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
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
One month ago, Vern Cotter took les Jaunards to the South West of France for a dress rehearsal of their Heineken Cup semi-final against Leinster. 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
Biggie #1: Isaac Boss
In the style of Sports Illustrated doyen Peter King, here’s an interesting nugget: Isaac Boss hasn’t started an international for Ireland in four years. He made his last start against Scotland on 11 August 2007, the first of the warm-up matches for the ill-fated RWC07.
No matter what way you look at it, that’s really pretty incredible. The Rotorua-born scrum-half has made two world cup panels under two different coaches four years apart, and hasn’t started once in between. There have been forty-one test matches since that game: twenty-nine under Declan Kidney, ten under Eddie O’Sullivan and two under Michael Bradley. He hasn’t been in the starting line-up once. 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