4 Up 2013 – Year 3

henshaw-try-nz

That’s a Framer: Robbie Henshaw caps off a memorable week in the Windy City.

We selected four players from the u20 cohort of 2013 in order to follow their progress in a similar manner as applied to their predecessors of 2012. One player was selected from each province. All the players selected from 2013 were backs who had started at centre for the Irish u20 team, for two reasons. Firstly, the 2013 backs caught my eye more than the forwards from that year and, secondly, with D’Arcy and O’Driscoll each moving closer to retirement, the starting centre berths at national level would soon become far less competitive after many years.

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Ireland RWC 2015 Report Card: Part 5, Centres

Henshaw’s performances in the 2015 Six Nations were extremely impressive for a young player making his first appearance in the tournamenthave made him a shoo-in Making breaks and beating defenders is tough in the No12 jersey – there's no room. In those regards, Henshaw had a cracking Six Nations, easily outperforming any of his northern hemisphere contemporaries. Over the course of the 5 games in the Six Nations, Henshaw was credited by ESPN with 4 clean breaks [2 vs Scotland, 1 vs England, 1 vs Italy] and 16 defenders beaten [2 vs Scotland, 3 vs Wales, 6 vs England, 2 vs France and 3 vs Italy]. That gives an average of 0.8 CB/game and 3.2 DB/game. Jamie Roberts started all five games for Wales and is credited with 1 clean break and 6 defenders beaten [average: 0.2CB/game and 1.2DB/game]; Luther Burrell started all five for England and is credited with 2 clean breaks and 3 defenders beaten [0.4 CB/game and 0.6 DB/game -and those figures point towards why he didn't make the English RWC squad]. No other No12 started more than three matches in the championship. Masi [Italy] played in three games and is credited with 2 clean breaks and 4 defenders beaten [0.7 CB/game and 1.3 DB/game]; Fofana [France] played in three and is credited with 2 clean breaks and 6 defenders beaten [0.7 CB/game and 2 DB/game]; and Dunbar [Scotland] started 3 and is credited with 2 clean breaks and 2 defenders beaten [0.7 CB/game and 0.7 DB/game]. Given that he massively outperformed both in totals and averages all his contemporaries in those key attacking categories, that he was first rate defensively and that we won the Six Nations, I thought he was an unqualified success. By some distance the best No12 in the tournament.

Henshaw’s performances in the 2015 Six Nations were extremely impressive for a young player making his first appearance in the tournament.
Making breaks and beating defenders is tough in the No12 jersey – there’s no room. In those regards, Henshaw had a cracking Six Nations, easily outperforming any of his northern hemisphere contemporaries.
Over the course of the 5 games in the Six Nations, Henshaw was credited by ESPN with 4 clean breaks [2 vs Scotland, 1 vs England, 1 vs Italy] and 16 defenders beaten [2 vs Scotland, 3 vs Wales, 6 vs England, 2 vs France and 3 vs Italy]. That gives an average of 0.8 CB/game and 3.2 DB/game.
Jamie Roberts started all five games for Wales and is credited with 1 clean break and 6 defenders beaten [average: 0.2CB/game and 1.2DB/game]; Luther Burrell started all five for England and is credited with 2 clean breaks and 3 defenders beaten [0.4 CB/game and 0.6 DB/game -and those figures point towards why he didn’t make the English RWC squad]. No other No12 started more than three matches in the championship.
Masi [Italy] played in three games and is credited with 2 clean breaks and 4 defenders beaten [0.7 CB/game and 1.3 DB/game]; Fofana [France] played in three and is credited with 2 clean breaks and 6 defenders beaten [0.7 CB/game and 2 DB/game]; and Dunbar [Scotland] started 3 and is credited with 2 clean breaks and 2 defenders beaten [0.7 CB/game and 0.7 DB/game].
He massively outperformed both in totals and averages all his contemporaries in those key attacking categories, and was first rate defensively in a successful Six Nations defence. He was an unqualified success with an extremely strong claim to have been the best No12 in the tournament.

Robbie Henshaw: The Mole’s Irish player of the tournament and a serious international at this stage of his career. Henshaw rarely looks flustered and relishes physicality. For years, Connacht had no representation on the Irish team but investment in the traditional Cinderella province of Irish rugby has always made sense as it provides another opportunity for professional players to compete. Continue reading

4 Up 2013 – Year 2

Robbie Henshaw took to international rugby pretty quickly and earned a Championship medal in his first full season.

Robbie Henshaw took to international rugby pretty quickly and earned a Championship medal in his first full season.

We selected four players from the u20 cohort of 2013 in order to follow their progress in a similar manner as applied to their predecessors of 2012. One player was selected from each province. All the players selected from 2013 were backs, who had started at centre for the Irish u20 team, for two reasons. Firstly, the 2013 backs caught my eye more than the forwards from that year and, secondly, with D’Arcy and O’Driscoll each moving closer to retirement, the starting centre berths at national level would soon become far less competitive after many years. Continue reading

4 Up 2013 – Year 1

Stuart Olding hot steps over from 40m against Treviso. I love Andrew Trimble’s reaction as he crosses the line!

Intro

We selected four players from the u20 cohort of 2013 in order to follow their progress in a similar manner as applied to their predecessors of 2012. One player was selected from each province. All the players selected from 2013 were backs, who had started at centre for the Irish u20 team, for two reasons. Firstly, the 2013 backs caught my eye more than the forwards from that year and, secondly, with D’Arcy and O’Driscoll each moving close to retirement, the starting centre berths at national level would soon become far less competitive after many years. Continue reading

4 Up 2013

Hot on the heels of Iain Henderson, Stuart Olding's development suggests Ulster's Academy is doing the business

Hot on the heels of Iain Henderson, Stuart Olding’s development suggests Ulster’s Academy is doing the business

This cohort of u20s finished 2-1-2 in the u20 Championship. The forwards occasionally struggled to establish dominance but a number of the backs caught the eye. Following from last year’s group, we thought we’d do a 4 Up 2013, concentrating on a player from each of the provinces. Continue reading