Sakoku

Axel Foley's Shogun

Axel Foley’s Shogun

As Rob Penney departs for the Land of the Rising Sun, the Mole stumbled across a reference to an era of that proud nation’s history that struck him as appropriate for the times. Continue reading

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The Man in the Middle

Rubber Ducky, are you there?

Rubber Ducky, are you there?

As an occasional listener to sports radio, I’m often surprised by how much complaining is done post-match about the refereeing decisions. The ref got this wrong, he got that wrong ad infinitum. Given that there are many games each weekend in many codes, this allows for the same conversation to play itself out for hours over the course of the season with the names changing and the conclusion staying constant: the decision is made, the result stands. “They can complain all they want but France are going to the World Cup. Get over it.Continue reading

Chopper

Gatland has difficult choices ahead of him in terms of filling the backrow positions for the first test ... but he'll probably have even more sleepless nights over the same issue before the second test

Gatland has difficult choices ahead of him in terms of filling the backrow positions for the first test … but he’ll probably have even more sleepless nights over the same issue before the second test.

Judging by how Warren Gatland has been selecting his Lions teams thus far, there’s a strong chance that the lad who played the least rugby of anybody in the squad during the 2012-13 regular season [a mere 584 minutes, and all of them in the Pro12 for a perennial basement outfit] could be the first name on the teamsheet for the most important game of the tour.  Continue reading

Where’ve All The Rude Boys Gone? Japan

Stephen Ferris

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 Transfer Window Has Opened

Andrew Conway, the youngest player in the Leinster senior squad, is on his way to Munster next season.

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

Ireland vs England Match Reaction

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.

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