Posts Tagged ‘ Robbie Henshaw ’

Six Nations 2015 – Heaslip Returns For Welsh Showdown

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Freak. There’s no other word to describe Jamie Heaslip in relation to his healing abilities. We won’t complain, but many others would be out of their desk job for six months but here he is, the sole change from the team that beat England two weeks ago, ready to take the field in the Cardiff cauldron. Schmidt has made only enforced changes this Six Nations when you might think variety and choice are crucial in winning a championship – conservatism or wisdom? Continue reading

Six Nations 2015 – Ireland On Course For The Ultimate Prize

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Dual blogged on I’m Talkin’ Here

The chariot has been derailed and Ireland remain unbeaten. Such was the plethora of wins Ireland experienced over England before 2012 that seems strange to write with such enthusiasm but it has to be appreciated for what it means. How did they do it? Well it’s more than worthwhile taking a look.

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Guinness Series – Who Will Tame The Wallabies?

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Dual blogged on I’m Talkin’ Here

Assuming there isn’t a Joe Schmidt curveball to come, the starting XV for this Saturday against Australia will come from the best of the Boks and Georgia fixtures. At a glance you would say that the starting team from the South Africa fixture will get to go out and prove their mettle once more, excluding Jared Payne of course who is ruled out with the sprain suffered in that game. That said though, some hands went up against Georgia and you couldn’t put it past Schmidt to feel those few deserve their chance, on the bench at the very least.

In the front row, Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin and Mike Ross will surely be nailed on starters for Saturday. You could argue Cronin if Best is good to go, but Schmidt is not going to put in someone on merit so unless Best has a training week for the ages Cronin has got to start. Mike Ross has had a tough old run of it, playing to 74 minutes against the Boks, but having had so little game time beforehand it is still likely he will get the nod. In the second row you cannot look past Devin Toner and Paul O’Connell, especially with the commanding presence the former brought to the pitch when he was introduced last weekend. Dave Foley has likely played himself onto the bench however. The back row throws up a few more debates, especially when they will be up against the like of Matt Hooper, though admittedly the Aussie back rows had little or no fun against France last week. For Ireland, Dominic Ryan has likely played himself onto the bench, marginally ahead of Tommy O’Donnell though the latter did nothing wrong against Georgia or South Africa. The two are just simply fairly level and Ryan would benefit more from the experience. Expect no less than Jamie Heaslip and Peter O’Mahony to fill out the rest of the pack. 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

Rabo – Connacht Fight For European Qualification

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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

RABO : Ulster Impress As Leinster Climb Leaderboard

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Ulster 29 – 19 Munster

Munster came into this game as league leaders heading into 2014 but faced a tough open running Ulster side with brilliant trying scoring potential.

Ulster started this game at a frantic pace and with Ruan Pienaar in excellent form, Ulster seemed unbeatable in the first half when they split the Munster defence which resulted in Jared Payne getting the ball over the line to open their account. Ulster never let up on Munster in the first half and turned over possession and a brilliant running move by Jared Payne , which resulted in Andrew Trimble setting up Darren Cave for the try to give Ulster a commanding lead approaching half time. Two conversions and two penalties from Pienaar gave the Ravenhill men a 20-0 lead in the final few minutes before half time. Munster scored a late try in the half through Ivan Dineen to cut the gap to 15 points at the break.

The second half was to be a different affair as Munster set out to try to cause an upset. Munster made progress through the maul which resulted in Dave Kilcoyne scoring Munster’s second try and brought them back into this game. Pienaar was still impressive with the boot as his penalties would be vastly important to Ulster approaching the last 20 minutes of this game. Munster’s maul had Ulster in all sorts of problems when a second maul resulted in James Coughlan adding a third try for Munster to reduce the gap to just four points. Three penalties by Pienaar meant Ulster remained in front despite the Munster fight back. Ulster won on a score of 29 to 19 in what was a game of two halves.

Connacht 8 – 16 Leinster

Leinster were visitors to the Sportsgrounds for first clash of the New Year and faced an ever improving Connacht side under the management of Pat Lam. The game started rather slowly with both sides guilty of kicking away possession too often in the poor conditions. Connacht took the early lead when Robbie Henshaw saw an opening in the Leinster defence and exploded through it and offloaded the pass to Fionn Carr on the wing, who finished off the move with a great burst of pace. Both sides traded penalties towards the end of the half as Connacht showed more enterprise in the first half, leading by 8 points to 3 at the break.

Leinster showed more intent and desire to win in the second half as things began to go their way. Two penalties from Jimmy Gopperth edged Leinster ahead as the game began to swing in their favour. A late try by Gordon D’Arcy gave the visitors an eight point lead as Connacht searched for a losing bonus point in the late stages of the game, but to no avail. Leinster march up the table winning on double scores 16 points to 8.

Irish Rugby Review 2013

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The November series of 2012 led us into 2013 with a mixed bag of expectations, hope and a real feel of not knowing where Irish rugby was going. There was a sense that change was on the horizon, Declan Kidney was in charge of an ageing team but there were signs of talented youth on the periphery. South Africa were the first of the visiting nations and in a tight game they just did enough to keep Ireland from claiming a win. A scoreline of 16-12 suggested as much but it was a game that Ireland should have and could have won. The courageous performance of nearly winning was now becoming a bit too regular and the fans were becoming somewhat impatient, good performances no longer enough to keep them happy. The following week, an uncapped Ireland XV played host to Fiji in Thomond Park. It was a game that although one-sided, I as an Irish rugby fan, thoroughly enjoyed. Continue reading