| 9.9°C Dublin

Wolfhounds performance can lead to Six Nations


Anthony Foley. Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile.

Anthony Foley. Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile.

Anthony Foley. Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile.

IF EVER there was a game defined by individuals rather than the collective this is it.

England Saxons v Irish Wolfhounds, Kingsholm, Tomorrow (KO 5.0) Live Sky Sports 1

This is not to suggest for one minute that those selected won't play within the structure laid out by Ulster's Neil Doak and Munster's Anthony Foley.

It is how each player performs the duties within the remit of his role that will take the forensic eye of national boss Joe Schmidt.

"It is about emphasising that the team is more important than the individual, making sure that we're all pulling the same way," said forwards coach Anthony Foley.

"Win the game on Saturday and that puts you in a good boat. That's everybody.

"That put you in a good place with the coach. Then, if the coach sees an opportunity to get you into a Six Nations game, he has confidence in what you've done the last time he's seen you play."

After all, it isn't about how many times you are on the ball as much as how many times you make the right decision with it.

There will also be the small matter of those involved knowing that this game will probably mark the end of their immediate ambition to play for Ireland against Scotland in the Six Nations on Sunday week.

This is a test of character and a test of will to overcome lingering disappointment for some, exhilaration for others against what is a powerful and motivated English Saxons.

The home side is moulded around the leadership of Northampton Saint Calum Clark, who is one of eight players making a debut at this level in a side with an average age of 24.

There is an adventurous nature at half-back from Joe Simpson and Freddie Burns to supply the blistering speed around the outside from Charlie Sharples and Anthony Watson.

It will be the assignment of Fergus McFadden, Craig Gilroy and Felix Jones to corral these dangermen and give the men in front of them the confidence to take The Saxons on at the gain line.

There are no points on the line here, merely what Foley describes as "doing ourselves justice, doing our week's work justice, doing the sacrifices these lads have given over justice.

"It's always about winning," he said.

Verdict: Wolfhounds

Saxons: E Daly; A Watson, M Hopper, S Hill, C Sharples; F Burns, J Simpson; A Waller, J George, T Mercey, C Matthews, G Kruis, C Clark (capt), L Wallace, D Ewers.

Wolfhounds: F Jones; F McFadden, R Henshaw, D Cave, C Gilroy; I Madigan, I Boss; D Kilcoyne, R Herring, M Moore, I Henderson, D Tuohy, R Ruddock (capt), T O'Donnell, R Copeland.