After looking at Graham Henry’s Prefects and the ‘ideal’ number of caps (660) that a championship team should have, we thought we’d have a look at Ireland and how the numbers fitted the team. Can Graham Henry’s policy be replicated in other situations or is he simply fortunate to come from a country with a great rugby culture and a comparatively large player base?
Ireland’s recent U20 Six Nations campaign ended with a whimper against a grand standing, gesticulating English U20 team that got a derisive ticking off from none other than Dewi Morris, the Mole’s favourite Sky analyst. There has to be an U20 team each year so it’s difficult to know if any of these players will go onto greater things or how their careers will develop. We thought we’d focus on the five that caught our eye and follow them in the months to come. Continue reading
Stuart “Retainer” Lancaster is going to interview this week for his job. If Lancaster was unknown before the 6 Nations, he is high profile now and even his main competition for the job (Nick Mallet) accepts that he’ll probably get it. There were low expectations surrounding England before the tournament but things look much rosier now. Continue reading
Twenty-four of England’s thirty-point haul came directly from scrum penalties; the other six were from two penalties late in either half for offside. Rory Best was pinged for “taking up the space” on the English side of a ruck on about 33 minutes, and the Irish defensive line were penalized en masse at 76 mins in front of the sticks, from which Farrell mercifully took the points instead of inflicting another scrum. Yep, it could have been even worse … Continue reading
From an English perspective, it has been a hugely encouraging Six Nations: the team improved with every performance, won four out of five games, were narrowly [and somewhat controversially] beaten in the single game they lost and finished with a resounding thumping of a team who have had their number in recent years. Continue reading
With due credit to Irish Times rugby correspondent Gavin Cummiskey, the key motivation that will have driven two national coaches in particular during this week is the potential impact that Saturday’s results in the Six Nations will have on World Ranking points. Continue reading
When England beat Australia back in June 2010, Dan “Little Joey” Cole was about the best forward on the pitch. He had made his debut in the 2010 Six Nations as a 22 year old tighthead, succeeding World Cup-winner Phil Vickery, who had held the jersey down since 1998 [give or take a few spells out due to injury], but it was that win in Sydney where Cole made his bones: he had just turned 23, it was his seventh cap and it looked as though England had found a new tighthead anchor for the next decade. Continue reading
The English never fear the French. The French never fear the Irish. The Irish no longer fear the Welsh. The French are always wary of the Scots. The Welsh fear nobody, but hate the Irish (according to Gatland). The Scots always fancy themselves against the English. The Irish don’t know how to beat the French and when it happens it’s by accident. Ireland love the English as favourites, and always assume they can beat them. Continue reading