Ireland RWC2015 Report Cards – Pt.3 The Backrow

A comment I saw recently that I really liked was “We still obsess about ‘ball carriers’ instead of ‘ball players'”. This back row selection paled by comparison with the original 2011 selection of O’Brien, Heaslip, Ferris, Leamy and David Wallace (who of course missed out through injury). They didn’t lack for effort but couldn’t bring the same impact as that quintet in their pomp. 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

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

Our Friends From The North Pt.1 – Chris Henry’s Coming To Dinner

Chris Henry predicts the number of minutes he’ll get off the bench for Ireland next season.

What looks like having been the sole dog day of the summer fell a month to the day after Ireland’s dismal 60-0 drubbing. Continue reading

The Fingers Of The Red Hand

Even for The Mole, there has almost been surplus coverage of the Heineken Cup final in Twickenham. Ulster and Leinster have been analysed, examined and dissected in such depth that it is very difficult to consider any angle that would contribute anything further in the search for clues as to which team might have the ascendency in this game. Continue reading

Heineken Cup Final Preview: Leinster vs Ulster

Having produced some weighty previews for the two semi-finals [and here] , there’s not a whole heap new to say about the two Irish provinces competing for the Heineken Cup on Saturday.

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Match Reaction #1: Munster vs Ulster

Ulster performed an astonishing smash-and-grab raid in the first half-hour at Thomond park, then stuck around to take an absolute walloping from the suddenly awakened and irate home-owners before finally staggering away with the spoils. Continue reading