Ireland RWC2015 Report Cards – Pt.3 The Backrow

A comment I saw recently that I really liked was “We still obsess about ‘ball carriers’ instead of ‘ball players'”. This back row selection paled by comparison with the original 2011 selection of O’Brien, Heaslip, Ferris, Leamy and David Wallace (who of course missed out through injury). They didn’t lack for effort but couldn’t bring the same impact as that quintet in their pomp. Continue reading

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

Ruck Marks

Ruck Marks

About four or five months ago, The Mole became interested in finding a way to analyse and attribute value to the work done by each player at ruck and breakdown. Continue reading

Transferring Talent

Eoin O'Malley has had a very promising career cut short mid-stride. With Brian O'Driscoll definitively in his last season and held back due to his summer exertions with the Lions, it's a bad blow to the team as well.

Eoin O’Malley has had a very promising career cut short mid-stride. Serious injury is an ever-present threat in rugby, but it’s impossible to dwell on it and perform at your optimum. O’Malley’s early retirement means that not one of the Leinster players born in 1988 who represented Ireland at U20 level in 2008 – and there were ten of them – are currently contracted to the club.

The argument was made to The Mole recently that Clermont have missed their chance to win the Heineken Cup, with a number of their most prominent players having passed their prime.  Continue reading

Errors And Omissions Dwelt On

"And that's my gameplan, gentlemen." Who's going to tell him? "Shit gameplan, cap'n." Good man, Prop Number One!

“And that’s my gameplan, gentlemen.” Hmmm.

Neither coach covered himself in glory at the weekend. While Ben Mowen’s shutdown of Mike Phillips was a highly successful tactic, that has to be balanced with Deans’ selection of James O’Connor as outhalf and placekicker.  Continue reading

Losing Your Linchpin

Sure, there are a lot of moving parts in a team and they all have to do their job, but some are more vital than others.

Many moons ago, when the Mole was a nipper and student transport offered only two options – the heel-toe express or the push bike – to get to training or school or any of the other ‘priorities’ of our young lives, he learned all about the linchpin. Uniquely shaped [square at the top and tapering smoothly within its two inches to a round threaded base], the linchpin connected the crank-arm of the pedal through the centre of the big cogs of the front chain ring to the joint of the frame where the seat tube met the down tube. It seemed insignificant in the overall use of a bicycle: it wasn’t a wheel which covered the ground, and it wasn’t a pedal which took the weight. But without a linchpin, the bike wouldn’t go. You couldn’t apply power and you couldn’t cover ground. Continue reading

The Blame Game

Ah, the blame game sucks. Let’s play Hungry, Hungry Hippoes!

Sean O’Brien has put his hand up on behalf of his team mates and said that Ireland’s players have to take the blame. Although ‘compacts’ – agreements between parties that don’t really suit anybody – are all the rage across Europe these days, the Mole feels obliged to refuse Seanie’s offer. No dice, big man. Continue reading