young Irish team. In the end, long periods of defending (apparently Gloucester had 87% possession) and lack of experience told, but the final score of 47-7 does not give the whole story. Our defence was much better than at the start of season despite it being a team that had not played together much, many of whom were experiencing their first premiership level taste of adult rugby.
If this match is anything to go by then Irish have hope for the future, in terms of our immediate future with improved defence and in terms of the talent coming through our ranks, who will have learned a lot from playing a Premiership quality team. Certainly those of us there came away very proud of our team.pqs: qs:
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