Posts Tagged ‘ Jimmy Gopperth ’

European Rugby – Time To Separate The Men From The Boys

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Round two of the European Rugby Champion’s Cup and already we’re looking at a whole new playing field. Ulster VS Toulon, Munster VS Saracens, Leinster VS Castres and Connacht VS Exeter. Certainly far more fitting and mouth watering challenges for the provinces, and though it may be true that you don’t lose any competition in the first round, the second is where those short fallings and mistakes can be made that haunt you for the rest of the season.

Munster VS Saracens this evening is a fixture that has never failed to thrill. Through the year these sides have fought some of the closest matches in rugby history and one could argue that Saracens have the closest thing to a Munster-esque legacy in England, their embrace of brand establishment and of course they have thrown up some results to justify all of it. Kelly Brown, Billy Vunipola, David Strettle, Owen Farrell, Brad Barrit. It doesn’t need to be emphasised what pedigree Munster find themselves up against this evening. Continue reading

European Rugby – New Era, Same Challenges

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As we covered here earlier this week, not much has changed with this all new European Cup. The name, some scheduling and the number of teams. Most of the regulations and seedings remain the same, venues, locations etc. What remains exactly the same is the importance of this tournament, and what it means to those involved.

First of the provinces in action this weekend we have Munster travelling to take on Sale at the early hours of 1pm Saturday. Early kick off and all the talk it has generated aside, Munster are in need of a good start. They haven’t had the worst start to the season of the provinces, that accolade falls to Leinster, but they are yet to grease all the gears. Flyers like Simon Zebo and Gerhard Van Den Heever have been threatening but are yet to put in the displays in the games they’ve been most needed. Continue reading

Rabo Round Up – Leinster See Off Two Greats In Style

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Not perfect, never would have been. Not when the wizard goes off injured after ten minutes. And Leinster haven’t exactly been vintage this season, not by a long shot. But when it mattered, come the final whistle they made sure the scoreboard read digits that are an accurate reflection of the legacy this team has built itself, one that the great Leo Cullen and Brian O’Driscoll were both instrumental in the construction of. Continue reading

Rabo – Connacht Fight For European Qualification

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Ah yes the news has finally officially come, the Heineken Cup is no more. Next year it will be replaced with the European Rugby Champion’s Cup (or, ERCC, hmmmm) and as well as having a second tier challenge cup there will also be a third tier competition. Arguably this is the best news of the entire deal, and that the ERC could never pull it off maybe justifies their exit from proceedings. The biggest news from this announcement however is that Connacht now know for certain that the final leg of the Rabo is crucial for their European dreams. Continue reading

Heineken Cup – The French Connection Continues

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What is it with Irish teams versus the French? The English have Le Crunch, but with fixtures like Leinster VS Clermont in 2010 at the Aviva, again two years later in Bordeaux, Ulster VS Montpellier and Munster VS Perpignan this year, you’d have to say the Celtic and Gallic head to head has just created a huge buzz in recent years. Good news then that two of the three Irish provinces are of course taking on French opposition this weekend. Pure sporting nectar. Continue reading

Heineken Cup – Another Clean Sweep For The Provinces

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Not bad, not bad at all. Not perfect, not by any means, but there is a certain sense of pride to be taken from the Irish teams all sweeping the board in this Round 5 weekend. Not something to get boastful, or big headed about, but evidence of how strong the Irish presence is in this competition and that no bonus points were obtained shows how fiercely competitive this tournament still is, and long may it continue.
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Rabo Direct Pro 12: Munster And Leinster Emerge Victorious

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This post Christmas instalment of the RABO saw some great encounters as Ireland’s four provinces battled to earn the bragging rights heading into the new year, with Munster and Leinster occupying first and second place in the table. 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

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

Rabo Round Up : Ulster Prevail As Munster And Leinster Lose

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Rabo Direct Pro 12

Ulster 18-7 Connacht 

Dan Parks was the key player for Connacht with the former Scottish international ensuring a great start by scoring a try. However, this was to be Connacht’s only score of the game as Ulster began to express their dominance in the game. Ulster’s Michael Allen finished off a move which was set up by Paddy Jackson to bring the gap to two points at the break. Connacht led at the break by 7 points to 5. The second half was all about Ulster as Jackson converted his first penalty in the game, to give Ulster a well deserved lead.  Jackson put Connacht to the sword for the remainder of the half when he scored and converted a try before sending a penalty between the posts to secure an 18-7 win for Ulster. Continue reading