Send In The Clowns … Or Not

Impervious to hypnotism and all that sort of stuff – Declan Kidney's mind games are his own. Sure let's just get ready for the next cup final, after all, this is the reason why you get involved in rugby!

Declan Kidney’s substitution decisions have The Mole hearing footsteps, so to speak. With Kidney’s deserved reputation for inscrutability, and his über-questionable loyalty to some players, he’s the sort of coach that’d have you believing in conspiracy theories.  Continue reading

Revenge Of The Alistairs?

Scotland are on the up, powered by youngsters like Gray, Denton and Hogg and steeled by a couple of captains in Ford and Barclay.

The attacking threat posed by the Scots on Saturday is sharper than it has been for a number of years; no Irish fan should underestimate the task in hand. Even before Ireland suffered the loss of O’Connell, Murray and O’Brien, their opponents had shown with their last display that they would be a handful. Continue reading

Bob Dwyer on France vs Ireland

Green & Gold Rugby is a smashing site for all your SH rugby needs – and some of your NH ones too. Here’s a good article from Bob Dwyer on last Sunday’s France vs Ireland draw.

Dwyer has certain tenets that can might seem a little repetitive if you’re a regular reader, but then again a tenet is something that is an unchanging principle: it should be repetitive.

France 17 – 17 Ireland – Match Reaction #2: Tommy Bowe!

Tommy Bowe: with five tries in three matches so far, he's giving Ryle Nugent every chance to roll that name out with abandon.

The first one may have been a gift, but Bowe’s second try was a thing of beauty born of a turnover in the Irish half and two key attacking decisions. It certainly qualifies as playing rugby in your own half … but probably ‘just enough’, rather than ‘too much’. 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

Territorial Army

You might say that this is a one-off incident, but it betrays all the hallmarks of a team that are not thinking on the pitch, or don't understand what they're doing, or are badly coached.

It seems from his post-match comments after both games that Kidney is very, very big on establishing position on the pitch before every attack. No shit, eh? Well, sometimes it’s interesting to hear the coach talking about how Ireland are trying to play the game, because it can be difficult to make out from the action on the pitch.  Continue reading

The Art of Substitution

Being the head of a national rugby team is less about coaching and more about management than any other level of the game. In that role, the Mole considers that substitution is a key consideration and that Declan Kidney and Phillippe Saint-Andre both scored high on this weekend. However, Warren Gatland seems to do so every week. Continue reading

Provincial Success ≠ International Success

While Irish fans [in particular] might be a little bit too much in love with the Heineken Cup as a format – I’d argue that they’re not, and that it’s a brilliant, hard-fought competition of an extremely high standard – the fact remains that it is the second tier of professional rugby in the northern hemisphere, below only international competition. Continue reading

Debacle In Paris

Ancient gasworks, loss of face, TV executives, French rugby-club owners, mayors and presidents, committee members, corporate hospitality, local authorities, government grants, presidential elections, freezing temperatures, naked power, money and oh yes, we nearly forgot … rugby supporters. Continue reading