Posts Tagged ‘ Pro 12 ’

Pro 12 – No Change At The Top

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limerickleader.ie

Two weeks to go and one would think we are already looking at the final top 4 order in the 2015 Guinness Pro 12. Aside from Munster the table toppers showed nearly all their worth over the weekend too and the knock outs are shaping up to be some absolutely mouth watering games.

On Friday night Leinster and Ulster locked horns in an absolutely crucial fixture for the Blues. Out of Europe, sitting outside the top 4 and in direct competition with Ospreys for that coveted spot, kicking off their three game run with a win was more than necessary. It looked like they were more than aware of that fact too as they raced into a 10 nil lead in the first ten minutes. Coming away from their agonisingly close finish against Toulon last week, many expected Leinster to carry over some authority from France but as it happened it turned into business as usual in the worst way possible. Continue reading

European Rugby – Munster Face Down Their Biggest Milestone

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New competition, new beginnings and a chance for Munster to reclaim some of their former glory. That is what awaits Anthony Foley’s men on Saturday when they travel to meet Saracens. It is getting tired and it is beyond cliche to say it, but Munster are a backs to the wall team at their finest moments. When all is required and all can be lost, that is when Munster sincerely find their place in European Rugby. There is no better recent example than that exemplary performance against Harlequins in 2013 when Munster were all but written off and came out blazing to send ‘Quins home licking their wounds. Of course, these scenarios don’t always go their way but there seems to just be a little in the air to suggest that won’t be the case this weekend.
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Pro 12 – Munster Do It Again In Cardiff

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Six from six in Wales, Munster just have an upper hand over Cardiff to envy. Just like their heroics against Sale, it was anything but smooth sailing to nab this scalp but it is yet another crucial victory in correcting their course going into December, made all the more important by the fact that a lot of “second string” players fronted up for this trip. Leinster and Ulster also notched up important wins, once more carrying the extra significance of the benchwarmers and Connacht faltered somewhat admirably in Wales. Let’s go.

Munster had us worried, but with this second last gasp win of the season only six weeks in, I think we can all agree they’re heading in the right direction. With another potentially tough trip to Wales coming up on November 21st and players like Duncan Williams, JJ Hanrahan and Johnny Holland likely to be required to help keep the squad in check whilst the Irish contingent are away and potentially in the weeks after that pending injuries, it is significant that each of them had solid outings on Saturday. Continue reading

Pro 12 – New Signings Set To Bolster Leinster And Connacht

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Well the European Rugby Champions Cup (I’m informed there’s no apostrophe in there, I still disagree) has kicked off and the world didn’t end. Better yet there was some decent rugby to be seen and it hasn’t in fact turned into an Anglo-Gallic swarm with three Celtic nations well poised to do the business come next spring. But ahead of the November internationals we have to turn our eye back to the domestic league, for some it will be the last chance to put a hand up for Irish selection before the Six Nations.
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Pro 12 – Testing Times Ahead Of Europe

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Clean sweep it may have been, but perfect it was anything but. This most recent weekend of Pro 12 rugby has shown just how much the Irish provinces, Ulster aside, may be clinging on by their fingernails in European competitions this season, a shame when the new iteration could do with some input from nations outside of France and England to solidify it somewhat. That’s not to say that things are in dire straits and we would be lucky to see even one Irish side make the knock outs, but several kicks up several behinds are required in order for all four provinces to be competitive.  Continue reading

Pro 12 – Big Guns Returning For The Provinces

Felix Jones returns to 15 for Munster tonight

Felix Jones returns to 15 for Munster tonight

Firstly, apologies. Yes there was no preview/review of the opening weekend of the Guinness Pro 12 last week, lack of planning and timekeeping are at fault for that one. For what it’s worth, I would’ve predicted every game entirely wrong so that’s something! Normal service can now resume however and we can now look ahead to this weekend’s upcoming fixtures. Continue reading

Rabo Direct Pro 12: Munster Beat Ospreys To Remain Top Of The League

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Rabo Direct Pro 12

Munster 12 – 6 Ospreys

Munster started this game well when Ian Keatley converted two penalties to give them a comfortable six point lead. The Ospreys struggled to get into gear and eventually got on the scoreboard when Matthew Morgan converted their only score of the half with an easy penalty in front of the posts. Munster dominated the last few minutes of the half and were denied a try by the television match official who altered the decision due to an incomplete scrum and the ball coming out of the tunnel. Munster led by 6 points to 3 at half time and stood firm in defence. Munster remained in control in the second half with Ian Keatley and JJ Hanrahan slotting over penalties to extend their lead by 12 to 3. A late penalty by Morgan was a mere consolation, although it put some respectivity on the scoreboard, Munster go top of the Rabo Direct Pro 12 winning this game by 12 points to 6. Continue reading

Rabo Direct Pro 12: Leinster Overcome Strong Test From Connacht

Ian Madigan runs in for a try 23/3/2013

Rabo Direct Pro 12

Leinster 16 – 13 Connacht

Connacht executed a brilliant start  to this game and seemed to surprise their opponents and although the game was decided in the final moments they can hold their heads high. Dan Parks got Connacht off to a brilliant start with two early penalties to give them a six point lead. Ian Madigan reduced the gap to three with a penalty but Connacht grew in confidence and a try by Kieran Marmion gave them a well deserved lead, with Dan Parks following up with the conversion. This was to be Connacht’s last score as the game turned into a war of attrition. Madigan added two penalties to keep Leinster within touching distance of Connacht. Connacht led at the break by 13 – 9. The lack of discipline in the last few moments by Connacht resulted in two of their players being sin binned. Leinster applied immense pressure on Connacht and when Leinster were awarded a penalty try, it seemed heartbreaking for Connacht. Madigan added the conversion, although Connacht must take the positives from this game. Leinster win by 16 -13 over Connacht. Continue reading

RaboDirect Pro 12 – Leinster Need To Be Wary Of Connacht

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Rabo Direct Pro 12

Ulster v Cardiff Blues

Ulster come in to this game with the return of Ruan Pienaar to their line up which could prove crucial to their hopes of victory. Cardiff will pose a big threat to Ulster’s hopes to climb the leaderboard in the league.

The Welsh side will be hoping to come home from Ravenhill with a strong victory, following their Heineken Cup heroics against Toulon. Ulster have the potential to score tries and with players like Tommy Bowe and Andrew Trimble on their side this will be a game worth watching. Cardiff will be looking to the likes of Sam Warburton and Leigh Halfpenny to bring the victory. Home advantage will play a crucial influence in this game and you would have to think Ulster have more try scoring potential on their side. Continue reading

RABO : Leinster & Ulster Record Bonus Point Victories

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Rabo Direct Pro 12 Weekly Round – up

Leinster 34 – 20 Cardiff Blues

Brian O’Driscoll began his final season of rugby on a winning note as he helped Leinster claim a bonus point 34-20 win against Cardiff Blues at the RDS.

Leinster showed how good they are in the first half when Sean Cronin scored an early try to give them some daylight in this encounter with Ian Madigan duly sending the conversion between the posts. Both sides exchanged penalties with both Madigan and Leigh Halfpenny converting two each to give Leinster a 13-6 lead at the interval.

Filo Paulo’s 47th-minute yellow card preceded a penalty try for Leinster, however a tremendous solo effort from Alex Cuthbert kept the Welsh region in the hunt. Continue reading