Match Reaction #1: Sins Of Omission

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

Send In The Clowns … Or Not

Impervious to hypnotism and all that sort of stuff – Declan Kidney's mind games are his own. Sure let's just get ready for the next cup final, after all, this is the reason why you get involved in rugby!

Declan Kidney’s substitution decisions have The Mole hearing footsteps, so to speak. With Kidney’s deserved reputation for inscrutability, and his über-questionable loyalty to some players, he’s the sort of coach that’d have you believing in conspiracy theories.  Continue reading

Match Reaction: Leinster 16 – 13 Scarlets

Fergus McFadden: has banged over 33 kicks this season for Leinster – 17 conversions, 15 penalties and 1 drop goal – but last night's match-winner was a big 'un

A lot of huffing and puffing and not a great deal of blowing your house down from Leinster last night at the RDS, when a misfiring home team took out a well-drilled, hardworking Scarlets outfit with the last kick of the game.  Continue reading

Match Reaction: Leinster 42 – 8 Treviso

Nacewa collides with Brendan Williams, Treviso's creative spark - all the honours went to the Leinster man on the night, however.

A bunch of early tries generally leave people feeling that the game was over at half time or that it petered out; a bunch of late tries sends the people home happy. Continue reading

Match Reaction: Saxons 23 – 17 Wolfhounds

Somebody sort this lad out with a Cotton Traders baggy jersey from the 1990s.

At one stage in this ‘A’ international the Saxons led the Wolfhounds 17-5, despite never having any real dominance. Ireland fought their way back to a more respectable – not to mention reflective – score with well-taken tries from Tomás O’Leary and Simon Zebo, but they had leaked too many soft points to take home the win … in a totally meaningless match. Continue reading

Match Reaction: Clermont Auvergne 19 – 15 Ulster

The only team that wins in Clermont is Clermont. That’s one of those local customs that the HSBC “The World’s Local Bank” series of ads never got around to: nobody ever tells you, but you’ll notice if you visit there that nobody but Clermont wins in the Stade Marcel Michelin. Continue reading

Match Reaction: Munster 51 – 36 Northampton


Munster turned in a phenomenal second half performance that crushed the spirit of Northampton for the second time in four months and sent a tremor of fear down the spine of any and all prospective opponents in the knock-out stages of the Heineken Cup. Continue reading

Match Reaction #1: Leinster 25 – 3 Montpellier

Leinster eased into a home quarter-final fixture in an odd sort of game against last year’s Top 14 runners-up, Montpellier. Saturday lunchtime at the RDS is better than Sunday brunch at Firhill, but not by much; Leinster have kicked off four of their six group games before 2pm, which doesn’t do much for the atmosphere. Coupled with the lack of big-name opposition – and to speak frankly, outright quality – in the group, it has been a relatively undistinguished qualification campaign compared to last season’s block-busting efforts against the best that the English and French could muster.  Continue reading

Match Reaction: Munster 29 – 13 Treviso

The choke tackle: comes in both green and red for all you colour-blind rugby fans

While the Munster vs Treviso game wasn’t a ‘must-see’ by any definition, there were some intriguing elements to it. That should be qualified to ‘intriguing elements for Irish fans’, because the interest came more in the selection than the action. Continue reading