Posts Tagged ‘ Zebre ’

European Rugby – And Then There Was One

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Dual blogged on I’m Talkin’ Here

Can anyone else remember the last time only one Irish team managed to make the European knockouts? Eleven years ago, back when Ulster still couldn’t find a way out and Leinster lost out to Stade Francais and Munster were the sole hope in the Quarter Finals. Is it a reflection on the Irish club game that only Leinster have progressed or is it the new format living up to its name and providing a greater challenge to the Celts? Hard to say in this inaugural year but the fact is there to see that only one province from the back to back Six Nations champion country is present this weekend. Pity.
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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 – Green Glory For Pat Lam’s Connacht

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Well, that was somewhat unexpected. Not entirely, which is good. But once more Connacht have found themselves on the right end of a game that previously would have been a heroic defeat. Not this Connacht, not Pat Lam’s Connacht 2.0. It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly has changed, seeing as how the new wonder signings have, for the most part, not joined the squad yet. But Conancht are growing, and with a lot of homegrown talent still stoking the fires I should add. Wins like last Friday’s over Leinster just keep the train going and they now sit in the top 4 of the table, whilst Leinster lick the wounds of two close defeats. Continue reading

Pro 12 – Kearney King As The Provinces Nab A Clean Sweep

Rob Kearney dots down the firs of his two tries last Saturday

Rob Kearney dots down the first of his two tries last Saturday

Some of it was simply beautiful, some of it down and dirty nitty gritty, and some of it we’ll just never know as Munster V Treviso was inexplicably not televised. But it’s a clean sweep for the provinces, after an opening round that saw just the one – Connacht – team nab any joy. Ulster and Munster didn’t make it easy over what should have been straight forward enough Italian opposition, but they got the job done. Connacht ground out a win at the death that was just completely unrecognisable from their last two seasons, and Leinster came back to something resembling the defending champions they are. A good weekend indeed. 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 – Final Farewells Kick Off For Leinster

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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 – Provinces Move On To Final Prize

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Once again, May brings the bad news. Irish interest has vacated the Heineken Cup and all the provinces can strive for is Celtic silverware. There has been whispers the last week of the insignificance of the Rabo these days, especially with the shake up it will receive next season due to increased relevance, but I defy you to tell any of these teams that it’s somehow lesser.
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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

Heineken Cup – Scramble For The Quarter Finals

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So it’s here, the final weekend of the 2014 Heineken Cup pools stages, Brian O’Driscoll’s final European bow in the RDS, and who knows what other finals this could wind up being as the European rugby situation still sits in utter turmoil. But enough of that, for now there’s a serious amount of permutations and predictions to get through.
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Heineken Cup – Another Clean Sweep For The Provinces

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Not bad, not bad at all. Not perfect, not by any means, but there is a certain sense of pride to be taken from the Irish teams all sweeping the board in this Round 5 weekend. Not something to get boastful, or big headed about, but evidence of how strong the Irish presence is in this competition and that no bonus points were obtained shows how fiercely competitive this tournament still is, and long may it continue.
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