Ruck Marks

Ruck Marks

About four or five months ago, The Mole became interested in finding a way to analyse and attribute value to the work done by each player at ruck and breakdown. Continue reading

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Attempted Burglary Thwarted

Leigh Halfpenny had a very, very long kick at the end of the game to snatch the match for the Lions. If he'd managed to get it, the Lions would have got away with robbery.

Leigh Halfpenny had a very, very long kick at the end of the game to snatch the match for the Lions. If he’d managed to get it, the Lions would have got away with robbery.

The Lions had a last minute kick to win the second test that, had it gone over, would have stolen the match from an Australian team that played all the rugby.   Continue reading

Errors And Omissions Dwelt On

"And that's my gameplan, gentlemen." Who's going to tell him? "Shit gameplan, cap'n." Good man, Prop Number One!

“And that’s my gameplan, gentlemen.” Hmmm.

Neither coach covered himself in glory at the weekend. While Ben Mowen’s shutdown of Mike Phillips was a highly successful tactic, that has to be balanced with Deans’ selection of James O’Connor as outhalf and placekicker.  Continue reading

The Curious Incident of Stuarty Hogg and the Long Shadow

Australia's hard ground seemed ideal for Hogg's running style , not for him launching garryowens when playing out of position in a scratch backline

Australia’s hard ground seemed ideal for Hogg’s running style. Instead we watched him launch garryowens when playing out of position in a scratch backline

The natural prism to view any Lions’ selection is through green/red/rose/thistle tinted glasses. While the Mole can’t see the logic in omitting Sean O’Brien, who covers every position in the back row, in favour of Dan Lydiate who does one thing extremely well in one position it doesn’t come as a great surprise. Continue reading

No Tigers In Captivity

What do you get when you cross a Lion with a Tiger? A liger ... bred for its skills in magic. I remember when I was hip.

What do you get when you cross a Lion with a Tiger? A liger … bred for its skills in magic. Geoff Parling is Napoleon, Tom Youngs is Kip.

Aviva Premiership champions Leicester Tigers were equalled only by RaboDirect Pro12 winners Leinster in terms of the number of their players selected in the original party by Warren Gatland for his touring Lions; both saw six players called up to ‘the ultimate honour in northern hemisphere rugby’/a HSBC-sponsored travelling jamboree to clobber understrength provincial teams for the amusement of sauced-up tourists and ex-pats.

While the Leinster-based players had been flagged as contenders for a number of years on the strength of back-to-back Heineken Cups and previous experience [incredibly, this is Brian O’Driscoll’s fourth tour, while Rob Kearney was a standout four years ago in South Africa and Jamie Heaslip played every minute of that test series], a couple of Leicester players made the squad in a very hard way, emerging from obscurity over the space of one very arduous and ultimately rewarding season.  Continue reading