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Posts Tagged ‘ Declan Kidney ’

European Rugby – Three From Four Ain’t Bad

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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

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Heineken Cup – Munster Seek Final Berth

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Sad as it is, the Heineken Cup, that has been such a happy hunting ground for Irish teams through the years, has now got three more days of action to its name. This weekend’s semi finals and the final in May will be the last hurrah these four teams get in a competition that has been the sight of some of their most famous days. None more so of course than Munster. Holding all the remaining Irish hope in their hands, there’s no question over which game is the “must-see” of the weekend. Two giants of the game are set to go head to head, the second French thriller of the year, and the result should be worthy of legend. Continue reading

Six Nations 2014 – New Faces, Auld Enemies

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Regardless of Ireland’s success rate in a given Six Nations, there is always that bit of buzz about the England fixture. National history, sporting history, bragging rights, whatever. These two teams bring out an intensity in each other that’s hard to find in any other game. Ireland had their purple patch against England in the mid noughties and now, since 2011, England have begun their own, with Ireland seeking revenge for a 2012 humiliation in Twickenham. As if we needed more impetus… Continue reading

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

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

Ulster Take Command Of The Table As Munster Put In Another Scare – Rabo Round Up

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©M+MD. Connacht have two games left to finish on a high

Is this the new Munster? Flounder about in the league, put fans nerves through a blender ahead of crunch games? Maybe so, and hell if it’s working why change it? Once again they have churned out a lacklustre performance ahead of a crucial Heineken Cup game whilst their top tier allies Ulster and Leinster showed up massively. But it’s the southerners who are “still in the game” so to speak, so let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.
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Elwood’s Final Inter Pro As Connacht And Ulster Collide – Rabo Preview

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The unfortunate nature of the Rabo and the diversity of the teams means that weekends like this sometimes come around. Leinster take on Zebre in a match that somewhat reeks of inevitability given the thumping the Ospreys dished ton the Italians last week and Munster, now out of contention, are only sending three of last week’s team to take on Dragons in a game that won’t do much more than warm up the replacements for next week. Yet there is one mouth watering fixture of sorts, a serious chance for a scalp and a game that could adversely effect Ulster’s play off standing as they travel to take on Connacht.
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