European Rugby – Connacht Welcome Henshaw Back

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Indeed a faux pas on my part, there are of course two Irish teams in European contention this weekend. Contact travel to Kingsholm to take on Gloucester at 7.45 this evening and a win would be a massive leap towards solidifying this as their best season in their history. Returning to the Connacht fold is Robbie Henshaw after an inspired Six Nations and alongside the big hitters of Mils Muliaina and Danie Poolman the Westerners should be fit to make this a cracking game. Continue reading European Rugby – Connacht Welcome Henshaw Back

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European Rugby – Leinster Face A Tough Run To The Final

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Dual blogged on Irish News Review

When the European Rugby Champion’s Cup was announced the cries from this side of the pond were that the new structure was essentially designed to stop the Irish teams from winning all the time. Whilst not exactly true, this Round 6 weekend and the subsequent knock out lay out has shown exactly what is different about this new structure. The goal was to make the competition more competitive, and no team is seeing this more so than Leinster. In previous years a home quarter final was all but a guarantee of progression to the semi finals. This was down to the void that often existed between the top 4 and bottom 4 teams. However, with four less teams and therefore more competitive pools you would have to say that nobody, bar Toulon, has anything resembling an easy route through the quarter finals. And of course the draw for the semi finals can be cruel as always with Leinster likely facing down a Toulon in France engagement should they get past a resurgent Bath. Simple.

Continue reading European Rugby – Leinster Face A Tough Run To The Final

European Rugby – Munster Face Down Their Biggest Milestone

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Dual blogged on Irish News Review

New competition, new beginnings and a chance for Munster to reclaim some of their former glory. That is what awaits Anthony Foley’s men on Saturday when they travel to meet Saracens. It is getting tired and it is beyond cliche to say it, but Munster are a backs to the wall team at their finest moments. When all is required and all can be lost, that is when Munster sincerely find their place in European Rugby. There is no better recent example than that exemplary performance against Harlequins in 2013 when Munster were all but written off and came out blazing to send ‘Quins home licking their wounds. Of course, these scenarios don’t always go their way but there seems to just be a little in the air to suggest that won’t be the case this weekend.
Continue reading European Rugby – Munster Face Down Their Biggest Milestone

European Rugby – Three From Four Ain’t Bad

image (1)Mixed, is there any other word for that opening weekend? A classic Munster performance, from a new Munster side. A near all time best from Connacht. Gusto without result from Ulster. And such muddling from Leinster. Yep, it’s gonna be a long season.
Munster got the ball rolling early on Sunday with their clash against Sale. Nobody could really call what shape Sale would show up in but in a pool including Clermont and Saracens they should not be classed as the top tier opposition for the Reds. Still an away trip to any English side can be tricky and yet another last minute get out of jail moment from Munster proved that to be the case once more.

Continue reading European Rugby – Three From Four Ain’t Bad

European Rugby – “Not” The Heineken Cup

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Dual blogged on IrishNewsReview.info

“Four tries at the very least, and a 27 point margin to boot. No team could surely ever pull it off. Watch now, as Ronan O’Gara lines up the most important kick of his Munster career…”

Ok so, except that there’s one less pool (and four less teams as a result), let’s face it, this is the Heineken Cup. To Irish rugby fans in particular, the Heineken Cup even in name alone meant a lot more than just sponsorship. It’s a heritage, a legacy. It’s the reason we all looked forward to October. And the greatest Irish successes, be it winning finals or overcoming huge opponents in knock outs, all came at the peak of the competition’s popularity both with the public and financially. Is it any wonder there were calls for change from outside the country? Continue reading European Rugby – “Not” The Heineken Cup