Ireland Second Rows in 2016 – The Post-Paul O’Connell Era

toner-ryan_new-zealand

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

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Where’ve All The Rude Boys Gone? Japan

Stephen Ferris

Stephen Ferris looks likely to accept a one year deal to play in Japan next season rather than accept an offer from the IRFU that is contingent on gametime. Having missed out on contention for a Lions tour this summer due to an injury plagued season, it’s not a bad idea to earn good money, play some lower intensity rugby and then come back for a season leading up to RWC15, at which stage he’ll just have turned 30 years old.

If Stephen Ferris makes the rumoured switch to the Top League, he won’t be the first Irish backrower to play in Japan’s top flight rugby competition. Continue reading

Tighthead Locks

Stuff Tighthead Locks Love #1: Mauling

The Mole had a right little outburst of smug chuckling when Will Greenwood described kick-offs as ‘almost like a new set-piece’ in his analysis of the Munster vs Northampton HEC Round 6 tie. And he is moved to a similarly snide smirk at Gavin Cummiskey’s article in yesterday’s Irish Times.

Continue reading