The Big 46 [Sic] Pt.2 – Then Everything Is Wrapped Up In A Neat Little Package

 

The idea that test matches are a neat block of matches played at one level, with Heineken Cup games forming another distinct grouping a step down from that in intensity, speed, skill levels, physicality, time allowed in possession and tactical appreciation – and Pro12 matches a discrete block a further notch down from those Heineken Cup games – is one to which The Mole doesn’t subscribe. Continue reading

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

Match Reaction #2: Absent Friends

O’Connell and Heaslip: how’s about you do your job, and I do my job?

It’s strange to say that somebody who’s only winning his second cap could teach somebody who has been to three World Cups and two Lions Tours a thing or two, but one of the odd pleasures of this second test was not seeing Paul O’Connell carry static, one-out ball into contact and go to ground. Brodie Retallick didn’t get on the ball much: he just went around charging into rucks and bashing things.  Continue reading

Pre-Match Nerves

The Mole was fortunate enough to do a postgrad with a number of interesting, well-rounded people. At the weekends, they would pursue pleasant, sociable activities. The Mole would play matches of a Saturday and spend most Sundays hungover, like a good ol’ stereotype. What would it be like to pursue pleasant, sociable activities with well-rounded people? Where would the nerves come into play? That blood pumping, stomach churning switched-on feeling of a Saturday morning that served as a precursor to the main event. You’d miss it. Continue reading

Match Reaction: Leinster 19 – 15 Glasgow

Vintage Heaslip: Jamie Heaslip backs himself and goes around the outside of the Glasgow defense for a fifty yard break. The Leinster No8 still hasn’t lost a match as captain of his province.

Leinster battled out a teak tough eighty minutes against a gritty Glasgow side to seal a place in their third successive Magner’s League/Pro12 Grand Final.  Continue reading

Match Reaction: Clermont Auvergne 15 – 19 Leinster

Vintage Drico.

In a raucous and colour-drenched Stade Chaban-Delmas, Leinster edged out French heavyweights Clermonts in an absolute dogfight of a semi-final.  Continue reading

Still Got It … Dexy’s, That Is

Big Bad Brad Carnegie Thorn: they don't get much All Blacker than this guy, the spiritual successor to Richard 'Tiny' White and Colin 'Pinetree' Meads.

There’s an absolutely cracking interview by Dexy’s in this morning’s Irish Times with Brad Thorn. Thorn probably doesn’t transcend rugby like Jonah Lomu did, but inside the sport he has earned as much respect and admiration as anybody who has played the game in the professional era. What a hero!