Ireland RWC 2015 Report Card: Part 4, Half Backs

Ireland brought only two scrum halves to this tournament and a third choice outhalf who played very little even in the event of the incumbent getting injured. The national inability to produce international quality scrum halves with any sort of consistency is a mystery to me. Of the twenty scrum halves selected for the last seven Lions tours, only two were Irish and Tomas O’Leary got injured before he could travel.

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

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.

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 #2: Leinster vs Cardiff

The Cardiff Blues brought a knife to a gunfight at Lansdowne Road, and were absolutely hockeyed off the pitch in the first half. They saved some pride with a hard-fought if uninspiring performance in the second forty, but were ultimately held scoreless for 78 minutes, having opened the game with a Leigh Halfpenny penalty.  Continue reading

Montpellier 16 – 16 Leinster

You'd take that result every day of the week.

Jonny Sexton nervelessly knocked over the last kick of the game amidst a racket of whistles and boos to grab a draw for Leinster against Montpellier, last season’s Top 14 runners-up. Continue reading

Report Card: Half Back

I'll have a monkey on the jolly at the next in Lingfield.

Conor Murray: It seemed that Murray made the plane only because Tomas O’Leary had one howler too many against France and three scrum halves were needed in the party. Once selected, he continued his meteoric rise and became first choice scrum half before the end of the tour. At times against the Welsh, he seemed a bit off the pace, no doubt a consequence of exposure to a higher pace of game than he was used to. Murray offered a physical presence with a well rounded skill set and was a definite plus from the tournament. Continue reading