The Dying Days Of The Diddymen

The Leinster second-string backline head out to training. They’re very keen on playing on tightly-mown surfaces, both so that their flashy skills and quick feet are in evidence and so that they can actually see each other. It’d be like patrolling in Vietnam if they had to play in a meadow. Because they’re all midgets, y’see?

There’s nothing inherently noble or right about having a small backline, rather than one composed of enormous, planet-boshing mutants. When old-timers quote the gospel that rugby is a sport for all shapes and sizes, they conveniently forget that a good big ‘un will always beat a good little ‘un.  Continue reading

Advertisements

Mole Management Program

The Mole is back, three weeks into the domestic season, just like an international. Is the player management program of any benefit? We’re not sure either, so let’s just ease back into things and see how we get on. Continue reading

Hard Core Welsh

The current Ospreys backline aren’t exactly “no-stats superstars” – Shane Williams has scored 58 international tries and Dan Biggar has kicked 300 points this season – but they’re a long way from the Galacticos of Phillips, Hook, Henson and Byrne.

Looking ahead to the upcoming Pro12 Grand Final between Leinster and the Ospreys, a quick review of the Ospreys’ Heineken Cup pool games is very educational.  Continue reading

Heineken Cup Final Reaction #1: M’Learned Friends Of The Bench

Cronin scoots in on eighty minutes for the fifth Leinster try. While it must have been hard to take for Ulster fans, Leinster fans will be happy that the team played for the whole match and kept scoring until the final whistle.

Leinster were always going to try and stretch the eighty minutes; one of their major advantages over Ulster lay in the fact that they had more talent on the bench, especially in the pack. The starting eights seemed quite equal on pre-match inspection, but it was obvious that there was a quality disparity in whom the respective coaches could call off the bench.  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

Q: What Can You Read Into A Game Against Newport Gwent Dragons?

A: Probably Too Much

It would be very interesting to hear the opinions of Devin Toner on a youthful Leinster team’s win in Newport ten days ago. Toner has started the last five editions of this fixture – teammate Kev McLaughlin has started the last four – and it has long been one of the curios on the calendar in terms of selection. Continue reading

“If Isa Was Irish”

Isa Nacewa has been selected to play his 100th game for Leinster tomorrow in the Pro12 semi-final against Glasgow.

The story goes a little bit like this: “If Isa Nacewa had never been called off the bench for the last two minutes of a game by Fiji back in the 2003 Rugby World Cup as a 21 year old, he’d be an Irish international by now.”  Continue reading