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Posts Tagged ‘ Nigel Owens ’

Six Nations 2015 – The Old Enemy

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Dual blogged on I’m Talkin’ Here

There is no sweeter victory for an Irish rugby team than one sealed over England; 800 years and all that. Geoghegan, Horgan, Gaillimh, McLaughlin – through the years this fixture has had a tendency to turn players into legends of the game. It barely needs to be discussed but a litany of (sporting) history explains why. Continue reading

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Heineken Cup – Munster Finish Their Heineken Cup History On A Low

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“Not with a bang, but a whimper”. The words of T.S Elliot may seem a somewhat harsh reflection on the weekend’s rugby, but for two teams like Munster and more significantly Clermont to bow out of the competition’s final ever incarnation in such fashion was deflating at best. Munster can take heart from the fact that they lost to the best and that they were at least extremely close to functioning fully, whereas Clermont will only be too happy to close the door on the competition that has caused them such mental anguish over the years, in the hope that the new Championship brings more prosperous times. Continue reading

Rabo Round Up – Munster Crash Back Down To Earth

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Well, that was deflating. Rob Penney went for a raft of changes after Munster’s thrilling defeat of Toulouse but it’s possible he underestimated Glasgow a touch too much. Leinster and Connacht won’t want to remember this weekend anytime soon either, Ulster on the other hand bounced back immensely with a comprehensive, and injury riddled, victory over the latter. Continue reading

The Ever Changing Word Of Neil Francis

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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

Far Away Fields Are Greener, The Near Ones Are Still Black

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Far away fields are greener but today, far away they still remain. The All Blacks were in town, with them they had a box that contained Irish rugby history. That box was open for eighty minutes yesterday before they unapologetically stuffed the history books back in and closed the lid, as we watched on helplessly. I knew walking into the stadium yesterday that it felt different. The crowd were up for it, more importantly the players were really up for it. Sport is cruel, it wouldn’t carry with it the highs and lows that it does otherwise. There is however no sport on the planet that could have had so much at stake during a ‘friendly’. Last week’s display was still fresh in the minds of the home support but they were up for ‘giving it a go’, Irish teams seem to play better for some reason when nothing is expected of them, when a good performance will count as a result. The air was thick as the formalities got underway, if I swung a samurai sword at that point in time, it would have stuck fast in the unyielding thickness of atmosphere. Three national anthems later we were ready for that tradition of all traditions. As far as watching grown men slap their legs and arms in an act of intimidation goes, yesterday’s didn’t weigh in with the threat that it usually carries. It was short and sweet, too short, too sweet. Continue reading

Munster Bow Out Of The Heineken Cup As Schmidt Appointed New Ireland Coach

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©M+MD. Munster faithful to the end

So near yet so far. And on the other side total annihilation. It shouldn’t be seen as a reflection on the quality of the competitions that the Amlin and Heineken produced such polar opposite games this weekend, more so it’s just one of those things. The weekend’s rugby was the prime example of how one day can very much be a team’s day, when for another side it can be the nearly hour, when they know what to do, have the ability to do so, but just can’t put it all together. For Leinster, a Biarritz team that did a pretty appalling job of playing rugby coupled with their natural ability to slice these sort of teams apart led to one hell of a rout in the RDS. For Munster it was all there for the taking but Clermont showed exactly why this is now their cup to take this season. Oh and there is of course the issue of a new Irish coach amidst all of this excitement, more on that below. Continue reading

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