Posts Tagged ‘ Paddy Jackson ’

Schmidt Produces Some Surprises For November Series

image

A week earlier than expected, Joe Schmidt has announced his 37 man squad for the upcoming November Internationals and though influenced by injury, some surprise calls have reared their heads.

As seems to always be the case in Ireland, out half is the area causing the most debate. The chosen three are Jonathan Sexton, Ian Keatley and Ian Madigan. Paddy Jackson has been the go to second to Sexton for nearly two years now, and his omission may come as a surprise to many. But Keatley has been getting to the required level slowly but surely and with performances like last weekend against Sale under his belt deserves his call up. Jackson does also have a little time to go to return fully from injury and Madigan just provides better all round cover given how many Irish backs are sat up with injury. Ulster fans won’t be happy, but much like Sexton being released back to Leinster during the 2012 Six Nations, Jackson is not to be considered out of the golden circle just because he is being left with Ulster for game time. Continue reading

Pro 12 – Munster Might Too Much For Leinster

story_17365_17365-xlarge

Well, that was interesting. Often the Leinster VS Munster October fixture is touted as the real start of the rugby season, for fans of both provinces anyway. Too often though, the game itself winds up not nearly living up to the billing. In recent years it has been all too one sided, or generally just dour. Well, five tries, four yellow cards and a fairly thrilling finish was what we were greeted with on Saturday,and in a lovely little twist we’ve probably learned less about both sides than we did from the less entertaining affairs. Continue reading

Rabo – The Table Doesn’t Lie As Leinster Progress

image

First and second placed teams in the final, who’d have thought it? Not that it looked likely for the majority of both semi finals mind you. Still, the results are in and Leinster will welcome Glasgow to the RDS in two weeks for the closing game in this Celtic League chapter before a raft of changes in attitude arrive next season. Continue reading

Rabo – Final Farewells Kick Off For Leinster

image

He has echoed the thought himself, and it is true, Brian O’Driscoll has been retiring for an awful long time at this stage. True enough, hanging up the green jersey with a Six Nations title to go with it and no Heineken Cup left to play for, the biggest flair of his retirement is probably gone. But keep in mind Leinster haven’t exactly a lavish track record with the Pro 12 title and to think it means any less to him or Leinster as a whole just because it is the only remaining prize would be a mistake Continue reading

Rabo – Provinces Move On To Final Prize

image

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.
Continue reading

Rabo – Connacht Fight For European Qualification

image

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

Heineken Cup – Munster Brilliance Keeps Irish Interest Alive

image

Well, that was emotional. Be it the dream of another fairytale for Brian O’Driscoll, the anger and passion that followed Jared Payne’s red card, or the sheer and utter dissection Munster undertook, that was yet another Heineken Cup knock out round that simply had it all. It was yet another reason why the dissolving of this competition next year is little short of a travesty, though at least the new tournament looks set to more closely resemble this one than it could have. Continue reading

Rabo Direct Pro 12: The Leinster-Munster Juggernaut Returns

image

Ah its back again. Post-Six Nations hangovers are worse when you’re successful, no doubt about that. There’s little to win in the muddling Rabo games that arise between the end of the Six Nations and the Heineken Cup resumption. But then along comes the colossus, the manly Munstermen versus the Leinster ladyboys, a fixture that defies all logic and at times elevates above European standard. Ah yes, it’s good to be back.
Continue reading

Irish Rugby: One Direction,Right Direction

ireland

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

Rabo Direct Pro 12: Munster And Leinster Emerge Victorious

rugby

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