Advertisements

Posts Tagged ‘ Luther Burrell ’

Six Nations 2015 – England Seek Revenge

WarburtonRobshaw15SB800_rdax_60

Of course Irish fans want one team only to run in as title contenders when the Six Nations kicks off, but there can be up to four potential victors in a given year. Even Italy, when they started in 2013 with that famous win over France, looked hotter than ever. England are without doubt second favourites and Wales, well they’re just always a threat in this tournament year on year. Scotland have that Vern Cotter fella in charge, maybe you’ve heard of him. Yes it’s not plain sailing for Ireland by any means. Continue reading

Advertisements

Irish Rugby: Clouds And Silver Linings

rugby

Close but no cigar.

It was nothing short of heartbreak for the Irish rugby squad at Twickenham last Saturday. It was always going to be a bruising encounter but one felt that Ireland this year under the leadership of Joe Schmidt would just have too much for the young English pretenders. In hindsight, Ireland just didn’t show up, they seemed sluggish from the start and allowed England to dictate the game from the kick off. England however were guilty of leaving more scores out on the pitch than Ireland and going into the tunnel only three points down at half time must have been very encouraging to the Irish players.

Jonathan Sexton had a mediocre game, his kicking was not what it was in the Aviva against Wales but on the flip side of that, credit must be given to Stuart Lancaster and his coaches. They had their homework done as it was more the case that Sexton had little or no options when it came to kicking for field position. The English backs gave him nothing to aim at, both wingers hugged either line and the Racing Metro star was forced into little chips over their centres heads. This ploy failed as Mike Brown, who was in sensational form, continually made ground from loose kicks that ultimately just gave away possession. Ireland turned down chance after chance in the first half to use their most potent weapon, the maul. Maybe it was a tactical decision to suck in the English defence and go wide when they were almost certainly expecting Ireland to try and trundle down the middle. The decision in the second half to use it paid dividends as the English struggled to defend against it, maybe Ireland should have used it from the start. Continue reading

Ireland’s Grand Slam Hopes Die In Twickenham

englandirelandIt felt like 2009 in the Millenium stadium.

On that day, Ireland were playing for a Grand Slam and a Triple Crown. Having beaten all before them, they just had to overcome the Welsh. They struggled first half, going in a couple of penalties down. No panic. They emerged second half, put tries on the board and nicked it in the end, to secure the glory of perfection.

It felt like a similar day today. It was a ferocious first half, with Ireland spending most of it on defensive duty. The English pinned Ireland back early, where they survived a backs to the wall effort with England pressing on the five metre line after six minutes. The tackle count was rising high even that early on. The pressure was on. England were looking to set down a marker, with a win bringing them right back into the hunt for championship honours. Continue reading

Ireland Set To Power Past England

irelandengland

Joe Schmidt may have set his stall out at the beginning of this Six Nations Championship as being happy with a top two finish but he and everyone else knows that there is so much more on offer for this Irish team. A win today is very much on the cards for a rejuvenated Ireland team. They have in their ranks the best positional kicker of a rugby ball, they have the better of the two packs and they have experience that money can’t buy. Leaders will be littered around the park in green jerseys. Paul O’Connell, Brian O’Driscoll and the latest leader by example Peter O’Mahony.

Ireland’s maul has been the weapon of choice for their first two games against Scotland and Wales and what a weapon it has proven to be. How England can stop this marching green machine without giving away penalties must be a severe head scratching exercise for their coaches. The simple answer is, they can’t, Irish body positions when they roll forward have been so close to perfection as to say that this maul is unstoppable. Will they get an opportunity to use it? With Devin Toner, O’Connell and O’Mahony in their line out, it’s difficult to see them not getting ample opportunity to break English hearts here. Ireland were slow off the mark against Scotland but impressively they didn’t panic. They bided their time and eventually broke down the opposition to win out comfortably. There was only ever one winner from the kick off against Wales. The better structure of the Irish game, the better decision making and the continued frustrating of the Welsh by pinning them back in their own half, time and time again reaped dividends. Continue reading

The Ever Changing Word Of Neil Francis

neilfrancis

Former Irish rugby international Neil Francis jumped head first into hot water this week. Speaking on Newstalk’s Off The Ball, Francis found himself discussing gay people in sport and generalised that, ‘gay people have little interest in sport’, and followed on by saying that’s ‘not a generalisation’. ‘What are their interests?’, he continued, ‘I mean, if you’ve ever sat down with, you know, homosexual people and asked them what their interests are, very often they have no interest in any kind of sport. That’s my experience from sitting down with them; I’ve done it on a regular basis’.

So Neil Francis regularly sits down and discusses issues with gay men. ‘I don’t have an interest in ballet’, he argued when pursued on the matter. Ah well, that’s ok then, why should gay people be allowed to play sport when Neil doesn’t be bothering them at the ballet? When it looked like it couldn’t get any worse, Francis then generalised even further. ‘You do a survey of the hair-dressing industry and find out how many heterosexuals work in that’. Ever heard of women Neil? There’s a few barbers around the country that are pulling their hair out listening to you also. And so it continued, ‘I’m here. I’m going to express an opinion’, he said. That’s fair enough but using phrases like the ‘rugby dressing room is a pretty homophobic environment’, is a bit of backward thinking. Rugby may be a game of passing backwards to go forward but it’s all backwards with Neil on this one. It is just this kind of thinking that prevents young people from expressing themselves and being who they really are. If you’re gay, you’re gay, if you’re heterosexual, you’re heterosexual, who cares anymore? Just get on with it. Continue reading

Advertisements
Advertisements