Hard Core Welsh

The current Ospreys backline aren’t exactly “no-stats superstars” – Shane Williams has scored 58 international tries and Dan Biggar has kicked 300 points this season – but they’re a long way from the Galacticos of Phillips, Hook, Henson and Byrne.

Looking ahead to the upcoming Pro12 Grand Final between Leinster and the Ospreys, a quick review of the Ospreys’ Heineken Cup pool games is very educational.  Continue reading

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Pro12 Semi-final Preview: Leinster vs Glasgow

Cian Healy bursts through the Glasgow defense in the Heineken Cup fixture between the sides at Firhill. Leinster have more weapons all over the pitch than Glasgow, and will be looking to avenge the regular season loss at the RDS.

Glasgow will pitch up at the RDS on Saturday intent on repeating the mid-September upset that saw them run out 19-23 winners. They’ll try to forget the 38-13 shellacking they took a couple of months later in the Heineken Cup, when Leinster’s front-liners cleaned their clock and had run up four tries before halftime.  Continue reading

Pro12 Semi-final Preview: Ospreys vs Munster

One picture tells the tale of a whole season.

Munster confirmed a semi-final date against the Ospreys in Liberty Stadium with a facile win over a half-baked Ulster side full of youngsters, but injuries to Paul O’Connell and Damien Varley will seriously hurt their chances of success. Continue reading

HEC Semi-final Preview: Clermont vs Leinster

Heaslip dots down under the sticks in the 2010 quarter-final classic. Given that it's only a couple of weeks more than two years later, the two teams are dominated by the same players who took the field in that stormer of a game. That night it was Leinster who hung on by the slenderest of margins, even given home field advantage ... will it go the other way this time around?

The Clermont Auvergne vs Leinster semi-final pits two of the best teams to grace European competition in the last five years against each other in a winner-takes-all match. As Shane Horgan said on Sky Sports’ The Rugby Club last night, “This is a Heineken Cup semi-final. You don’t get anything for finishing within seven points.” Continue reading

Very Difficult, But Not Impossible

Vern Cotter and Joe Schmidt know each other well and have worked together in the past. If they had a 'good cop/bad cop' routine, I'd imagine that Vern was the 'bad cop'.

One month ago, Vern Cotter took les Jaunards to the South West of France for a dress rehearsal of their Heineken Cup semi-final against Leinster. Continue reading

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