Posts Tagged ‘ Luke Fitzgerald ’

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

Rabo – Provinces Move On To Final Prize

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Once again, May brings the bad news. Irish interest has vacated the Heineken Cup and all the provinces can strive for is Celtic silverware. There has been whispers the last week of the insignificance of the Rabo these days, especially with the shake up it will receive next season due to increased relevance, but I defy you to tell any of these teams that it’s somehow lesser.
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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

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

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

Heineken Cup: Irish Provinces Seek Further Dominance

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Treviso v Ulster

Treviso head into this game fearing an Ulster side who beat them 48-0 last time out. The Italian side won’t want a repeat of that fixture and they will keep the scores a lot closer this time. However it would be hard to see Ulster lose, especially the way that they play the game and their distribution of the possession is quite remarkable. Ulster’s Luke Marshall was exceptional last weekend and if Ulster play like that again, they will be a real force in this Heineken Cup.

Verdict: Ulster Continue reading

Heineken Cup: Clean Sweep For Irish Provinces

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Toulouse 14 – 16 Connacht

Toulouse started the game at a frantic pace and seemed certain of scoring an early try. However this never materialised and it was Connacht who took the lead courtesy of a penalty and a drop goal by Dan Parks to give them a six point cushion approaching half time. However Toulouse would have a big say before the break as Jean-Pascal Barraque gave Toulouse an unlikely one point lead with a brilliant try. Continue reading