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.
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
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
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
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
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
“I’m surprised you guys haven’t settled on Reddan and Sexton. They had a great pace to them against England and I was thinking that these guys could be a real handful for us.” Continue reading
The Irish squad selection for RWC 2011 is due to be announced on Monday, and the smoke is clearing from one of the most hotly debated positions: scrum-half. Declan Kidney’s initial training squad selection saw the inclusion of no fewer than five scrum-halves [Isaac Boss, Conor Murray, Tomás O’Leary, Eoin Reddan and Peter Stringer], and it is widely expected that three will tavel to New Zealand. Continue reading