Buy, Rent Or Steal [Or Loan]

The news that Glasgow Warriors have released their Scottish test-capped second row Kieran Low on a loan deal to Saracens  probably didn’t break the internet in the same manner as just about everything else is said to do so these days, but it nevertheless impacted tangentially on something that The Mole had been thinking about over the last few months. Continue reading

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Match Preview: Ireland vs New Zealand @ Hamilton

Steve Hansen was right: New Zealand didn’t play that well in the Christchurch test. Some of that was forced on them by an aggressive, hard-nosed Irish performance, but they also made a number of unforced errors. Ireland didn’t perform cleverly or with the required level of concentration and aggression in a number of areas in the Auckland test [especially after the first half hour] and as a result handed New Zealand not just the result, but also the big performance. England caved in a similar way in Lansdowne Road in 2011, and let Ireland play close to their potential.  Continue reading

Match Reaction: Australia 25 – 23 Wales

David Harris celebrates with Dave Dennis; Adam Jones is gutted. Losing in the last minute has a taste all of its own, and both Welsh and Irish players reacquainted themselves with it at the weekend.

Of all the northern hemisphere teams touring southern hemisphere countries, Wales were the most confident. A number of factors were stacked in their favour: their players are well rested, due to the Welsh clubs’ lack of success in European competition [even those players based in France like Mike Phillips and James Hook had no involvement in the business end of the Top 14]; they had an almost entirely injury-free squad, with the notable exception of Big Bopper Jamie Roberts; and they were Grand Slam champions. They should have represented the Six Nations teams’ best chance of a series victory against an injury-ravaged Australia. Instead, they haven’t even been able to take the series to a third test.  Continue reading

Match Reaction: New Zealand 42 – 10 Ireland

Israel Dagg didn’t bag a hat-trick of tries, but he was just as damaging to Irish hopes. His much-anticipated match-up with Rob Kearney was a blow-out.

Ireland started their three test series against New Zealand with enterprise and verve, but the All Blacks were able to stand up well to the twenty-five minute onslaught, bought a lead with a couple of long-range Dan Carter penalties and then utterly took over, wrapping up the game before half-time. Continue reading

Match Preview: New Zealand vs Ireland, First Test

Ireland are facing into a tough test match a long way from home on Saturday. They should park it at that and forget about everything else surrounding the game. It doesn’t really matter that the Kiwis are world champions: they always turn out top quality teams … and besides, they’re missing a significant number of the team that won the trophy. Continue reading

Match Reaction: South Africa U20s 19 – 23 Ireland U20s

The Irish U20s celebrate a cracking opening day win over hosts South Africa in the Junior World Championships. They led 13-3 at halftime and withheld a ferocious early second half onslaught to calmly see out the game. 

A win against a Bok U20 team on home soil is an enormous result – normally at this age-group, the physical advantage of the South Africans over their Irish counterparts is even more pronounced than at test level, but a hard-nosed Irish pack got down and dirty and showed outstanding toughness, effort and discipline to take the game away from the Boks. Continue reading

Heineken Cup Final Preview: Leinster vs Ulster

Having produced some weighty previews for the two semi-finals [and here] , there’s not a whole heap new to say about the two Irish provinces competing for the Heineken Cup on Saturday.

Continue reading