Hot on the heels of Iain Henderson, Stuart Olding’s development suggests Ulster’s Academy is doing the business
This cohort of u20s finished 2-1-2 in the u20 Championship. The forwards occasionally struggled to establish dominance but a number of the backs caught the eye. Following from last year’s group, we thought we’d do a 4 Up 2013, concentrating on a player from each of the provinces. Continue reading →
Stephen Ferris looks likely to accept a one year deal to play in Japan next season rather than accept an offer from the IRFU that is contingent on gametime. Having missed out on contention for a Lions tour this summer due to an injury plagued season, it’s not a bad idea to earn good money, play some lower intensity rugby and then come back for a season leading up to RWC15, at which stage he’ll just have turned 30 years old.
If Stephen Ferris makes the rumoured switch to the Top League, he won’t be the first Irish backrower to play in Japan’s top flight rugby competition. Continue reading →
The First of the Class of 2012 to graduate to full honours, Hendo is likely to be in the middle of Ireland’s forwards for the next decade
The idea for the 5 Up series was taken from the Seven Up TV show. We were interested to see how aspiring professional players developed and what factors affected their progress. Five players were chosen: one from each of the provinces and a second, from Leinster, who would have another season at underage level the following year. Continue reading →
Andrew Conway, the youngest player in the Leinster senior squad, is on his way to Munster next season.
Amidst the media furore, recriminations, denials, Twitter shit-slinging and overuse of the word ‘floodgates’ that surrounded Johnny Sexton’s move to Racing Metro, another ground-breaking move has gone largely under the radar. Continue reading →
Alan Quinlan writes an impressively honest and perceptive column in the Irish Times as well as commenting on the radio and TV. As well as being a former international, he’s also a fan. His latest column focused on atmosphere and lack thereof at Lansdowne Road/the Aviva Stadium during the recent match against England. Continue reading →
Not an oul fellah in sight: Ben Youngs, Joe Launchbury, Peter O’Mahony and Cian Healy are four youngsters who will have big parts to play over the coming decade in these clashes. The torch has been well and truly passed in England, and Ireland have some catching up to do.
There are always a dozen good reasons why a team loses a relatively close match – invariably, some of them are to do with the other crowd playing well. Continue reading →
A classic ‘game of two halves’ started with two prominent absentees. Warren Gatland’s appointment as Lions coach has left his Welsh team without their galvanising force and they looked shorn of purpose for much of the first half. Justin Tipuric’s omission amazed the Mole, particularly in light of Ryan Jones’ thumb injury. Continue reading →
Leo Cullen has been the rock on which Leinster’s success of recent times has been built, but he can’t go on forever. It’s natural that people are discussing his future, given that he turned 35 the other day. His toughness and disruption at the breakdown make him a sponge for punishment and cheap shots, but he’s hardly an innocent on the pitch himself.
Much has been written over the last few weeks on the subject of locks in Ireland, most of it orbiting around the leaked news that Mike McCarthy will be playing his rugby in Leinster for the next three seasons. Continue reading →
The Munster coaching ticket. Bitterness not pictured.
I was going write something about Eddie O’Sullivan being overlooked for the Connacht post but Brendan Fanning did it this morning already. If Pat Lam is selected as Connacht coach then Ireland’s provinces will have four Kiwis at the helm. For a union so staunchly opposed to imported players, even if they have started families here, the IRFU’s approach to foreign coaches seems very inconsistent. Continue reading →
Dylan Hartley and Rory Best went head to head last Friday night and there was only one – LIONS LIONS LIONS LIONS LIONS LIONS LIONS LIONS LIONS LIONS
The Mole was recently moved to speak out in defense of Sky Sports in a social situation. Suffice it to say that said defense went down just about as well as Randy Marsh’s appearance on Wheel of Fortune. Ohhhhhhhh. “Naggers”. Continue reading →