Posts Tagged ‘ Ruan Pienaar ’

Heineken Cup – Munster Brilliance Keeps Irish Interest Alive

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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 – The French Connection Continues

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What is it with Irish teams versus the French? The English have Le Crunch, but with fixtures like Leinster VS Clermont in 2010 at the Aviva, again two years later in Bordeaux, Ulster VS Montpellier and Munster VS Perpignan this year, you’d have to say the Celtic and Gallic head to head has just created a huge buzz in recent years. Good news then that two of the three Irish provinces are of course taking on French opposition this weekend. Pure sporting nectar. Continue reading

Rabo Direct Pro 12: The Leinster-Munster Juggernaut Returns

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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.
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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.

Heineken Cup Preview: Munster Face Crucial Test Against Perpignan

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Heineken Cup Preview

Munster v Perpignan

Munster face a tough game against Perpignan in what is the crucial tie in terms of progression in the Heineken cup. Perpignan will pose a serious threat to Munster, but Munster will be expected to grind out a result in Thomond Park this weekend. Ian Keatley has impressed so far for Munster and has shown a lot of creativity in how he performs. Munster will need a good start to this game to settle their nerve and they have the try scoring ability to do so with players like Simon Zebo and Keith Earls. Once Munster create a solid lead it will be very hard for Perpignan to claw their way back into the game.   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

Heineken Cup – Munster Aim To Claw Back Some Pride

Rob Penney faces a tough task after Munster's drubbing last week

Rob Penney faces a tough task after Munster’s drubbing last week

Zebre v Connacht

This game is an open contest for both teams to claim all four points, though the presence of Dan Parks controlling the game should give Connacht the platform they need to overcome the powerful Italians. Connacht need to show the same spirited performance they did against Saracens in the previous round of the Heineken Cup, if they can do this and improve on it they should come home with a victory from Italy. Continue reading

Double Proves Fitting Send Off For Leinster Greats

Leinster 24 -v- Ulster 18

Leinster, the dominant force in Europe for the last five years, have landed a domestic title that has alluded them for three seasons in a row and in doing so completed a famous double. For this extraordinary group of players no less would have done.

For the last two years Heineken Cup hangovers and primed opposition have tainted what was meant to be their European champions’ party. This year was different. After bowing out in the group stages of the Heineken Cup, because of two defeats at the hands of the majestic Clermont, Leinster’s focus switched to the domestic title that had escaped their greedy grasp at their zenith. Last week’s European victory in the Amlin Cup took on a secondary importance. They enjoyed Friday night’s celebrations but didn’t allow them become weekend long sessions as they licked their Parisse induced bruises and returned to training on Monday setting their sights firmly on Ulster and the difficult task ahead. This was unfinished business. Their opponents for the final had completed a home and away double against them during the regular season and the game would demand the standards that have epitomised Leinster during the Joe Schmidt era, this technically away final in the RDS was his 99th and last game in charge of the province. However, the Ulster defeats earlier in the season were not the main motivating factor for Leinster instead it was the fact that they have been runners-up for the last three seasons in this competition that really irked them. For this uber successful bunch those defeats lingered through the Summer months. All talk this week was about completing the job, finishing the season off to their lofty standards and not leaving a sour taste, and that meant victory – the only fitting send off for Joe Schmidt, Jonathan Sexton and Isa Nacewa. Continue reading