Connacht is the runt of the litter of Irish rugby. While there’s various dynamics at play between Leinster, Munster and Ulster, the attitude towards Connacht is that they’re everyone’s favourite underdog and that it’s a bitch of an away trip, to mix canine metaphors.
Twenty-four of England’s thirty-point haul came directly from scrum penalties; the other six were from two penalties late in either half for offside. Rory Best was pinged for “taking up the space” on the English side of a ruck on about 33 minutes, and the Irish defensive line were penalized en masse at 76 mins in front of the sticks, from which Farrell mercifully took the points instead of inflicting another scrum. Yep, it could have been even worse … Continue reading
Leinster lie waaay out in front in the RaboDirect 12 and seem assured of a home semi final and home final, should they win that match. Huge kudos must go to Joe Schmidt who, after an unimpressive start with the province, has his squad purring nicely. The whole Leinster organisation is operating smoothly at present, with the recruitment of Brad Thorn for the remainder of the season the latest piece of positive news. Continue reading
Leinster eased into a home quarter-final fixture in an odd sort of game against last year’s Top 14 runners-up, Montpellier. Saturday lunchtime at the RDS is better than Sunday brunch at Firhill, but not by much; Leinster have kicked off four of their six group games before 2pm, which doesn’t do much for the atmosphere. Coupled with the lack of big-name opposition – and to speak frankly, outright quality – in the group, it has been a relatively undistinguished qualification campaign compared to last season’s block-busting efforts against the best that the English and French could muster. Continue reading
“One wonders how Connacht have viewed the progress of Seán Cronin with Leinster in the Heineken Cup, and the contributions of Keatley, the try-scoring Fionn Carr and Jamie Hagan to the weekend victories of Munster and Leinster, as they slipped to their seventh successive defeat. If the strong are to continue plucking selectively from Connacht, then there has to be more traffic going the other way too.”* Continue reading