14 January 2014

Five-day turnaround just not smart

Both Leinster and Northampton have been handed a five-day turnaround between Round 5 & 6 of their remaining Heineken Cup Pool games.

We all appreciate fixture lists are constructed for broadcasters who want to optimise their programming and that heavily influences the scheduling of games. He who pays the piper calls the tune so to speak. But there has to be limits to this scheduling.

After all, these players are not machines and recovery is a crucial part of preparation between performances.

It …..

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02 December 2013

Pro 12 dominance by Ireland not so good?

Before we turn our attention to the back-to-back Heineken Cup pool games next weekend, it is worth taking a look at the Pro 12 standings. After nine rounds of the tournament the table is beginning to take shape.

Irish teams dominate the top of the table with Munster, Leinster and Ulster in three of the top four play-off positions. Glasgow, who hold 3rd position, are on equal points with Ulster. But Ulster have a superior points difference and also more try …..

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30 October 2013

Looking north for the autumn

We are about the entertain the annual arrival of the “Big 3” to this part of the world for the Autumn International Series. The arrival of New Zealand, Australia and South Africa is greatly anticipated by the 6 Nations Unions as it is of huge importance to rugby in Europe.

Apart from the financial benefits of having three or four tests against world-class opposition, the autumn internationals are hugely beneficial from a rugby perspective.

Firstly, it allows the 6 Nations to benchmark …..

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25 September 2013

There will be more Wild Geese

From our history lessons in school we remember the departure of the “Wild Geese” as soldiers of fortune who left Ireland to fight European wars in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. It is very likely we will witness the rugby equivalent of Wild Geese over the next few years.

No sooner had Jonathan Sexton departed to France and the spectre of more players leaving at the end of the season began to loom large. The latest players reported to be …..

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16 September 2013

On the fly…

We are just two weeks into the season and yet to discuss the Heineken Cup, other than it’s future existence, so it may seem a tad early to consider the Irish team. But an intriguing battle has begun to play out even at this early stage of the season.

In less than eight weeks Joe Schmidt’s tenure as Irish coach will kick off in earnest when we play Samoa in the first of the autumn internationals. Since the retirement of Ronan …..

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