For the first time in a long time I was excited about an Irish team being picked. My anticipation of the weekend is very different than what I expected of matches under recent regimes. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
Freddie’s back at No10 and Les Bleus have scored 94 points in three games in front of clamourous home crowds, hammering the Wallabies 33-6 before gutting the Pumas 39-19, then breaking down a super-physical Samoan challenge to ride out 22-14 winners and end their series undefeated. Something is very, very right with French rugby at the moment. That isn’t a good advent for Ireland, but it does wonders for the rugby world as a whole. Continue reading →
There are doubts about Marshall’s pace and his error count but he is an astute footballer who creates space.
It was said of Irish rugby long ago that the difference between it and NZ rugby was that in NZ the situation is often serious but never critical while in Ireland it is always critical but never serious. That has changed in recent years as every next game seems to be our most important one. Continue reading →
Warning: playing for Ireland may prove harmful for your career. Bizarre and unfortunately possibly true.
One of the opinions that has surprised the Mole during the season to date is that Peter O’Mahony isn’t a number 8. It’s not universal but it’s quite widespread and runs contradictory to my own beliefs. Continue reading →