Posts Tagged ‘ Ravenhill ’

Rabo – The Table Doesn’t Lie As Leinster Progress


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 – Last Roll Of The Dice For At Least One Province

MUN_552655kAnd so we come to a close, the regular league season done with Leinster on top and Glasgow at their heels. You could say it’s all becoming a bit repetitive, or you could say it simply is a representation of how far beyond the rest of the league Munster, Leinster, Ulster, Glasgow and (sometimes) Ospreys are year in year out. The Rabo will change dramatically next season, the new importance of qualification fresh in minds from day one, but for now, like its grown up European counterpart, we will see out the last of the current incarnation and see what lies ahead this weekend. Continue reading

Rabo – Final Farewells Kick Off For Leinster


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 – Connacht Fight For European Qualification


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


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

Heineken Cup – Connacht Mesmerizing In Italy, Four From Four For The Provinces

Gopperth has settled into his new club seamlessly.

Gopperth has settled into his new club seamlessly.


Zebre 6 – 33 Connacht

What can i say about this game, to put simply Connacht were unbelievable. They showed hunger, desire and their dynamic type off the play was incredible. They showed real intent and urgency and blew the Italians out of the way, Full credit to Mr Pat Lam for what he is doing with this side. The game started with both sides trading early penalties and Connacht leading 6 – 3 after the early exchanges.  A try by Connacht’s George Naoupa from a quickly taken short line-out resulted in the Continue reading

Leinster And Ulster Fight For An All Irish Final…Again – Rabo Semi Finals Preview

©Peter J Dean
Leinster will want to avoid sights like this

So here we are again, but something is different. Yes once more Leinster and Ulster are fighting for the opportunity to face each other in a tournament final, but against both camps wishes it isn’t the Heineken Cup this time around, rather the Rabo Direct Pro 12 is at stake for the two Heineken Cup rivals of 2012. No it isn’t ideal, both sides would rather be in the Aviva on the Saturday but to be fair, the Rabo is a far cry from the Magners League that preceded it and miles away from the Celtic League that came before. As the European competitions have grown and grown, so too has the significance of the domestic end of things. It has turned into more than a training ground, the addition of the Italian sides making a massive difference in a way they won’t be too happy to hear. You see once upon a time the tournament was seen as the lesser affair and it arguably still is to a degree but with the fledgling Italians entering the fray, the Welsh, Scots and Irish now have an example before them of teams who take the competition very seriously. They also regrettably have their fixtures against these sides to serve as the “easy” games to use as testing grounds and the grand scheme of the competition has taken a more intense position. It is telling that for all of the competition’s “insignificance”, the reigning European champions of three in the last four years, Leinster, haven’t held the league title since 2008. Or since they won their first Heineken Cup to be exact. In 2010 Ospreys spoiled the party winning the last Magners title (and first grand final), Munster took the consolation of domestic silverware in 2011 after they bowed out of Europe early and then last year Ospreys once again spoiled the part with a one point win over Leinster. Watch back any of those three finals and try find the point where it’s apparent that the trophy seems irrelevant to the victors, you won’t find it. With that bit of Rabo justification out of the way, let’s look at who’s likely to contest it. Continue reading