Heineken Cup Semi-Final Preview: Ulster vs Edinburgh

There were quite a few people who picked Ulster to knock over Munster in the quarter-finals, even though it was played down in Thomond Park, where Munster had been invincible at the quarter-final stage for over a decade … but who were the geniuses that had Edinburgh over Toulouse? Continue reading

Soft Middle

Dan Tuohy (26) takes on Simon Zebo (21) in an emblematic image that shows the differing age profile between the two teams.

The Mole has written before about how the failings of the Munster Academy in the second Declan Kidney era are now affecting the fortunes of the province. While Kidney handed over a hard-nosed championship team to Tony McGahan in June 2008, things weren’t quite so rosy under the surface. Continue reading

Sarries – Three Cheers For Their Quarter Final Whipping

There’s always something satisfying about seeing a big talker being cut down to size, and Saracens home quarter-final loss to Clermont Auvergne was not so much a classic of the genre as merely a run of the mill example. Nevertheless, it was rewarding to watch. Continue reading

Match Reaction #2: Leinster vs Cardiff

The Cardiff Blues brought a knife to a gunfight at Lansdowne Road, and were absolutely hockeyed off the pitch in the first half. They saved some pride with a hard-fought if uninspiring performance in the second forty, but were ultimately held scoreless for 78 minutes, having opened the game with a Leigh Halfpenny penalty.  Continue reading

Match Reaction #1: Munster vs Ulster

Ulster performed an astonishing smash-and-grab raid in the first half-hour at Thomond park, then stuck around to take an absolute walloping from the suddenly awakened and irate home-owners before finally staggering away with the spoils. Continue reading

HEC Quarter-Final Preview: Munster vs Ulster

An Irish derby quarter-final in Thomond Park really re-enforces the fact that Ulster have finally emerged from a decade-long slump. They fought their way through a difficult but fortunately timetabled group, and after a rocky start to the season are now on something of a run, having won their last four games. Continue reading

Team Selection: Wolfhounds vs Saxons

"The Irish wolfhound is relatively easy to train. They respond well to firm, but gentle, consistent leadership." So says the American Kennel Club. Chris Henry, are you listening? No shouting.

Eric Elwood/Declan Kidney/The Troika have picked a Wolfhounds team high on diplomacy that also stands a fair chance of beating the Saxon hordes.

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Match Reaction: Clermont Auvergne 19 – 15 Ulster

The only team that wins in Clermont is Clermont. That’s one of those local customs that the HSBC “The World’s Local Bank” series of ads never got around to: nobody ever tells you, but you’ll notice if you visit there that nobody but Clermont wins in the Stade Marcel Michelin. Continue reading