Posts Tagged ‘ Ian Keatley ’

Schmidt Produces Some Surprises For November Series

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A week earlier than expected, Joe Schmidt has announced his 37 man squad for the upcoming November Internationals and though influenced by injury, some surprise calls have reared their heads.

As seems to always be the case in Ireland, out half is the area causing the most debate. The chosen three are Jonathan Sexton, Ian Keatley and Ian Madigan. Paddy Jackson has been the go to second to Sexton for nearly two years now, and his omission may come as a surprise to many. But Keatley has been getting to the required level slowly but surely and with performances like last weekend against Sale under his belt deserves his call up. Jackson does also have a little time to go to return fully from injury and Madigan just provides better all round cover given how many Irish backs are sat up with injury. Ulster fans won’t be happy, but much like Sexton being released back to Leinster during the 2012 Six Nations, Jackson is not to be considered out of the golden circle just because he is being left with Ulster for game time. Continue reading

Pro 12 – Munster Might Too Much For Leinster

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Well, that was interesting. Often the Leinster VS Munster October fixture is touted as the real start of the rugby season, for fans of both provinces anyway. Too often though, the game itself winds up not nearly living up to the billing. In recent years it has been all too one sided, or generally just dour. Well, five tries, four yellow cards and a fairly thrilling finish was what we were greeted with on Saturday,and in a lovely little twist we’ve probably learned less about both sides than we did from the less entertaining affairs. Continue reading

Pro 12 – Kearney King As The Provinces Nab A Clean Sweep

Rob Kearney dots down the firs of his two tries last Saturday

Rob Kearney dots down the first of his two tries last Saturday

Some of it was simply beautiful, some of it down and dirty nitty gritty, and some of it we’ll just never know as Munster V Treviso was inexplicably not televised. But it’s a clean sweep for the provinces, after an opening round that saw just the one – Connacht – team nab any joy. Ulster and Munster didn’t make it easy over what should have been straight forward enough Italian opposition, but they got the job done. Connacht ground out a win at the death that was just completely unrecognisable from their last two seasons, and Leinster came back to something resembling the defending champions they are. A good weekend indeed. Continue reading

Rabo: Leinster Overcome Munster On A Bad Weekend For Ulster And Connacht

Brian O'Driscoll returns to the score sheet

Brian O’Driscoll returns to the score sheet

Fever in the Aviva indeed, as Munster and Leinster tore strips off each other once more in the Heineken Cup warm up to beat all others. As has been the case many times in recent years, kicks were the order of the day in the Aviva. Madigan and Keatley both put up good representations of themselves and should both now have eyes on the starting XV next weekend. Ulster and Connacht joined Munster in a deflating weekend, both coming up short in their respective fixtures. For Connacht in particular, things are not looking too good for European qualification as a result, but for the fifth week in a row they have produced an acceptable level of performance.  Continue reading

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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Heineken Cup Preview: Munster Face Crucial Test Against Perpignan

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Heineken Cup Preview

Munster v Perpignan

Munster face a tough game against Perpignan in what is the crucial tie in terms of progression in the Heineken cup. Perpignan will pose a serious threat to Munster, but Munster will be expected to grind out a result in Thomond Park this weekend. Ian Keatley has impressed so far for Munster and has shown a lot of creativity in how he performs. Munster will need a good start to this game to settle their nerve and they have the try scoring ability to do so with players like Simon Zebo and Keith Earls. Once Munster create a solid lead it will be very hard for Perpignan to claw their way back into the game.   Continue reading

Rabo Direct Pro 12: Munster Beat Ospreys To Remain Top Of The League

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Rabo Direct Pro 12

Munster 12 – 6 Ospreys

Munster started this game well when Ian Keatley converted two penalties to give them a comfortable six point lead. The Ospreys struggled to get into gear and eventually got on the scoreboard when Matthew Morgan converted their only score of the half with an easy penalty in front of the posts. Munster dominated the last few minutes of the half and were denied a try by the television match official who altered the decision due to an incomplete scrum and the ball coming out of the tunnel. Munster led by 6 points to 3 at half time and stood firm in defence. Munster remained in control in the second half with Ian Keatley and JJ Hanrahan slotting over penalties to extend their lead by 12 to 3. A late penalty by Morgan was a mere consolation, although it put some respectivity on the scoreboard, Munster go top of the Rabo Direct Pro 12 winning this game by 12 points to 6. Continue reading

RaboDirect Pro 12 – Leinster Need To Be Wary Of Connacht

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Rabo Direct Pro 12

Ulster v Cardiff Blues

Ulster come in to this game with the return of Ruan Pienaar to their line up which could prove crucial to their hopes of victory. Cardiff will pose a big threat to Ulster’s hopes to climb the leaderboard in the league.

The Welsh side will be hoping to come home from Ravenhill with a strong victory, following their Heineken Cup heroics against Toulon. Ulster have the potential to score tries and with players like Tommy Bowe and Andrew Trimble on their side this will be a game worth watching. Cardiff will be looking to the likes of Sam Warburton and Leigh Halfpenny to bring the victory. Home advantage will play a crucial influence in this game and you would have to think Ulster have more try scoring potential on their side. Continue reading

Heineken Cup – Connacht Mesmerizing In Italy, Four From Four For The Provinces

Gopperth has settled into his new club seamlessly.

Gopperth has settled into his new club seamlessly.

 

Zebre 6 – 33 Connacht

What can i say about this game, to put simply Connacht were unbelievable. They showed hunger, desire and their dynamic type off the play was incredible. They showed real intent and urgency and blew the Italians out of the way, Full credit to Mr Pat Lam for what he is doing with this side. The game started with both sides trading early penalties and Connacht leading 6 – 3 after the early exchanges.  A try by Connacht’s George Naoupa from a quickly taken short line-out resulted in the Continue reading

Heineken Cup – Ulster And Leinster Deliver As Connacht And Munster Fall Short

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And to think there are some in this world who want rid of this competition. Once again, the Heineken Cup has delivered on opening weekend, with shock results, huge games and many more reasons why this competition needs to stay alive.

Connacht looked set to provide the first big upset as they took Saracens to the edge and more. Pat Lam wasn’t shy about singling out some refereeing but in all, it was a stellar performance from Connacht that deserves talking about. To come from a disappointing Rabo beginning to holding the team that steam rolled their way to the knockouts tryless after ten minutes was a result, but the final score is of course all that matters. Try scorers Danie Poolman and Kieran Marmion are shining lights for them however and hopefully can help make this more than a “happy to be here” season for Connacht.

Connacht 17 – 23 Saracens Continue reading