Posts Tagged ‘ Lions Tour ’

Six Nations 2014 – Testing Times


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


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

Lions Victorious After 16 Year Wait


Relief, vindication, puzzlement and ecstacy. Yes the series decider for the Lions 2013 stirred up all of these emotions and more, and that was just for the fans. For the players and management it was the culmination of an immense amount of work, ruthless decision making and above all else, tactical strategies that took their time, but ultimately paid off.
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Ruthless Gatland Aims To Wrap Up The Series


The sporting capital of Australia this weekend see the second test of the Lions tour of Australia this year with the tourists looking to secure the series after limping over the line last weekend in Brisbane to take the first test. Memory cannot help thinking back 12 years ago to 2001 when the Lions found themselves in the same position entering the second test in Melbourne but two quick Joe Roff try’s in that game swung the series which the Wallabies went on to win 2-1. Continue reading

Lion’s Winning Run Comes To A Halt In Canberra


Well, we’ll just have to erase that one from memory, simple as. The Lions had the most scratch team of the tour so far on the pitch this morning, three of the starting players literally just landed in the country yesterday, one hasn’t played international standard rugby in over a year and several were making their first starts of the tour. But even still, particularly with the available bench and the impact they had, the Lions should never have lost this game and we can only hope that the absence of the first fifteen from today’s lineup means the knock on effect on confidence doesn’t hinder them ahead of Saturday.
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Can The Waratahs Tame The Lions?

warWe are at the half way stage of the Lions tour with game 5 tomorrow in Sydney against the NSW Waratahs. The Lions strolled to their easiest win (as expected) on the tour so far with a 62-0 victory over the combined country in mid-week. They won’t get it so easy tomorrow with the Waratahs expected to give them their biggest test of the tour so far. Four of their internationals, prop Paddy Ryan, No 8 and captain Dave Daniels, full-back Drew Mitchell and experienced centre Rob Horne have been released by the ARU to play this fixture along with two international sevens players. Manager Michael Cheika formally of Leinster has spoken about the desire in their camp to hit the men in red as hard as they can and claim a big scalp. Expect Cheika to have his team super motivated with lots of energy and hard hits. The Waratahs still minus eight internationals and six out injured will still front up similar to what the Reds did last Saturday and expect a close game with Cheika’s team looking to be physical and disrupt any pattern or flow the Lions may try to conjure. Continue reading

Lions Ready To Break The Force


The Lions Tour to Australia officially kicked off last Saturday in Hong Kong as the Lions comprehensively defeated a lacklustre Barbarians side 59-8 in a match that fulfilled their commercial obligations en route to Oz. This was as far removed from a Test match as they will experience and the real opposition in the Ex-Pat citadel was the weather with temperatures as high as 30 degrees during the game and with unbearable humidity to boot. This was a training session conducted in extreme conditions – think literally the polar opposite of the cryotherapy chambers that the Welsh team have trained in previously under Lions Head Coach Warren Gatland to get some sort of idea of the extremity of it. Now that everyone seems to have come through unscathed and having run in a number of tries we can move onto the real business. After the Test series this chapter will either be lauded as great prep or pure madness; only hindsight really knows. Hong Kong was the prelude and with the Lions reaching Perth, the most Westerly city in the Australian continent and home to a booming mining industry, this much anticipated tour Down Under starts in earnest when they meet the Western Force this morning (11am kick off Irish time). Continue reading