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
Connacht is the runt of the litter of Irish rugby. While there’s various dynamics at play between Leinster, Munster and Ulster, the attitude towards Connacht is that they’re everyone’s favourite underdog and that it’s a bitch of an away trip, to mix canine metaphors.
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
Paul O’Connell’s injury deprives Ireland of their captain at the same time that Brian O’Driscoll is missing. Under Eddie O’Sullivan, this was an absolute disaster – the team relied hugely on its two main men. While the injuries almost certainly make Mike Ross the most important man on the Irish team, they also provide others with a chance to stake a claim. Continue reading
“One wonders how Connacht have viewed the progress of Seán Cronin with Leinster in the Heineken Cup, and the contributions of Keatley, the try-scoring Fionn Carr and Jamie Hagan to the weekend victories of Munster and Leinster, as they slipped to their seventh successive defeat. If the strong are to continue plucking selectively from Connacht, then there has to be more traffic going the other way too.”* Continue reading
Jonny Sexton nervelessly knocked over the last kick of the game amidst a racket of whistles and boos to grab a draw for Leinster against Montpellier, last season’s Top 14 runners-up. Continue reading
Cian Healy – Mole at times during the World Cup thought that Healy was the best loosehead in the world. Continue reading