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Posts Tagged ‘ Darren Cave ’

Summer Internationals – Ireland Fare Better Than Most In Argentina

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Not fluid flying rugby, no real flash and certainly a few mistakes to rectify. But Ireland do stand as one of only two Northern Hemisphere teams to have started their summer tour with a win, and they stood up to a far more organised unit than Scotland that’s for sure. We’ll have a quick look at how the other games panned out but now let’s see what was learned from the Joe Schmidt experiment.
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Summer Internationals – Schmidt Looks To Future Stars

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We’ve wanted it for a long time now, we’ve got it in dribs and drabs over the years on tours to the United States and such, but finally tomorrow evening our time, a fairly experimental Irish rugby team will come up against a closer to top tier nation in the first of a two game summer series.  Exciting times indeed, let’s have a look at what Joe Schmidt has put together for us
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Rabo – Provinces Move On To Final Prize

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Once again, May brings the bad news. Irish interest has vacated the Heineken Cup and all the provinces can strive for is Celtic silverware. There has been whispers the last week of the insignificance of the Rabo these days, especially with the shake up it will receive next season due to increased relevance, but I defy you to tell any of these teams that it’s somehow lesser.
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Rabo Direct Pro 12: The Leinster-Munster Juggernaut Returns

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Ah its back again. Post-Six Nations hangovers are worse when you’re successful, no doubt about that. There’s little to win in the muddling Rabo games that arise between the end of the Six Nations and the Heineken Cup resumption. But then along comes the colossus, the manly Munstermen versus the Leinster ladyboys, a fixture that defies all logic and at times elevates above European standard. Ah yes, it’s good to be back.
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Six Nations 2014 – Testing Times

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After the highs and lows of the November Internationals, Joe Schmidt must look to the Six Nations Championship as a chance to show what Ireland can really offer. The World Cup in 2015 is being held just across the pond and all eyes will be on England and their neighbouring nations. Schmidt has two Six Nations campaigns to get through before the World Cup becomes an issue to concentrate on. So what are Ireland’s chances in this year’s competition?

It wouldn’t be difficult to improve on last year’s dismal campaign, that had started so well. Beating the reigning champions at home in Cardiff was obviously the best start possible for the Irish. It wasn’t only the points that mattered but it was the way in which the team went about getting them. Yes, they were out on their feet for the last ten minutes or so and they allowed Wales back into that game just after half time, from a 3-30 score line, Ireland held on to win 22-30. It was the first half performance that included hunger, a controlled aggression and an ability to finish that left us feeling that maybe just maybe, another slam was on the cards. It must be said that Wales had suffered seven consecutive defeats (4 versus Australia) and were without their regular head coach Warren Gatland, previous to the Irish game. Still the Irish looked good. Ireland lost out at home to England in a kicking contest on a wet, windy day at home. England however were the favourites after taking care of the All Blacks, the previous November. For Ireland it went from bad to worse, losing to Scotland, drawing with France and for the first time, losing to Italy. Overall a dismal campaign that they will want to forget. Continue reading

RABO : Ulster Impress As Leinster Climb Leaderboard

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Ulster 29 – 19 Munster

Munster came into this game as league leaders heading into 2014 but faced a tough open running Ulster side with brilliant trying scoring potential.

Ulster started this game at a frantic pace and with Ruan Pienaar in excellent form, Ulster seemed unbeatable in the first half when they split the Munster defence which resulted in Jared Payne getting the ball over the line to open their account. Ulster never let up on Munster in the first half and turned over possession and a brilliant running move by Jared Payne , which resulted in Andrew Trimble setting up Darren Cave for the try to give Ulster a commanding lead approaching half time. Two conversions and two penalties from Pienaar gave the Ravenhill men a 20-0 lead in the final few minutes before half time. Munster scored a late try in the half through Ivan Dineen to cut the gap to 15 points at the break.

The second half was to be a different affair as Munster set out to try to cause an upset. Munster made progress through the maul which resulted in Dave Kilcoyne scoring Munster’s second try and brought them back into this game. Pienaar was still impressive with the boot as his penalties would be vastly important to Ulster approaching the last 20 minutes of this game. Munster’s maul had Ulster in all sorts of problems when a second maul resulted in James Coughlan adding a third try for Munster to reduce the gap to just four points. Three penalties by Pienaar meant Ulster remained in front despite the Munster fight back. Ulster won on a score of 29 to 19 in what was a game of two halves.

Connacht 8 – 16 Leinster

Leinster were visitors to the Sportsgrounds for first clash of the New Year and faced an ever improving Connacht side under the management of Pat Lam. The game started rather slowly with both sides guilty of kicking away possession too often in the poor conditions. Connacht took the early lead when Robbie Henshaw saw an opening in the Leinster defence and exploded through it and offloaded the pass to Fionn Carr on the wing, who finished off the move with a great burst of pace. Both sides traded penalties towards the end of the half as Connacht showed more enterprise in the first half, leading by 8 points to 3 at the break.

Leinster showed more intent and desire to win in the second half as things began to go their way. Two penalties from Jimmy Gopperth edged Leinster ahead as the game began to swing in their favour. A late try by Gordon D’Arcy gave the visitors an eight point lead as Connacht searched for a losing bonus point in the late stages of the game, but to no avail. Leinster march up the table winning on double scores 16 points to 8.

Irish Rugby Review 2013

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The November series of 2012 led us into 2013 with a mixed bag of expectations, hope and a real feel of not knowing where Irish rugby was going. There was a sense that change was on the horizon, Declan Kidney was in charge of an ageing team but there were signs of talented youth on the periphery. South Africa were the first of the visiting nations and in a tight game they just did enough to keep Ireland from claiming a win. A scoreline of 16-12 suggested as much but it was a game that Ireland should have and could have won. The courageous performance of nearly winning was now becoming a bit too regular and the fans were becoming somewhat impatient, good performances no longer enough to keep them happy. The following week, an uncapped Ireland XV played host to Fiji in Thomond Park. It was a game that although one-sided, I as an Irish rugby fan, thoroughly enjoyed. Continue reading

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