Fogarty braced for both Wales and Storm Ciara

A storm is coming. Question is whether it will be Ireland, Wales or just Storm Ciara that rattle through the Aviva Stadium this afternoon.

Fogarty braced for both Wales and Storm Ciara

A storm is coming. Question is whether it will be Ireland, Wales or just Storm Ciara that rattle through the Aviva Stadium this afternoon.

The forecast is for a 40-50km wind, rated as “strong” on the Beaufort Scale, to hit the capital towards late afternoon. The game gets underway at 2.15pm.

Add the rain to that and it makes for conditions that could have a considerable say in how it all unfolds in Ballsbridge.

“We’ve put some scenarios in during the week so that we are adaptable,” said scrum coach John Fogarty.

“So we will see what the scenario is when we arrive. The team leaders and Faz [Andy Farrell] will make some decisions around how we start the game and so on.

"But we have had a good week and we feel we are ready for Storm Ciara and Wales.”

So, just how strong is a ‘strong’ wind? Large branches swaying. Wayward umbrellas.

Not exactly a King Lear backdrop but hardly the ideal situation for Rob Herring whose job it will be to find his jumpers from the lineout.

“Yeah, when the wind and the rain comes in it can be a bit tricky but, like I said after last week’s game, we have brilliant callers and they will pick the right options,” said the Ulster hooker.

“The guys are all great at their drills and still pretty confident we can get our job done in the lineout.”

Ireland didn’t fare well in similarly unruly elements in Cardiff last year after Joe Schmidt opted to keep the stadium roof open.

A 25-7 defeat was the result that day so maybe no surprise that Fogarty expressed the hope that this latest meeting could be spared the worst of the elements.

“I don’t think either team will want to see a storm come in and take away from the occasion,” said the former Leinster hooker known as ‘Fogs’.

We’ll see what comes tomorrow when we arrive and hopefully it won’t be Storm Ciara. We’ll find out.

Fogarty has promised that there is “plenty more to come” from Ireland after last week’s stuttering 19-12 defeat of Scotland in their championship opener but Six Nations rugby is so often about playing the percentages and especially so when Mother Nature is in a huff.

Still, gone are the days when these games were played on muddied heaps and the wind doesn’t blow in and around the Aviva in quiet the same menacing manner it did back in the days when home for Ireland as the old and decrepit Lansdowne Road.

The surface today, for instance, will still be pristine.

“You could take the grass off it and still play on it,” said Fogarty.

“It’s really compact. It’s a really good surface. They do an unbelievable job on it. So footing is going to be good. Now, you can slip and slide.

"If it’s wet, it’s going to be that bit slippier but that surface is really good with regards to the scrum.”

The wider game may be more attritional though.

“That width, big long passes, some of your kicking game is hampered,” he explained.

Time to batten down the hatches.

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