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Posts Tagged ‘ Leinster ’

Pro 12 – No Change At The Top

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limerickleader.ie

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.

On Friday night Leinster and Ulster locked horns in an absolutely crucial fixture for the Blues. Out of Europe, sitting outside the top 4 and in direct competition with Ospreys for that coveted spot, kicking off their three game run with a win was more than necessary. It looked like they were more than aware of that fact too as they raced into a 10 nil lead in the first ten minutes. Coming away from their agonisingly close finish against Toulon last week, many expected Leinster to carry over some authority from France but as it happened it turned into business as usual in the worst way possible. Continue reading

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European Rugby – Snowball’s Chance In Hell?

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To say that Leinster will define their season this Sunday is somewhat of an understatement. Pro 12 involvement on the line, consecutive defeats worse than anything in the last decade and a general air of division amongst their fans; this trip to Toulon didn’t need added importance but it has it now.

Matt O’Connor fielded 12 changes in the Pro 12 in an effort to distribute game time ahead of playing a team absolutely spoiled for choice. It wasn’t entirely illogical but what it means is that Leinster are essentially out of the league and this European Cup is all that remains to sign off in some style on a mixed 14/15 season. The obvious backlash here is that they’ve put more pressure on a game that really didn’t need anymore but for the sake of optimism let’s look at it from another angle – Leinster are head first throwing all of their weight into this weekend. Continue reading

European Rugby – And Then There Was One

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Dual blogged on I’m Talkin’ Here

Can anyone else remember the last time only one Irish team managed to make the European knockouts? Eleven years ago, back when Ulster still couldn’t find a way out and Leinster lost out to Stade Francais and Munster were the sole hope in the Quarter Finals. Is it a reflection on the Irish club game that only Leinster have progressed or is it the new format living up to its name and providing a greater challenge to the Celts? Hard to say in this inaugural year but the fact is there to see that only one province from the back to back Six Nations champion country is present this weekend. Pity.
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Six Nations 2015 – Can Wales Tackle The French?

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Dual blogged on I’m Talkin’Here

Before Ireland’s crucial game this Sunday we will see Scotland play host to Italy and France the same to Wales. All four sides are finding themselves in turmoil of sorts with underperforming the operative word. Can Scotland show the results of their new coaching team with a result worthy of the quality and can Wales put themselves back in contention against the strongest French side for some time?
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Six Nations 2015 – Are You Not Entertained?

England-Rugby-Ball

Ah here c’mon now, how negative can we be? All the buzz since our 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.

Remember back a few years, just before David Wallace’s career ending injury? Remember when The Bull hung up his boots and we crawled into a humiliation in Twickenham two years ago? Do you remember, this time last year, wondering what the hell we would ever do without that fella wearing 13 on his back? Well what we have done since all of these things is win five games in a row, two against top three southern hemisphere teams and one against a side who up until last year had only suffered three defeats from us in this century. What I’m saying is – stop focusing solely on what happens on the pitch and take a step back. Ireland are neck and neck with England for the title of best team in Europe, neck and neck in the Six Nations race too and most importantly – they’re winning. Up until the “Golden Generation” arrived we would always be happy with the win. Dirty wins like Scotland 07, it didn’t matter. Then we became seriously good, always managing to score but more and more we couldn’t manage to win. Now it’s all about the win. Not that Ireland at this moment in time are playing ball up the jumper rugby and that’s that rather there are tailored game plans (and cards being held with a World Cup later this year). Ireland scraped past France and should have had another point or two on Italy but they won. Continue reading

European Rugby – Leinster Face A Tough Run To The Final

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Dual blogged on I’m Talkin’ Here

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.

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European Rugby – Leinster Look To Lead

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One round left and relatively little change from Matt O’Connor. When your team has demolished Castres a week previous, why tinker with the formula I suppose. The other provinces aren’t quite as lucky, all three listing worrying injuries, but unfortunately only one of the three from south, north and west have any role potentially beyond this weekend in Europe. Continue reading

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