Posts Tagged ‘ Rugby World Cup ’

Innovative Irish Sports App Makes International Awards Shortlist

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An Irish-designed mobile app that enables sports coaches, scouts and analysts to assess the performance of individual players and teams has been shortlisted alongside Sky Sports, Wilson, Adidas in the inaugural Sports Technology Awards.

Sport Tagger has been shortlisted in the categories of Best Technology and Best Sports App in the international awards scheme, the first of its kind to celebrate the best and most innovative advancements within the sporting world.

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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

Six Nations : Ireland Seek Solid Start

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And so here we are again, the start of another Six Nations campaign. Probably the most open this championship has been in years. Four of the six competing nations will have high hopes of claiming the honours, maybe even harbour ambitions of a Grand Slam. If we have learned anything from last year’s competition, it should be that the November internationals only give a slight indication as to who’s in form and who isn’t. Wales had a dismal run of performances in that respect and continued their losing streak against Ireland in their opening fixture of the Six Nations. They turned their fortunes around in the next round and went on to claim their second championship win in a row. England brought with them, the slayers of the All Blacks tag and expectations were high, however they fell at the last hurdle and fell hard. Ireland and France had campaigns to forget and Italy and Scotland managed to escape from the bottom two places on the table. The opening weekend will obviously tell a lot, here’s what’s on offer. Continue reading

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

Ireland V Australia : To Dare Is To Do

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It’s difficult to assess how Joe Schmidt is viewing his second test in charge of Ireland. The Wallabies are in town on Saturday evening and with them they bring a severe test of ability and character from the Irish players. The Australian forwards are as hard as Ayers Rock itself, their backs can make flamboyancy look like just a reasonable effort. They are an extremely talented side on their day, off their day, they are ordinary, mediocre even. England showed us that they can be beaten, Italy showed us what happens to teams that let the Aussies play.

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“Comfy” World Cup Draw Wraps Up 2012 International Year

Declan-KidneyLots of rugby news both domestic and international today guys and gals so please bare with me and we’ll make it through! Nobody would ever suggest a World Cup draw is a good one, but contextually Ireland just got a good versus a potentially very bad draw for the 2015 tournament. With the pool drawn as Ireland, Italy, America’s (likely Canada/USA) and Europes (Romania/Georgia/Russia) the final team was between New Zealand or France. Given that history has shown we can beat only one of those two, France was the “good” draw. Once again we find ourselves in a pool where we should by rights be guaranteed at least second place, the most worrying factors being that, as O’Driscoll alluded to two years ago, Italy will beat us competitively some day and the fact that second place would likely see us face New Zealand in the Quarter Finals. All in all though, for the closest tournament to home in a long time, it is a favourable pool draw and should lead to some steady optimism toward the end of 2015.

In domestic duty this weekend there was mixed results for the provinces. Connacht were extremely unlucky not to find a win against the floundering Edinburgh, who ceased scoring at the 66 minute mark but the best Connacht could do was to bring the scores back to within a point. Credit to Edinburgh given that their form suggested anything but this impressive away scalp, but Connacht were only a knock on or a wide drop goal away from snatching a win that would have been vastly important for their table standing as they would have climbed to just outside the top 6. They will now have to strive for several successive victories to stand any chance of entering the top 4 and it would realistically seem just outside their reach. Connacht 23 – 24 Edinburgh

Munster had themselves a far more fortuitous evening on Saturday, destroying Glasgow by thirty points and keeping their place in the top 4. South African CJ Stander followed up on his cameo from the bench last weekend and did so with style, picking up two superb tries in the Thomond Park rout. Tommy O’Donnell gave the third whilst a late penalty try from the scrum gave Munster the bonus point. It was a far more advanced performance when put into comparison with Munster’s dour showing against Scarlets last weekend but needs to be repeated if Munster are to stand any chance of maintaining their league position, and with their Heineken Cup campaign hinging more so than any other side in their back to back this month they could do with a command of the Rabo. Start again from here boys and keep consistent. Munster 31 – 3 Glasgow

Speaking of table positions Leinster returned those to something a lot more familiar looking with their absolute destruction of Zebre, one that can nearly be single handedly accredited to Fergus McFadden. The speedster, who inexplicably still is not a nailed on starter in green, had a magnificent evening, taking over kicking duties in the second half and scoring two tries as well as making any number of breaks. Admittedly the first half was mostly sextons with 12 of 17 points scored to his name, but McFadden looked every bit the superstar in the RDS. To Leinster’s five tries Zebre could only muster up one, albeit deserved, but the Italian outfit now find themselves still searching for a first win since their introduction in September. Some other good news from Leinster ahead of next week was some of the individual performances with Michael Bent proving reliable in set piece and open play, Goodman certainly an assured player in the centre though some more invention would help his case, and D’Arcy has kept his form from the Argentina affair and hopefully should bring it to France next week. Leinster 37 – 7 Zebre

The final Irish interest game of the weekend in the Rabo was Ulster travelling to Wales to take on top of the table rivals Scarlets, who had taught Munster a lesson last weekend. Of all the fixtures it looked like it could prove to be the most exciting but the unfortunate hammering of rain in Parc Y Scarlets put and end to that notion, an opportunistic intercept try from Trimble was the only difference between the two sides in a clash littered with errors and a complete lack of atmosphere. Rain or not though, Ulster definitely have areas to improve in, their performance definitely not one worthy of the top club at the minute who also had a large chunk of their internationals back. It will be noted as a “win is a win” but there is definite work to be done before next weeks crucial meeting with Northampton. Scarlets 12 – 19 Ulster

The best news of the weekend is that all four provinces have made it through to training for the Heineken Cup this weekend with no fresh injury concerns, as of yet, and this is the best news they void have hoped for as all four have long term crucial players injured already. Stay tuned for our bumper Heineken Cup preview later in the week! Also don’t forget to follow @niallon on Twitter where we bring live updates for whatever games we can!

Rampant Wales End World Cup Hopes

IRELAND’S Rugby World Cup hopes were dashed in dramatic fashion by a rampant Wales who ran out comfortable 22-10 victors in their quarter final clash in New Zealand.
The dominant Welsh ran in three converted tries as Ireland failed to respond to the challenge from Warren Gatland’s men.
The loss ended Ireland’s hopes of making it to the semi-finals of a world cup for the first time in their history, while this will be Wales first last-four appearance since 1987.
Irish coach Declan Kidney can have no qualms about the result as his team struggled to stem the flow of Welsh attacks.
As they had done all through the tournament, Wales put an emphasis on attack, and their bold approach was again rewarded through tries for wing Shane Williams, scrum-half Mike Phillips and centre Jonathan Davies.
Fly-half Rhys Priestland kicked two conversions and full-back Leigh Halfpenny booted a long-range penalty to thwart an Irish side on level terms after 50 minutes when wing Keith Earls claimed a try that Ronan O’Gara converted, adding to an earlier penalty.
But Ireland, pool stage conquerors of Australia, gained little change from a colossal Welsh defence, and their revered back-row of Stephen Ferris, Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip rarely featured.
Wales, in contrast, had heroes everywhere, most notably Phillips, who produced the performance of his career, and centre Jamie Roberts, whose awesome midfield power was often too much for Ireland to hold.
On this form, Wales will fancy their chances of reaching the final, an achievement that appeared fanciful in the extreme only a few months ago.
But coach Warren Gatland and their inspirational captain Sam Warburton continue to build a squad that now appears to have irresistible momentum.
Ireland got off to the worst possible start after Wales scorched ahead inside three minutes following a sustained passage of play that had the blockbusting Roberts as its central figure.
Twice Roberts ran aggressively at the Irish defence and when possession was moved wide Halfpenny sent Williams over.
It was the Ospreys try machine’s 56th touchdown for Wales – an ongoing record – and with Priestland slotting the touchline conversion, Wales led 7-0.
Ireland, though, responded by laying siege to Wales’ 22, testing their opponents’ defensive structure, but some thunderously-committed tackling ensured Wales stayed ahead approaching the end of a frantic opening quarter.
It proved a rip-roaring contest, with both teams maintaining impressive form that saw them qualify from tough pools, yet Ireland continue to threaten more in attack.
Centre Gordon D’Arcy roamed into space before Wales’ defensive numbers closed him down, then full-back Rob Kearney galloped clear, only to be scythed down by Halfpenny’s tackle.
An O’Gara penalty finally opened Ireland’s account after 23 minutes, a reward for some admirable attacking endeavour that matched Wales’ initial approach.
Ireland had plenty of possession, yet their dangerous backs could not break the final tackle, and Wales regained a seven-point advantage when Halfpenny landed a penalty from just inside the opposition half.
The game was played at a furious tempo, asking questions of both sides’ fitness levels with more than half the contest still remaining, but Wales comfortably repelled a few late Irish flurries to lead 10-3 at the break.
Ireland blasted out of the blocks from the restart, piling into rucks at breakneck pace, and such commitment was rewarded when they drew level after 45 minutes.
Lock Paul O’Connell played a pivotal role, smashing into the heart of Wales’ defence, and despite a wayward pass from scrum-half Conor Murray, Ferris and Tommy Bowe managed to work Earls clear.
The Munster wing had just enough in the tank to get there, touching down despite Phillips’ attempted tackle, although referee Craig Joubert required confirmation from television match official Giulio de Santis before awarding it.
O’Gara made the touchline conversion attempt look easy, and with Ireland level at 10-10, the game was once again balanced on a knife edge.
But Wales responded magnificently, reclaiming the lead in opportunist fashion just six minutes later after brilliant work by Phillips.
The livewire number nine collected possession from a ruck, and spotting a gap in Ireland’s defence he went for broke, diving over the line and touching down one-handed for a try that again needed video confirmation.
Priestland could not add the extras, yet Wales had rediscovered their early snap and verve, with Ireland now having it all to do ahead of a double substitution that saw O’Gara and Murray replaced by Jonathan Sexton and Eoin Reddan.
Priestland then missed a golden chance to increase Wales’ advantage when his angled 25-metre penalty kick hit the post, handing Ireland a reprieve and ensured no let-up in the drama.
But Wales struck again 16 minutes from time after initial high-class work by Phillips, and Davies predictably showed Ireland prop Cian Healy a clean pair of heels to claim his team’s third try.
Priestland converted, and at 22-10 ahead, Wales had control of the game for perhaps the first time before closing out the contest and claiming a stunning win.