Christmas time is almost upon us, and the Irish provinces face a tricky schedule over the festive period. However, Ulster, Munster and Leinster have had their struggles, and could really do with a boost, even it is for next season. Nonetheless Pat Lam, Leo Cullen, Anthony Foley and Neil Doak will be writing their letters to Santy to tell him what they want to see in their stockings.
Barry Dempsey ponders what, or who, they are wishing for.
Munster – Stephen Moore
Anthony Foley already rubbished the claim that the IRFU called a halt to this move but he must have been secretly wishing for this move. Munster have struggled this season in the front row and with the retirement of Damien Varley and Mike Sherry’s struggle for fitness, surely Stephen Moore would be the first player on his wish list.
Moore would certainly give Munster that hard edge that they are accustomed to having up front and the Australian world cup final captain would be no stranger to these shores as both his parents are Irish.
Leinster – Eben Etzebeth
Like Munster, Leinster have been lacking that bit of grit in the pack this season. Leo Cullen brought in Hayden Triggs from New Zealand to try and provid
e that but so far the former army man has been struggling to find form. Leinster’s perfect Christmas present would be Eben Etzebeth. The springbok enforcer would certainly give the men in blue that extra bite up front and give them the extra bit of class come line-out time.
Ulster – Jerome Kaino
Ulster have been having a mediocre season so far, languishing mid table in the Pro 12 and were soundly beaten by Saracens in the Champions Cup.
What the northern province need more than anything is to add a player who can compliment Nick Williams and Chris Henry in the back-row. Jerome Kaino would certainly do just that. The World Cup winner combines a teak toughness with a good rugby brain and provided a similar balance between Richie McCaw’s defensive abilities and Kieran Read’s ball carrying throughout the World Cup.
Connacht – Robbie Henshaw
Does Pat Lam need anything for Christmas? Connacht are currently top of the Pro 12 and are just after putting Munster to the sword in Limerick so the answer is probably not. However if he could have one player next season surely he will be wishing that Robbie Henshaw will still be in the west for a few more years.
Who would you like to see come into your province? Let us know your thoughts on our designated Irish rugby Facebook page.
Barry Dempsey, Pundit Arena.