On Saturday at 3pm a new era in the Pro 12 will be born. This year saw a heightened level of significance materialise within the league, as European qualification became solely hinged on Pro 12 table position. It might not be too much of a stretch to say that this relevance somewhat snuck up on some of the teams, with Leinster in particular leaving it until the penultimate game last week to secure qualification. Connacht, Edinburgh and Scarlets too are all finding themselves vying for the last ticket to Europe this weekend too. It is a pleasant sight to see seven teams in the table all still with some tangible reason to give it their all on the final weekend, here’s how they’re shaping up. Continue reading Pro 12 – Knock Out Battle To Come
Finally into the business end of the league now that all Pro 12 teams are out of European contention, the table is looking awfully crowded. Funny that it is given that form would suggest the top 4 teams are as good as qualified but with three weeks remaining it could fall either way. There’s a lot of notions and permutations to rattle through so we’ll do our best to get our heads around them now. Continue reading Pro 12 – Tough At The Top
Three weeks remain in the Pro 12 regular season and for the first time this decade Leinster are looking at a slim chance of Top 4 qualification. Munster and Ulster sit relatively comfortably with Munster travelling to Edinburgh and Ulster heading West to Connacht but Leinster, en route to face the Dragons on Sunday, are staring down a real possibility of not making the league knock outs whilst also trying to figure out Toulon before their European Semi Final. A lot to ask, no question. Continue reading Pro 12 – Leinster Look At One Last Chance
Not by any means perfect but Ireland, along with France and England, have their campaign off to a winning start. The last minute withdrawal of Sean O’Brien was no help but with the injury list still lengthy Ireland have questions unanswered after round one.
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.
One round left and relatively little change from Matt O’Connor. When your team has demolished Castres a week previous, why tinker with the formula I suppose. The other provinces aren’t quite as lucky, all three listing worrying injuries, but unfortunately only one of the three from south, north and west have any role potentially beyond this weekend in Europe. Continue reading European Rugby – Leinster Look To Lead
It’s bad, it really is. Munster and Ulster are out of contention in the European Rugby Champion’s Cup. For Munster this is the campaign that began with Ian Keatley channeling Ronan O’Gara and sealing the opening win with a sumptuous drop goal. For Ulster, it hasn’t looked too good all season but damn it hadn’t once looked this bad. Leinster and Connacht now carry the European hopes for Ireland as north and south must regroup. Continue reading European Rugby – Munster And Ulster Bow Out