Kidney relieved to get Best back in green
Saxons v Wolfhounds -- what would you do without marketing men to breathe urgency into a level of rugby that has got left behind?
The Friday afternoons in Donnybrook and Richmond, on the eve of Ireland versus England clashes, seem such a long time ago. And back then those who played were usually getting the run on the basis of form. Not now.
In Ireland's case, Declan Kidney is using the fixture at the Rec to give game time to those who badly need it, either because they have been out injured or because they can't get it because someone else is in their way.
Ireland's entire front row fit into this category and for Rory Best this will be a huge jump given his lay-off since injuring his neck last summer. It also indicates Kidney's desire to get him back in the mix given Jerry Flannery's injury problems.
It's not great news for his Ulster team-mate Ian Humphreys however who has been gazumped by Paddy Wallace at outhalf, nor indeed Isaac Boss, whose good from continues to go unrewarded.
For the Saxons, who have a young and very quick set of backs out today, there will be some incentive from the summer.
It's not as if the A team circuit is a hotbed of passion but being emptied 6:2 on the try count in the Churchill Cup final has been mentioned more than once last week as a focal point today.
Ireland A: G Duffy; F Carr, F McFadden, K Matthews, I Dowling; P Wallace, P Stringer; M Horan, R Best, T Buckley; M O'Driscoll, D Toner; S Jennings, J Muldoon, S O'Brien. Reps: J Fogarty, M Ross, R Caldwell, N Ronan; I Boss, I Humphreys, D Cave.
England Saxons: A Goode; D Strettle, D Waldouck, B Barritt, N Cato; S Geraghty, B Youngs; N Wood, D Paice, P Doran-Jones; D Attwood, G Skivington; T Wood, A Saull, P Dowson. Reps: T Mercey, R Webber, G Parling, L Narraway, M Young, J Clarke, M Benjamin