Rugby Union: David's back to the front; Ulster's hero a perfect 10.IRISH rugby's prime minister Warren Gatland Warren David Gatland (born 17 September 1963 in Hamilton, New Zealand and educated at Hamilton Boys' High School and Waikato University) is a former All Black and the current Coach of the Waikato Air New Zealand Cup team. last night installed David Humphreys David Humphreys may be:
Humphreys was elected to govern Ireland's Five Nations campaign after out-balloting fierce rival Eric Elwood.
After days of campaigning on behalf of both men, Gatland's decisive vote for a place on his front bench for Saturday's seasonal opener against France went to Ulster's European Cup hero.
Elwood has been in power for most of the past five years, but Humphreys command performances against Colomiers, Stade Francais and Toulouse had recently seen him surge ahead in the polls.
And Humphreys can expect to hold on to the foreign affairs foreign affairs
Affairs concerning international relations and national interests in foreign countries. portfolio, if he can maintain his red-hot start to 1999.
However Gatland insists there is no question of stabbing his long-ime coalition partner Elwood - the two have been successful partners for Connacht and Ireland - in the back.
And he hopes there will be no calls for a public tribunal to be set up to investigate the unseating of Elwood, after the most talked about head- to-head in Irish rugby for a decade.
Elwood starred in a stunning performance in Paris a year ago, which almost arrested a 15-game losing streak to the French.
However, injury problems combined with Galweigans poor form, meant that Humphreys' surge for the top spot could not have come at a more opportune time.
"Ireland had Tony Ward and Ollie Campbell Ollie Campbell (born March 5 1954) was an Irish rugby union player from 1976 to 1984. He was educated at Belvedere College, a famous Irish rugby school, where his natural talent at rugby, especially his goal-kicking, shone through. competing for the number 10 shirt 15 years ago. Now we have Humphreys and Elwood," says the Kiwi coach.
"David has played himself into the team with a series of top notch performances in high-profile games. He deserves his chance.
"But I hope there is not an inquisition every time we pick one or other player. We don't want the debate about who should be out-half to over shadow our preparations for the match."
Humphreys has won 11 international caps - several of them as a replacement - in a career which, at international level, has promised more than it has delivered.
Though his appearances in the green have been scattered with moments of brilliance, he has been unable to nail down a regular slot on the starting XV.
A hugely-gifted player, the suggestion was that his temperement was brittle and Elwood was a better option when the chips were down. However, the Ulster campaign has shown a new solidity.
"If I knew why things hadn't always gone well with Ireland, then I would have been the first to try to remedy the situation," says Humphreys.
"I am still very ambitious. I want to do well at international level, especially in this World Cup year.
"To be honest, I didn't expect to be selected. But this caps an unbelievable 72 hours for me," he chirped.
Humphreys' workload for Ireland will be significantly heavier than it was with all-conquering Ulster.
As well as his play-making day job, the 27-year-old will have to work overtime in the goal-kicking department.
Simon Mason Simon Mason may be:
And with Elwood on the bench and Niall Woods - prolific with London-Irish - on the 'A' team, the task has fallen to Humphreys.
In the past the added burden has effected his overall game, but as his Ulster coach Harry Williams
Harry Hiram Williams (August 23, 1879 – May 15 1922) was an American composer, lyricist, and publisher of popular music from 1903 until his death in 1922. points out: "He has matured and his game is not as inconsistent as it was in the past."
And supporters will point out that he kicked well on last summer's tour of South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa. - albeit in the less pressurised environment of the midweek second string side.
While there was joy for Humphreys, his Ulster team-mate Andy Ward was ambushed by injury and joins 6'10'' totem Malcolm O'Kelly Malcolm O'Kelly (born 19 July 1974 in Chelmsford, England) is an Irish rugby player who currently plays as a lock for Ireland internationally and Leinster at club level.
The 6'8" (2. on the sidelines On the sidelines
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Of or relating to investors who, having assessed the market, have decided to avoid committing their funds. .
But Gatland has the luxury of calling a pair of the heroic 1997 Lions who savaged South Africa in as replacements.
Jeremy Davidson Jeremy Davidson (born 28 April 1974 in Belfast) is a rugby union footballer who played at lock for Dungannon RFC, Ulster, London Irish, Castres, Ireland & the British Lions. He attended Methodist College Belfast. , whose pounds 320,000-a-year contract with French club Castres makes him Ireland's highest paid player, replaces the desperately unlucky O'Kelly, who will miss the entire campaign.
And Eric Miller Eric Miller is the name of:
Miller lost his place with Ireland, then was let go by English giants Leicester - and is currently rebuilding his career with Terenure. He remains a hugely exciting prospect.
With front-row hard man Paul Wallace also back after missing November's clash with the Springboks, Ireland will have three extra Lions on their shirts!
"We are lucky to have that sort of depth in Irish rugby at the moment," says Gatland of the returning Davidson and Miller.
"Both are proven internationals. O'Kelly would probably make the Lions' squad if it were picked tomorrow and Ward has made a back row place his own, but we are not weakened by their absence."
Flying attackers Conor O'Shea Conor Michael Patrick O'Shea (born 21 October 1970 in Limerick) is a former rugby union footballer who played at full back for Ireland and London Irish.
Conor O'Shea went to Terenure College in Dublin which is one of the main rugby nurseries in Ireland and is currently and Justin Bishop Justin Bishop may be:
But Gatland has gone for Leinster's exciting youngster Girvan Dempsey Girvan Dempsey (born 2 October 1975 in Dublin) is a rugby union footballer who plays at full back for Leinster and Ireland. His parents, showing remarkable prescience, named him Girvan (frequently shortened to Girve), ensuring that his many ardent supporters could attach the ahead of Woods, the man who completes that lethal London-Irish back three.
Paddy Johns, who might have come under pressure had O'Kelly been fit, holds onto the captaincy ahead of Keith Wood.