No Tigers In Captivity

What do you get when you cross a Lion with a Tiger? A liger ... bred for its skills in magic. I remember when I was hip.

What do you get when you cross a Lion with a Tiger? A liger … bred for its skills in magic. Geoff Parling is Napoleon, Tom Youngs is Kip.

Aviva Premiership champions Leicester Tigers were equalled only by RaboDirect Pro12 winners Leinster in terms of the number of their players selected in the original party by Warren Gatland for his touring Lions; both saw six players called up to ‘the ultimate honour in northern hemisphere rugby’/a HSBC-sponsored travelling jamboree to clobber understrength provincial teams for the amusement of sauced-up tourists and ex-pats.

While the Leinster-based players had been flagged as contenders for a number of years on the strength of back-to-back Heineken Cups and previous experience [incredibly, this is Brian O’Driscoll’s fourth tour, while Rob Kearney was a standout four years ago in South Africa and Jamie Heaslip played every minute of that test series], a couple of Leicester players made the squad in a very hard way, emerging from obscurity over the space of one very arduous and ultimately rewarding season.  Continue reading

Our Friends From The North, Pt.3 – Ryan Caldwell And The Lessons He Could Teach You

Ryan Caldwell breaks away from Mamuka Gorgodze in Bath’s 2011-12 Heineken Cup clash against Montpellier.

Some time ago we published a couple of articles about Ulster-born players Chris Henry and Roger Wilson. Apparently it was going to be a four-part series [or so we claimed], except we never bothered to post anything after the first two chapters. That’d be the sands of time slipping through the gnarled fingers of Old Man Editorial Control. Wait a minute – that makes no sense. In the words of Dexys, plus ça changeContinue reading

Match Report: Bath 13 – 18 Leinster

Ryan Caldwell tries to find the 'Off' button on Jonny Sexton

Over the last three seasons since Leinster have established themselves as European big hitters, their trips to England have always been tight games. There was the 25-23 victory over Saracens in Wembley last year, the 11-11 draw with London Irish in Twickenham at the end of January 2010, the 6-5 win over Harlequins [the infamous ‘Bloodgate’ game] in the 2008-09 quarter final in The Stoop, and a 12-19 loss to London Wasps in January 2009 in Twickenham. Games against English teams have long been tight affairs, and Sunday’s 18-13 win over Bath continued the trend.  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

Joe Schmidt’s Away Team

During Matt Williams’ time in charge of Leinster, the Women’s Auxiliary Balloon Corps revolted. If memory serves correctly it was in the lead up to a Heineken Cup semi-final against Perpignan and was one of the reasons that Leinster and Williams parted company. The WABC was composed of squad players who held tackle bags for the Galacticos but never got selected ahead of the established stars. Continue reading