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

toner-ryan_new-zealand

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

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Buy, Rent Or Steal [Or Loan]

The news that Glasgow Warriors have released their Scottish test-capped second row Kieran Low on a loan deal to Saracens  probably didn’t break the internet in the same manner as just about everything else is said to do so these days, but it nevertheless impacted tangentially on something that The Mole had been thinking about over the last few months. Continue reading

The Transfer Window Has Opened

Andrew Conway, the youngest player in the Leinster senior squad, is on his way to Munster next season.

Andrew Conway, the youngest player in the Leinster senior squad, is on his way to Munster next season.

Amidst the media furore, recriminations, denials, Twitter shit-slinging and overuse of the word ‘floodgates’ that surrounded Johnny Sexton’s move to Racing Metro, another ground-breaking move has gone largely under the radar.  Continue reading

The Man Who Fell To Earth

Jeremy Staunton: not only could he have been a contender, he should have been a champion. How Irish rugby failed one of the most talented players of his generation is still beyond me.

The Mole read an anecdote about Jeremy Staunton on a message board about four or five months ago, and it has stuck with him since: an Irish rugby fan was at Welford Road with his English Tigers fan mate for a Premiership game, and Staunton was introduced off the bench relatively early in the match. “Great, Staunton,” the Tigers fans said to his mate, “no more tries.” Continue reading

Munster’s Slide – Rock Bottom Or Ready To Relapse?

Mick O’Driscoll leads his team off the pitch at the Liberty Stadium. Munster had just suffered their worst defeat in eight years in his last game for the province he represented more than two hundred times. He deserved better.

The Mole is like a dog with a bone, and that bone is a broken record. Engrish rangruage, forgive-eness preezeContinue reading

Ospreys v Munster Match Reaction

Would you recognise this man without trademark blue scrum cap? Quality player. Picture: Huw Evans (Murray!)

The end of an era. This match brought to mind the game against Toulouse where Mick Galwey pleaded with his team mates to keep it under 50. Munster managed to restrict the Ospreys to 45 but that will be of scant consolation over a long, barren summer. Continue reading