Donnacha Ryan and Devin Toner celebrate Ireland’s victory over the All Blacks in Chicago. They’re neither the most complementary second row partnership that Ireland have fielded in the professional era, nor the most individually talented locks, but they’ve succeeded where more illustrious pairings have failed.
Given the number of headlines sent to print and the variety of plaudits doled out for Ireland’s performances in November, it has been telling that very few of those made a hero of Devin Toner, one of only two Irish players to have gone the full 80 minutes in the three games against Southern Hemisphere opposition. Continue reading →
Conor Murray and Andrew Trimble make an effective last ditch tackle on England wing Johnny May to prevent a certain try early in the game [photo copyright – Mark Pain].
Narrow margins! England versus Ireland was a high intensity game, and a different standard to the rest of the championship thus far. English coach Stuart Lancaster isn’t given to exaggeration, and his description of the game as “a real test match” was both accurate and, in its way, laudatory. The action was genuinely high-paced for much of the 80 minutes, and with that came individual errors from a lot of players on both sides of the pitch. Unrelentingly high impact collisions from gun to tape will do that to you. Continue reading →
A letter from Joe to the Scots (Book of Schmidt II.1)
The road to being canonised in the Catholic faith goes through Servant of God, Venerable, Blessed before arriving at Saint. Two miracles must have been performed through the Saint’s intercession. Continue reading →
He's got the qualification but can he spread the word?
After looking at Graham Henry’s Prefects and the ‘ideal’ number of caps (660) that a championship team should have, we thought we’d have a look at Ireland and how the numbers fitted the team. Can Graham Henry’s policy be replicated in other situations or is he simply fortunate to come from a country with a great rugby culture and a comparatively large player base?
Stuart “Retainer” Lancaster is going to interview this week for his job. If Lancaster was unknown before the 6 Nations, he is high profile now and even his main competition for the job (Nick Mallet) accepts that he’ll probably get it. There were low expectations surrounding England before the tournament but things look much rosier now. Continue reading →
Ireland would most likely have lost on Saturday but Tomas O’Leary’s decision to carry the ball over his own line and concede a 5m scrum after Owen Farrell’s aimless kick was a dreadful lack of composure from a player woefully short of form and confidence.
The England scrum is about to disappear stage right in about three seconds ...
Twenty-four of England’s thirty-point haul came directly from scrum penalties; the other six were from two penalties late in either half for offside. Rory Best was pinged for “taking up the space” on the English side of a ruck on about 33 minutes, and the Irish defensive line were penalized en masse at 76 mins in front of the sticks, from which Farrell mercifully took the points instead of inflicting another scrum. Yep, it could have been even worse … Continue reading →
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 →