Print is Dead, Long Live Print – No 1: No Borders

I was presented with a copy of Tom English’s book No Borders and asked for my thoughts and here they are. Continue reading

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Ruck Marks: England vs Ireland 2014

Conor Murray and Andrew Trimble make an effective last ditch tackle on England Wing Johnny May to prevent a certain try early in the game.

Conor Murray and Andrew Trimble make an effective last ditch tackle on England wing Johnny May to prevent a certain try early in the game [photo copyright – Mark Pain].

Narrow margins! England versus Ireland was a high intensity game, and a different standard to the rest of the championship thus far. English coach Stuart Lancaster isn’t given to exaggeration, and his description of the game as “a real test match” was both accurate and, in its way, laudatory. The action was genuinely high-paced for much of the 80 minutes, and with that came individual errors from a lot of players on both sides of the pitch. Unrelentingly high impact collisions from gun to tape will do that to you. Continue reading

Transferring Talent

Eoin O'Malley has had a very promising career cut short mid-stride. With Brian O'Driscoll definitively in his last season and held back due to his summer exertions with the Lions, it's a bad blow to the team as well.

Eoin O’Malley has had a very promising career cut short mid-stride. Serious injury is an ever-present threat in rugby, but it’s impossible to dwell on it and perform at your optimum. O’Malley’s early retirement means that not one of the Leinster players born in 1988 who represented Ireland at U20 level in 2008 – and there were ten of them – are currently contracted to the club.

The argument was made to The Mole recently that Clermont have missed their chance to win the Heineken Cup, with a number of their most prominent players having passed their prime.  Continue reading

Attempted Burglary Thwarted

Leigh Halfpenny had a very, very long kick at the end of the game to snatch the match for the Lions. If he'd managed to get it, the Lions would have got away with robbery.

Leigh Halfpenny had a very, very long kick at the end of the game to snatch the match for the Lions. If he’d managed to get it, the Lions would have got away with robbery.

The Lions had a last minute kick to win the second test that, had it gone over, would have stolen the match from an Australian team that played all the rugby.   Continue reading

Wales v Ireland Match Reaction

A classic ‘game of two halves’ started with two prominent absentees. Warren Gatland’s appointment as Lions coach has left his Welsh team without their galvanising force and they looked shorn of purpose for much of the first half. Justin Tipuric’s omission amazed the Mole, particularly in light of Ryan Jones’ thumb injury. Continue reading

Porter’N’Potatoes

Hey Kirwan, call yourself the best winger in the world?

The memories of end of season trips to the Southern Hemisphere have proven hard wired for Irish rugby supporters, with 1992 a particular reference point for the Mole. Perhaps in that light, I see shadows where none exist but the overseas’ view of Irish rugby 16 years into professionalism and six European Cups later still tends toward “great passion at the start; contain for one hour; run out of steam; pints of the black stuff”. Continue reading

Match Preview: New Zealand vs Ireland, First Test

Ireland are facing into a tough test match a long way from home on Saturday. They should park it at that and forget about everything else surrounding the game. It doesn’t really matter that the Kiwis are world champions: they always turn out top quality teams … and besides, they’re missing a significant number of the team that won the trophy. Continue reading