Leinster – A Tale of Two Units

For the fourth season in a row, Leinster came out on top of the Pro14. Over the course of those four editions of the tournament, the Blue Machine have won 64 games and lost 13, with only two losses in the last two seasons. It has been an era of unprecedented domestic dominance, but each campaign has had its own shape and eccentricities.

Leinster took their fourth consecutive Pro14 title – and eighth league title overall – with a terse and professional win over close neighbours and long-time rivals Munster in a deserted RDS a couple of weekends ago. The mid-season final brought a sudden close to what has been a strange, arhythmic competition: Glasgow Warriors and Benetton Treviso played out their practically meaningless fixture in Scotstoun at lunchtime on the same day, as if to highlight the ungainly scheduling that saw a league final played just a day after the last match – albeit a rearranged last match – of the Six Nations. 

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From Aquarius to Leo Rising


“OK,young lads against aul fellas. You stay here, Isa.”

In the Age of Aquarius, we looked at Cheika and Schmidt’s selections of young players at Leinster. The article’s genesis was based on another article, specifically the line “Henderson’s progress suggests that one of the prerequisites of a top provincial coach is the willingness to give young players game time and the ability to maintain competitiveness while doing so.Continue reading


The English team that started against Wales had 483 caps after the game split between 395 starts and 88 appearances from the bench, 180 caps short of Lancaster’s target of 663. That total of 663 caps requires an average of just over 44 caps per man. Pop quiz – how many players that started have more caps than that? Bonus round – name them. Continue reading

Ruck Marks: England vs Ireland 2014

Conor Murray and Andrew Trimble make an effective last ditch tackle on England Wing Johnny May to prevent a certain try early in the game.

Conor Murray and Andrew Trimble make an effective last ditch tackle on England wing Johnny May to prevent a certain try early in the game [photo copyright – Mark Pain].

Narrow margins! England versus Ireland was a high intensity game, and a different standard to the rest of the championship thus far. English coach Stuart Lancaster isn’t given to exaggeration, and his description of the game as “a real test match” was both accurate and, in its way, laudatory. The action was genuinely high-paced for much of the 80 minutes, and with that came individual errors from a lot of players on both sides of the pitch. Unrelentingly high impact collisions from gun to tape will do that to you. Continue reading

Wor Roses – Lancaster’s Men

He'll reduce the size of England's midfield but create far more threats

He’ll reduce the size of England’s midfield but create far more threats

“There were over 700 caps in their team and you only have to look at how many British Lions they have. It’s a pretty good side all round at the moment.” Continue reading

The Prefects

Stuart “Retainer” Lancaster is going to interview this week for his job. If Lancaster was unknown before the 6 Nations, he is high profile now and even his main competition for the job (Nick Mallet) accepts that he’ll probably get it. There were low expectations surrounding England before the tournament but things look much rosier now. Continue reading