Ireland's win over the Maori All Blacks is a huge boost and several players have put their hands up for selection on Saturday

Leinster’s flying winger Jordan Lamour managed to bag himself two try’s in this game and I’ll be astonished if he hasn’t some part to play in Saturday's final test.
Ireland's win over the Maori All Blacks is a huge boost and several players have put their hands up for selection on Saturday

Ireland’s Nick Timoney scores their second try

THE weather was miserable and cold.

The stadium was sparsely populated, but the intent from both sides, Ireland and Maori All Blacks to play a flowing, entertaining and somewhat precarious form of rugby was present in abundance. 

And it was a pleasure to watch.

Normally when the conditions are not complimentary towards putting the ball through the hands you would expect both sets of half backs to deploy a mind numbingly boring kicking game, but not on this occasion.

In these midweek touring games you might argue that both sides have very little to lose and they can afford to play a riskier brand however, when you consider the mighty All Blacks are licking some serious wounds after last week’s humbling defeat and Ireland find themselves on the brink of creating more history, you would expect that the end goal for both sides would be to win at all costs.

Kieran Treadwell of Ireland takes the ball from a lineout during the match between the Maori All Blacks and Ireland at the Sky Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Kieran Treadwell of Ireland takes the ball from a lineout during the match between the Maori All Blacks and Ireland at the Sky Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

On a day when the illustrious Keith Earls was afforded the opportunity to captain his country against this very experienced Maori side, it was Ireland who adopted a craftier stance and their ability to play a more structured and apply a more learned blue print gave them the edge when it mattered most.

The Maori’s who’s traditional game adopts more of a crash, bang and wallop approach to gaining territory seemed to be thrown out the window for this game and it appeared that all they wanted to do was chuck the ball around and hope that Irelands defensive line would eventually crack if it was tested enough times.

Perhaps if the playing surface wasn’t as greasy and the ball was dry, the offloading capabilities of scrum-half TJ Perenara and fly-half Joshua R. Ioane would have caused Ireland a few more problems however, the men in green never took a backward step and rarely offered their hosts the room required to play such a free spirited game.

Momentum in sport can often act as an unstoppable factor to have on your side and with a view to next Saturdays winner takes all final test, this win is worth its weight in gold to Andy Farrell and his charges.

The last thing that this squad needed in the build up to their last game in this tour is a group of players walking around with glum faces and looking as if someone just stole their lunch money, but because of the win the favourable winds will now be filling the green sails and everyone will be singing off the same hymn sheet.

Leinster’s flying winger Jordan Lamour managed to bag himself two try’s in this game and I’ll be astonished if he hasn’t some part to play in Saturday's final test.

Craig Casey of Ireland, right, celebrates after teammate Nick Timoney scores their side's second try during the match between the Maori All Blacks and Ireland at the Sky Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Craig Casey of Ireland, right, celebrates after teammate Nick Timoney scores their side's second try during the match between the Maori All Blacks and Ireland at the Sky Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Every team needs a player like Larmour in their ranks because of his ability to beat defenders and score try’s.

Ever since the illusive speedster returned from a hip injury that he picked up in the last Six Nations campaign, he has lit up the field with ball in hand and whilst it will take a whole lot more than one man to win any test, unless your name happens to be Jonah Lomu, I’d love to see this man be afforded an opportunity to play his part. He is fresh and has the X factor that will undoubtedly be required on Saturday.

Last weekend when Ireland beat the Blacks on home soil and made a mockery of the history books, the first player that came to my mind was Keith Earls.

When you are part of a squad that has celebrated the highs and lamented the lows together, and then you find yourself watching from the stands as that very same squad accomplishes a major breakthrough, you can feel as if your entire world is falling apart.

On the outside, Earls who has categorically been Irelands most consistent player for the last decade would have celebrated the occasion as if he had scored the winning try, however, deep inside it would have cast a very long shadow over his heart because Earls isn’t about the glitz and glamour that goes hand in hand with international rugby. 

Just like his dad Ger, Keith is a player and unless he is on the field and contributing with his sweat and blood, he will not feel part of it. 

In the trade I believe they call it honesty.

Of the other players who might have thrown their hat into the ring for Saturday's test is Gavin Coombes, Ciaran Frawley and Craig Casey.

Coombes and Casey have really matured over the last few months and as impact players from the bench they have the ability to make a difference. 

Coombes will give you the power and Casey will up the tempo and if the score board isn’t displaying what you want to see, the only way of adding points is by changing the pace of the game.

Frawley or Jack Carty would be my back up fly-halves behind Sexton, but Farrell and Company look like their faith remains with Joey Carberry.

All focus now turns to Saturday and this midweek side can rest assured that their win has given the test side a major boost in the arm.

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