In any other year we would probably meter expectation after a demolishing of Italy, especially with such an embarrassing showing from the Azzurri as we got on Saturday. In a Six Nations where Ireland need to make amends for a poor start and tries/points are more relevant than ever though, this was promising stuff.
Comprehensive? Yes. Particularly educational? Maybe not, either way though; Ireland are off to a great start ahead of the long six weeks leading to World Cup 2015. For Wales, the fallout is severe but there is plenty of time left to fix what is broken. Continue reading World Cup 2015 – The Long Road Begins
Two weeks to go and one would think we are already looking at the final top 4 order in the 2015 Guinness Pro 12. Aside from Munster the table toppers showed nearly all their worth over the weekend too and the knock outs are shaping up to be some absolutely mouth watering games. Continue reading Pro 12 – No Change At The Top
Ryle Nugent’s words have never been more appropriate as we go into one of the most exciting final weekends of the Six Nations in some time. Last year two teams remained in contention at this juncture, this year it’s three and if some abbhorently strange sequence of events were to unfold, four. It’s what it’s all about, it’s what we came for, let’s dive right in.
Continue reading Six Nations 2015 – Don’t Forget To Breathe
Freak. There’s no other word to describe Jamie Heaslip in relation to his healing abilities. We won’t complain, but many others would be out of their desk job for six months but here he is, the sole change from the team that beat England two weeks ago, ready to take the field in the Cardiff cauldron. Schmidt has made only enforced changes this Six Nations when you might think variety and choice are crucial in winning a championship – conservatism or wisdom? Continue reading Six Nations 2015 – Heaslip Returns For Welsh Showdown
Dual blogged on Irish News Review
The chariot has been derailed and Ireland remain unbeaten. Such was the plethora of wins Ireland experienced over England before 2012 that seems strange to write with such enthusiasm but it has to be appreciated for what it means. How did they do it? Well it’s more than worthwhile taking a look.
Ah here c’mon now, how negative can we be? All the buzz since last Saturday’s emphatic win over France, Irish rugby fans all over have been harping on about how we still don’t look great and there is still work to be done. I won’t disagree with that second point but, we’re looking better than ever guys and here’s why. Continue reading Six Nations 2015 – Are You Not Entertained?
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.
When Joe Schmidt took charge of the national team the primary lament from most was that he will have merely two Six Nations and a Guinness Series to get to know his squad. Not an ideal amount of time or experience to get a proper handle on his players and put his stamp on things firmly. 9 months and an All Blacks near miss later, he guides the team to a Six Nations trophy. Now with the second ranked team in the world coming to Dublin on Saturday, you would have to wonder if maybe we were worrying over nothing. After eighty minutes are up tomorrow, Joe Schmidt will have more answers than he has until this point. Continue reading Guinness Series – The Boks Are Back In Town