And the Final Table Shows …

With due credit to Irish Times rugby correspondent Gavin Cummiskey, the key motivation that will have driven two national coaches in particular during this week is the potential impact that Saturday’s results in the Six Nations will have on World Ranking points. Continue reading

Get To Know An Englishman: Dan “Little Joey” Cole

Calm down laydeez ...

When England beat Australia back in June 2010, Dan “Little Joey” Cole was about the best forward on the pitch. He had made his debut in the 2010 Six Nations as a 22 year old tighthead, succeeding World Cup-winner Phil Vickery, who had held the jersey down since 1998 [give or take a few spells out due to injury], but it was that win in Sydney where Cole made his bones: he had just turned 23, it was his seventh cap and it looked as though England had found a new tighthead anchor for the next decade. Continue reading

National Stereotypes and Psychology

E crept past S, who were hammered by W, who won late against I, so E v I = ?

The English never fear the French. The French never fear the Irish. The Irish no longer fear the Welsh. The French are always wary of the Scots. The Welsh fear nobody, but hate the Irish (according to Gatland). The Scots always fancy themselves against the English. The Irish don’t know how to beat the French and when it happens it’s by accident. Ireland love the English as favourites, and always assume they can beat them. Continue reading

Match Reaction #3: All Kinds Of Everything

Morrison has Tommy Bowe pinned for the one-two-three! Whatchu gonna do when Hulkamania runs wild on you, brutha?

This was an oddly splintered sort of match, which suffered quite badly from the spectator’s point of view from innumerable breaks in play. The Mole doesn’t want to belittle the injury suffered by Scottish winger Lee Jones in a clash of heads with Andrew Trimble; while that provided for the longest delay, it was a fair and correct call from referee Pollock in order to safeguard the health of the player.  Continue reading

Match Reaction #2: Tommy Nooooooooooooooo!

Tommy Bowe was denied what seemed an inevitable try by some stout defending by Scotland’s Graeme Morrison from a crossfield kick by Jonny Sexton which almost caught the Scottish defence napping. As he took the ball, it look as it if was harder to score than not to and eventually he did wrestle the ball into contact with the ground. In the now time honoured fashion the Telly Ref was summoned. There can not have been a tournament with more references to the third umpire than this Championship. Continue reading

Match Reaction #1: Rory Best’s Try

Chunk Jacobsen has gotten past the Healy-Ross contain, but it's too little and too late: Best has smashed through Mike Blair and is about to dot down Ireland's first try of the day.

The Mole enjoyed Liam Toland’s early morning article in today’s Irish Times – a good read all the way through, and you can tell that he enjoyed the technicality of Rory Best’s opening score, a well-contrived lineout move that created a potent mismatch of running a big forward at a small back over a short distance. 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

Talking ’bout My Generation

We got you a carriage clock

Jonny Sexton plays with an edge to his game. He let Rougerie know all about it after his first tackle of the French match and famously shared his feelings with Ronan O’Gara in Croke Park. He has at times looked uneasy and even sullen in an Irish jersey this season but allowed himself a satisfied grin after knocking over his fourth kick against Scotland. Continue reading

Revenge Of The Alistairs?

Scotland are on the up, powered by youngsters like Gray, Denton and Hogg and steeled by a couple of captains in Ford and Barclay.

The attacking threat posed by the Scots on Saturday is sharper than it has been for a number of years; no Irish fan should underestimate the task in hand. Even before Ireland suffered the loss of O’Connell, Murray and O’Brien, their opponents had shown with their last display that they would be a handful. Continue reading