Ireland RWC15 Report Cards, Pt.1 – Front Rows

Is the RWC the be all and end all? No it’s not – but it’s a useful benchmark, amongst other things. I shake my head sometimes at the Ghosts of World Cups Past that haunt every step of the tournament and what inferences can be drawn from some coincidental detail. Cup rugby is unforgiving because it’s knock out: so one bad game, an unsympathetic referee, a series of unfortunate injuries, and you’re out … with no shot at redemption. Continue reading

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Ruck Marks – Ireland’s Autumn Series

Paul O'Connell's expression says it all. Ireland were seconds away from a first win over New Zealand in history, but it was snatched out of their hands.

Paul O’Connell’s expression says it all. Ireland were seconds away from a first win over New Zealand in the history of games between the two countries, but it was snatched out of their hands.

Amidst no small dollop of carping and moaning about what a pain in the arse it was, we mentioned at the end of the last Ruck Marks article that we’d try and run a similar exercise using Ireland’s November tests as our subjects. We surprised ourselves by actually carrying this through [just like we carried through our tag index … all the way up to ‘D’] with a Boxeresque appetite for dumb labour. Continue reading

Match Reaction #1: Rory Best’s Try

Chunk Jacobsen has gotten past the Healy-Ross contain, but it's too little and too late: Best has smashed through Mike Blair and is about to dot down Ireland's first try of the day.

The Mole enjoyed Liam Toland’s early morning article in today’s Irish Times – a good read all the way through, and you can tell that he enjoyed the technicality of Rory Best’s opening score, a well-contrived lineout move that created a potent mismatch of running a big forward at a small back over a short distance. Continue reading