Sakoku

Axel Foley's Shogun

Axel Foley’s Shogun

As Rob Penney departs for the Land of the Rising Sun, the Mole stumbled across a reference to an era of that proud nation’s history that struck him as appropriate for the times. Continue reading

Ireland vs England Match Reaction

Not an oul fellah in sight: Ben Youngs, Joe Launchbury, Peter O'Mahony and Cian Healy are four youngsters who will have big parts to play over the coming decade in these clashes. The torch has been well and truly passed in England, and Ireland have some catching up to do.

Not an oul fellah in sight: Ben Youngs, Joe Launchbury, Peter O’Mahony and Cian Healy are four youngsters who will have big parts to play over the coming decade in these clashes. The torch has been well and truly passed in England, and Ireland have some catching up to do.

There are always a dozen good reasons why a team loses a relatively close match – invariably, some of them are to do with the other crowd playing well.  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

HEC Quarter-Final Preview: Munster vs Ulster

An Irish derby quarter-final in Thomond Park really re-enforces the fact that Ulster have finally emerged from a decade-long slump. They fought their way through a difficult but fortunately timetabled group, and after a rocky start to the season are now on something of a run, having won their last four games. Continue reading

Ireland’s Giteau

Leinster’s fine unbeaten run was ended last Friday night by a feisty Ospreys team. While the Neath-Swansea outfit were clearly the more powerful team in the second half – aided by the inclusion of their confidence-charged Welsh Grand Slammers – there were a couple of performances worthy of further discussion from the Leinster midfield backs. Continue reading

Talking ’bout My Generation

We got you a carriage clock

Jonny Sexton plays with an edge to his game. He let Rougerie know all about it after his first tackle of the French match and famously shared his feelings with Ronan O’Gara in Croke Park. He has at times looked uneasy and even sullen in an Irish jersey this season but allowed himself a satisfied grin after knocking over his fourth kick against Scotland. Continue reading

France 17 – 17 Ireland – Match Reaction #1: Halfbacks

Francois Trinh-Duc: the French outhalf struggled to put shape on the game when the Plan A – Bash It Up The Outhalf Channel – fell on its face.

The Mole thought in the build-up to the game that the absence of Yachvilli was overplayed by some commentators. Parra is such an accomplished operator in his own right, and is perhaps a little more dangerous as a runner.  However, Yachvili has a wealth of experience that Parra can’t yet hope to compete with, and it showed in a couple of circumstances.  Continue reading