Posts Tagged ‘ Munster Rugby ’

Rabo: Leinster Overcome Munster On A Bad Weekend For Ulster And Connacht

Brian O'Driscoll returns to the score sheet

Brian O’Driscoll returns to the score sheet

Fever in the Aviva indeed, as Munster and Leinster tore strips off each other once more in the Heineken Cup warm up to beat all others. As has been the case many times in recent years, kicks were the order of the day in the Aviva. Madigan and Keatley both put up good representations of themselves and should both now have eyes on the starting XV next weekend. Ulster and Connacht joined Munster in a deflating weekend, both coming up short in their respective fixtures. For Connacht in particular, things are not looking too good for European qualification as a result, but for the fifth week in a row they have produced an acceptable level of performance.  Continue reading

Munster Announce Foley As New Head Coach

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Munster have confirmed that former Ireland international Anthony Foley will be promoted from Forwards Coach to the role of Head Coach from July 1st 2014.

Foley will succeed Rob Penney as Head Coach at the start of the 2014/15 season after signing a two-year contract that will see him stay with the province until at least June 2016. Continue reading

Irish Rugby: One Direction,Right Direction

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It was a pleasure to be at the Aviva Stadium last Saturday to witness Ireland versus Wales. A major banana skin lay in wait for Joe Schmidt’s rejuvenated side but they stepped over it and did it with some style. There were some huge performances all over the park from the Irish team but as an overall package, they left Wales frustrated and confused. Tactically, Schmidt again got it right. The Welsh were left with no room to run, their big ball carrying backs never got up speed when accepting a pass, they were met with a line of green, each and every time they attempted to make progress. Their frustration eventually boiled over after Paddy Jackson walked through for a late try. The Irish fly-half was followed to the ground and struck with an elbow into his face as he landed, momentum, no, malicious, yes. The follow up handbags and pushing only confirmed the frustration that the Welsh were feeling. If they came to Dublin to fight, they left it too late.

Outplayed and out thought by an Irish side not willing to give any ground, the Welsh must go back to the drawing board and hope that England can stop Irish momentum in two weeks time. If one moment of the early exchanges epitomises the Irish effort that was on display, it was a huge hit on Brian O’Driscoll by Welsh centre Scott Williams, the big screen replay is not one that went down well with the home crowd, as late as a bride at her wedding. The wind was obviously knocked out of the former Irish captain and he received treatment as play continued. The crowd erupted when he got back to his feet, he was shook but glanced forward and offered a wry smile to his assailant. Williams was replaced moments later, a shoulder injury the result of his exchange with O’Driscoll, you don’t bring a knife to a gunfight. Continue reading

Heineken Cup – Scramble For The Quarter Finals

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So it’s here, the final weekend of the 2014 Heineken Cup pools stages, Brian O’Driscoll’s final European bow in the RDS, and who knows what other finals this could wind up being as the European rugby situation still sits in utter turmoil. But enough of that, for now there’s a serious amount of permutations and predictions to get through.
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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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Heineken Cup – Big Business Ahead For Leinster And Connacht

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So here it is, months of permutations, battles over the future of this wonderful competition and injuries and upsets to boot. It all comes down to the next two weeks. The 13/14 Heineken Cup has seen somewhat of a return to form for Leinster and Ulster, though Edinburgh and Northampton Mk2 would best be forgotten, whilst Ulster and Connacht have continued their relative progression towards being true contenders on their respective levels. In all, from an Irish perspective at the very least, it’s been a glowing highlight of exactly why the Heineken Cup needs to stay alive.
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RABO : Ulster Impress As Leinster Climb Leaderboard

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Ulster 29 – 19 Munster

Munster came into this game as league leaders heading into 2014 but faced a tough open running Ulster side with brilliant trying scoring potential.

Ulster started this game at a frantic pace and with Ruan Pienaar in excellent form, Ulster seemed unbeatable in the first half when they split the Munster defence which resulted in Jared Payne getting the ball over the line to open their account. Ulster never let up on Munster in the first half and turned over possession and a brilliant running move by Jared Payne , which resulted in Andrew Trimble setting up Darren Cave for the try to give Ulster a commanding lead approaching half time. Two conversions and two penalties from Pienaar gave the Ravenhill men a 20-0 lead in the final few minutes before half time. Munster scored a late try in the half through Ivan Dineen to cut the gap to 15 points at the break.

The second half was to be a different affair as Munster set out to try to cause an upset. Munster made progress through the maul which resulted in Dave Kilcoyne scoring Munster’s second try and brought them back into this game. Pienaar was still impressive with the boot as his penalties would be vastly important to Ulster approaching the last 20 minutes of this game. Munster’s maul had Ulster in all sorts of problems when a second maul resulted in James Coughlan adding a third try for Munster to reduce the gap to just four points. Three penalties by Pienaar meant Ulster remained in front despite the Munster fight back. Ulster won on a score of 29 to 19 in what was a game of two halves.

Connacht 8 – 16 Leinster

Leinster were visitors to the Sportsgrounds for first clash of the New Year and faced an ever improving Connacht side under the management of Pat Lam. The game started rather slowly with both sides guilty of kicking away possession too often in the poor conditions. Connacht took the early lead when Robbie Henshaw saw an opening in the Leinster defence and exploded through it and offloaded the pass to Fionn Carr on the wing, who finished off the move with a great burst of pace. Both sides traded penalties towards the end of the half as Connacht showed more enterprise in the first half, leading by 8 points to 3 at the break.

Leinster showed more intent and desire to win in the second half as things began to go their way. Two penalties from Jimmy Gopperth edged Leinster ahead as the game began to swing in their favour. A late try by Gordon D’Arcy gave the visitors an eight point lead as Connacht searched for a losing bonus point in the late stages of the game, but to no avail. Leinster march up the table winning on double scores 16 points to 8.

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 – Leinster And Connacht Found Wanting In Return Fixtures

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Contrary to what the headline suggests, it wasn’t all doom and gloom for the provinces this weekend. Ulster managed to once more thump Treviso, although with a little more difficulty this weekend. And Munster pulled a performance from circa 2002 out of the drawer with a last gasp victory over Perpignan.

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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