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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →