There are always a dozen good reasons why a team loses a relatively close match – invariably, some of them are to do with the other crowd playing well. Continue reading
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
I like Rob Penney, I think it’s hard not to. The press like him, which is important because their portrayal of him colours the public’s perception. Penney gives good copy and is enthusiastically positive, most of the time. Continue reading
Peter O’Reilly reported a few interesting quotes in one of his pieces at the weekend. Both were from Leinster men and both reinforced a point that the Mole has held since hearing proposals that Joe Schmidt turn up at Irish sessions and run the lads through a few moves. Continue reading
Roger Wilson: since making his debut for Ulster as a 21-year old in September 2002, the Belfast-born No8 has played an enormous amount of professional rugby. In five seasons with Ulster he played 116 games [101 starts] and since moving to Northampton at the end of the 2007-08 season he hasn’t let up, playing 117 games [108 starts] for the Saints. In total, he has played 46 Heineken Cup games, all but one of them from kick-off.
How many tests for Ireland has he played? One. Against Japan. Seven years ago. Continue reading
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 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