It’s Grim Up North: Ulster’s Malaise


Les Kiss_Ulster Coach

Les Kiss, the now former Director of Rugby at Ulster, did the state a hell of a lot of service – not in the Charlie Haughey way, and I’m not implying any infringement on the nature of cross-border co-operation in Irish rugby, or unduly politicising his role … Jaysis, probably should just say something else nice about him. I only have so many non-Simpsons quotes though.

It’s been a long time since The Demented Mole shook the dirt off his mighty paws and focused his myopia on once-proud Ulster. There was a background article in the works – there always is, it’s just that time and topicality seem to escape them – before Les Kiss resigned his post, but the timing of his departure set against the background of the Jackson/Olding trial throws the disfunction of the organisation into relief.  Continue reading

Ireland Second Rows in 2016 – The Post-Paul O’Connell Era


Donnacha Ryan and Devin Toner celebrate Ireland’s victory over the All Blacks in Chicago. They’re neither the most complementary second row partnership that Ireland have fielded in the professional era, nor the most individually talented locks, but they’ve succeeded where more illustrious pairings have failed.

Given the number of headlines sent to print and the variety of plaudits doled out for Ireland’s performances in November, it has been telling that very few of those made a hero of Devin Toner, one of only two Irish players to have gone the full 80 minutes in the three games against Southern Hemisphere opposition.  Continue reading

Ireland RWC 2015 Report Card: Part 7, Brains Trust

Kinda looks like 1/4. And keeps up our teapot theme for this review.

Kinda looks like 1/4. And keeps up our teapot theme for this review.

This was the Joe Schmidt show and because of that a lot of people hoped for the best. The Kiwi seems an intense, genuine man who cares about what he does and who has a lot of integrity. Riding shotgun with him were Les Kiss, the affable Aussie headed to Ulster and Simon Easterby, the Yorkshireman with sixty five caps for Ireland. Continue reading

SARU Turns Politics Down A Notch And Focuses On Rugby Success

Rassie Erasmus, the new GM of the Springboks. Wonder who he has his eye on in the draft?

The South African Rugby Union have just appointed Rassie Erasmus as the Springbok general manager. ESPN reports that The former Stormers coach will take on responsibility for the high performance teams and will also be involved with the Springboks when they are in camp.” Continue reading

Ireland vs Wales: Reaction 3

Les Kiss – not one of his better days

It seems really distasteful to criticise Les Kiss. He comes across as a hell of a nice guy and a chap absolutely brimful of integrity. He has been the most innovative defense coach in Ireland’s history and his demeanour, his depth of knowledge about how the game is played at the highest level today and his record all point towards ideal head-coach material.  Continue reading