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Posts Tagged ‘ Paris ’

Six Nations 2015 – Battle For The Title

England v Ireland - RBS Six Nations

Dual blogged on I’m Talkin’ Here

Here we are again for the third consecutive year; Ireland face off against England for what looks to be the deciding game of the tournament (so far, of course). The last two years havn’t gone that well for Ireland, can anything make this year any different?

It is always a foolish notion to consider one single game to be a decider when it isn’t on the final weekend. Regardless of who wins this weekend (or if there’s a draw for that matter) there are still two more games for each team to play. England will go on to face a French side with reason to play a big game as well as the Scots who are a little scary when they’re cohesive. Ireland face the Scots too and a Welsh side who could be seriously smarting if things don’t go their way against France. Wales are nearly more daunting when the championship is not at stake for them. Continue reading

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Six Nations 2015 – England Seek Revenge

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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

2014 Rugby Year In Review – Spring Launches A New Era

The Ireland team celebrate winning the RBS 6 Nations Championship in the dressing room 15/3/2014Dual blogged on Irish News Review

We’ve been a little light on rugby coverage here – let me assure you it was due to an exceptionally hectic Christmas and nothing to do with a Leinster man avoiding writing negatively about the struggling province – but now comes that unmissable time of the year. A time for nostalgia and teary eyes reminiscence. Yes, it’s time for a lookback on the rugby year that was 2014, a long overdue positive one for Irish fans.
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Six Nations 2014 – One Glorious Day

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Why can’t we ever do things the easy way? Sexton off with his neck braced, a French penalty opportunity thankfully swinging wide, a missed touch finder, a moment of panic from Kearney, a turned scrum. This titanic struggle had every feature that usually leads to an Irish loss yet for once we actually got the rub of the green. Just another demon Joe Schmidt has exorcised I suppose.
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Ireland Set To Power Past England

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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

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

Using French As Bargaining Tool May Hinder Irish Stars Of Tomorrow

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‘He who is not courageous enough to take risks, will accomplish nothing in life’. Muhammad Ali.

Bluff or real deal? We may never know but one thing is for sure, the big money spending French clubs must be getting sick and tired of bringing over Irish internationals for talks, knowing in the back of their minds, the Irish just want to stay at home. As Joe Schmidt gets himself comfortable driving the Irish hopes and dreams into the 2015 Rugby World Cup, he must be greatly heartened by the fact that all bar one of his squad look like being Irish based for the next two years. The only foreign based player just happens to be his playmaker but in a rugby world where the French clubs hold the gold, just one player away from home is a serious result. The I.R.FU. can take credit for keeping the players on home soil but how much intention from the player to play in France actually existed.  Continue reading

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