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

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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

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.

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What Me Worry? Ireland vs Italy Match Preview 1

Sometimes it's not a bad thing to be a bit bullish about an upcoming game. The Mole recognizes that there's little good Declan Kidney can do by saying that we should go out there and feed the Italians thirty points, but at least one person in the meedja should make that point.

Ireland beat Italy 36-6 on in RWC11 about five months ago. Bear that in mind as the standard for the upcoming game between the two sides for three good reasons: Continue reading

Match Preview: Bath vs Leinster

Come for the victory, stay for the John Wood the Younger showpiece of Georgian architecture that is the Royal Crescent

Leinster travel to the beautiful Somerset town of Bath in the first leg of their Heineken Cup double-header. Travelling fans are hoping for a smooth crossing in light of the recent hurricane force winds that have strafed the Irish Sea, and the team will be hoping to leave with the vital away victory which would put them in a commanding position at the top of the group. Continue reading