Friday, August 29, 2014
Thursday, August 28, 2014
Grainne Rothery - Business & Leadership
"Love him or hate him, (Stu Barnes) gets people talking and provokes debate - and that's what the Pro12 needs."
Simon Thomas - WalesOnline
"We've been the fourth province in Ireland for a reason, because that's what results have shown us and that's what history has shown us. "
From 2016 the ARU will have the ability to offer players one season in a foreign domestic competition
It's not just technically superb, it’s functional and a thing of beauty (tweet by @rugbyonslaught)
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Even Pro12 rivals would welcome Jonny Sexton's return
Gerry Thornley - Irish Times
"With that investment comes a pressure to achieve results and we know we need to fulfill that side of the bargain.
David Kelly - Irish Independent
"it's about bringing our abilities together to create a vision and a plan, and then implementing it. Sadly, we haven't been doing that for the last 5 or 6 years." Dragons DoR Lyn Jones
Chris Hewett - (English) Independent
He's an enigma in his ability to keep doing it.
Craig Dowd - ESPN Scrum.com
Brace yourselves, this might induce projectile vomiting from your ears.
Ben Kiely - Balls.ie
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
David Kelly - Irish Independent
20 centrally contracted players will train 5 days a week during the season
The Guardian (via Press Association)
... if an optimally managed Sexton is just 5% better than he would otherwise be, it will be money well spent
Despite his injury, Jones has not given up on adding to his international caps
Gareth Rogers - WalesOnline
Nick Cummins confused Japan last week with his first television interview
Monday, August 25, 2014
according to sources, the deal has been reached as a result of direct talk between Sexton, IRFU chief executive Philip Browne and his Leinster counterpart Mick Dawson
Ruairidh O'Connor - Irish Independent
Sonny Bill Williams looks set to be included... after being granted a special dispensation
The Guardian (via Australian AP)
the speed at which they play is amazing to watch, even with Richie McCaw finally having a ref put some manners on him
Australian rugby yet again is stuck under a ghastly big black cloud
Greg Growden - ESPN Scrum.com
Thankfully, Stade Francais outhalf Jules Plisson was alert to this little car
Will Slattery - The Score
Sunday, August 24, 2014
Leinster battled back with tries from Cian Kelleher, Dan Leavy and Mick McGrath but two scores from George North sealed a 33-21 win for the Saints.
Will Slattery - The Score
Big girl with a big smile, she immediately strikes you as being warm and engaging
Brendan Fanning - Sunday Independent
Dual contracts are thought to involve a 60-40 WRU-region split
Steve James - Telegraph
South Africa are now top of the Rugby Championship standings ahead of New Zealand
"He'll tell you himself he's not the most mobile"
Gary Williams - Oval Zone Rugby
Saturday, August 23, 2014
In some ways, I can appreciate the disappointment that this is virtually an "A" team, especially as the English champions have selected a near-full-strength lineup. Nobody likes to see their team get beaten whatever the stakes especially if it means a repeat of what happened at the same ground at the same stage of the 2012/13 season.
But hasn't it always been thus? What we see here are two different ways of looking at team selection for the pre-season.
The Saints will open the new Premiership campaign, as well as the defence of their title, at home against Gloucester on September 5. In that league it is seen as crucial to hit the ground running.
Now it's true, Sky in their quest to boost the profile of the Pro12 have started the new season with a repeat of last May's final, so in some ways it would make sense to give more senior players a run to help get them match fit.
Still though...we can just as easily argue from the other direction...what would it prove to play Ian Madigan, Jamie Heaslip and Rob Kearney in a match like this one? Who will remember it if and when the finals come around for Leinster next May? In fact, screw that...who will remember it when the Champions Cup comes around in October?
I'd love to be going over to Franklin’s Gardens, even if Leinster are likely to lose. Because there are some youngsters out there looking to break into the senior squad who will get immeasurable experience from the outing.
Youngsters like Jordan Coughlan, who Joe Schmidt converted from back-row into a power 12 and certainly has the tools to succeed there but has been massively unfortunate with injury.
Like Sam Coghlan-Murray, who also has had enforced spells away from the game...I'd be very interested to see how a winger with his sevens-style pace can fit into a Leinster set-up.
Like Ben Marhsall, who can play lock or 6 and looked very comfortable in his few senior outings before impressing in last year's B&I Cup campaign. Sadly he was forced out of the final at an early stage so no doubt he'll be raring to get stuck into the Saints pack and show what he can do.
And with the experience of Boss and Gopperth at half-back to start, plus the immense promise of Luke McGrath and Cathal Marsh to come on…who’s to say we can’t do some damage on the day???
I could be wrong, but I get a sense from a (probably small) number of Leinster fans that they have their knives out for Matt O'Connor, and have done from day one. If so, this would be a shame in my book. I don't think he has done anything at the province he wouldn't always have and sure, the team fell short on a couple of big occasions last season, but our biggest defeats were against Toulon and these same Saints - teams who went on to win two trophies each.
Perhaps some are being a tad harsh on the coach of the reigning Pro12 champions? Perhaps we can afford him the chance to show us he can take the squad even further in his second season? I'm not saying he definitely will, mind - that remains to be seen - but can we him the space to get it done? At least until after the first two rounds of Europe?
On the results front today, anything short of a thrashing would be a decent outcome for Leinster. For me, all roads lead to Glasgow for the season opener and the squad needs to know the fans are fully behind them. JLP
Racing Metro confirmed that they have set a deadline of September 15thDavid Kelly - Irish Independent
Close to 13,000 turned out at the Kingspan Stadium to watch the game
Richard Mulligan - Belfast Newsletter
"it's the 80 minutes on Saturday that is the important thing. If he [Warburton] isn't getting that, someone seriously needs to do something."
Selectors are sitting targets, an inevitable butt for criticism of the teams that did not quite work out.
Huw Richards - ESPN.co.uk
TEXT MND TO 50300
Friday, August 22, 2014
Mini Rugby will be starting back on Sunday the 31st of August and will be running every Sunday from 10:30am to 12:00pm. All players between the ages of 8 and 13 are welcome to come down and take part.
ATTENTION ALL IRISH CLUB P.R.O.s - FEEL FREE TO SEND ON ANY PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL FOR DISPLAY ON HARPIN ON RUGBY
Irish Rugby’s Cian Healy has proven his lip syncing skills with an epic performance of Bonnie Tyler’s Total Eclipse of the Heart in response to a challenge set by Electric Ireland in a bid to win tickets for the Irish Women’s Rugby Team. The Instagram video went live last night as part of Electric Ireland’s #powerballads ticket giveaway and an extended version has been released this morning.
Bonnie Tyler will appear at the Electric Ireland Power House on Saturday August 30th at 7pm.
Full details at powerballads.ie and by following #powerballads on twitter.
"He will help out in a coaching sense and others in midfield." - Matt O'ConnorDeclan Whooley - Irish Independent
A total of 11 players are in line to make their senior debuts in the red of Munster
"I suppose the biggest change is that...I head straight upstairs and open up my computer...as opposed to going into the dressing room"
Gerry Thornley - Irish Times
If President Obama can give off-the-cuff answers to questions on the Middle East, why can’t chief executive Lewis do the same?
Peter Jackson - The Rugby Paper
why didn’t Keven Mealamu get a shout out?
Conor Neville - Balls.ie
Thursday, August 21, 2014
The blog started exactly six years ago today on August 21, 2008, with a very, very boring post; we simply copy/pasted the RTÉ report of Leinster’s pre-season win at Padova.
Luckily by the next fixture we had plucked up the courage to write our own opinions and, well, we all know how that 2008/09 season ended - Heineken Cup for Leinster and Grand Slam for Ireland, lubbly jubbly.
Since then we have gone beyond our original remit of offering a Monday morning opinion of the weekend’s Leinster/Ireland match…going into social media, writing parody songs, running competitions, hosting guest bloggers, taking photos that go viral, getting on the telly, and just yesterday, even having the privilege of being at the mercy of commenters on The Journal/The Score!!!
Of course, to be fair, a few things have gone wrong for us over the years, but we’re not going to post links to those because, well, that would be silly.
We plan to bring you more of the same coverage for the 2014/15 campaign, with a few additions…
- Our new “Front 5” feature where we start your day with 5 links & quotes from the ruggersphere has proven very popular so far
- Having been fully won over to women’s rugby by #WRWC2014 we’ll bring you coverage this season of the Women’s AIL, interprovincials and Six Nations.
- Plans are in place for a podcast; some logistics to work out before we can launch but hopefully it will be up and running in time for the Rugby Champions Cup.
All this plus more features to be announced soon.
We hope you’ll continue to let us harp on at you for the foreseeable future. Many thanks for all your support up to now. JLP
"we would be very interested in having a conversation with him and we will be having that hopefully in the next few weeks.” - Matt O'ConnorDaniel Pitcher - BreakingNews.ie
"you have to be playing to a certain high standard to be in the shake-up and I haven’t probably been at that for the last year"
Declan Rooney - Irish Independent
"He represents the values of the club very well. He’s an unbelievable professional and that rubs off on the group." - Matt O'Connor
"New Zealand were again guilty of marginal tactics under pressure ... are the referees finally beginning to understand what needs to be done to eliminate this" - Jonathan Kaplan
Duncan Johnstone - Rugby Heaven
"the health and wellbeing of my family is paramount and the move to Japan is something I have to do for them. I now must put my own interests in the World Cup aside.”
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
"the start of last season I played 14 games in a row straight after a Lions tour so it wasn’t ideal for me"John Fallon - Irish Independent
With four of his leading hookers out of action, Foley has called up Kevin O’Byrne from UL Bohs and Gerry Slattery from Young Munster.
Declan Rooney - Irish Times
“At this stage in my career I want a new environment and to really push myself."
Simon Thomas - Wales Online
Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has admitted to channelling some of his expenditure on players through separate companies
Murray Kinsella - TheScore.ie
"Rather than blame regionalisation or unprofessionalism/bad marketing on behalf of the regions for lack of fans travelling to games they blame the quality of opposition in the pro 12."
John Grainger - BluesTalk TV
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
for regular coverage of the grassroots game throughout the season, you simply must bookmark Knockon.ie. Click the screengrab to visit
“Ha! I knew it! The girls are barely home from Paris and already he’s forgotten about them! Typical!” said nobody. I hope. ;-)
Seriously though on that note, while HarpinOnRugby returns to normal in a couple of weeks as the senior men’s season gets into full swing, we have vowed to change what we consider to be “normal” in that over the coming season we will cover the Irish women’s AIL, Interprovincials and Six Nations to the best of our ability. Hopefully other sites will follow suit.
But I do have a concern…for although the men’s game commands the majority of the public’s attention, this can not be said for the men playing at AIL level and below.
As we push to ensure that the women’s game flourishes on the back of the success over the past couple of weeks, let us also add that there are amateur clubs all over the country catering to men, women and children playing the wonderful game.
Their needs for players, administrators, volunteers and of course funding will not have changed, and we must never forget this fact.
I have harped on for ages here about ways the club game can be restructured to make the game more appealing…
- Redesign the AIL to ensure at least 2 clubs from each province are always in the top tier
- Bring back the Top 4 playoffs to decide the champions, ensuring the club game national attention at least once per year
- Consider the draft system used in Scottish rugby whereby grassroots clubs take turns handpicking professionals to represent them for a season and get involved in promotional events & coaching sessions throughout the season.
- Improve the exposure of the AIL with a dedicated website.
But these are just ideas, and ones that certainly won’t happen this season if at all. Plus, they are obviously just aimed at the clubs at the top end of the system; no doubt there are many more which would involve all clubs regardless of level.
For now, if we can all just vow to do more for club rugby this season than we did last, the game will definitely benefit. JLP
Briggs...starts at full back for the dream team and she’s joined in the XV by Gillian Bourke at hooker and Marie Louise Reilly in the second row.Steven O'Rourke - TheScore.ie
"It's time for the IRFU to put their money where their mouth is," declares retired international Rosie Foley
David Kelly - Independent
The matches are likely to be played in late August and early September 2015 on a home and away basis.
the absence of a president to replace Jean-Pierre Lux is but one of many problems facing the fledgling EPCR
Gerry Thornley - Irish Times
it surely can no longer be argued that the structure of the WRU is suitable for professional rugby.
Monday, August 18, 2014
I have said countless times on social media how proud I am of the Irish squad and their progress throughout the tournament…and it’s important that we judge their achievements over the 2+ weeks as a whole and not the last couple of results.
Besides…though the girls* have said on many occasions since the semifinal that they feel they have let fans down, we all know they have done nothing of the sort. Beat New Zealand and only fall short against the hosts and eventual champions? Given we could barely get our senior national team to the south of France a couple of years ago, I reckon they have done more than enough to show they belong at the top.
Plus, we must not lose sight of the fact that these games signalled the end of the road for key figures in the Irish set up - many have deservedly become household names in recent weeks and certainly those who succeed them will have massive boots to fill.
But for those attempting to fill those boots, I reckon the game needs to be brought forward sooner rather than later, and a good start could be the creation of a women’s version of the Heineken/Rugby Champions Cup, and if this were to be done in time for the 2015/16 season we’d need to start talking about it now.
Now just so we’re clear, I still don’t think I’ve suddenly become an expert on the topic; I’m merely offering an opinion and I hope it shows that I want the sport to progress between now and the next Women’s World Cup, which is only 3 years away don’t forget, and could well be here in Ireland the way things are shaping up.
Philip Doyle, who’s second spell in charge of the squad has come to an end, reckons there should be November women’s internationals. I agree there should be top level women’s rugby in and around that time, but I think a provincial European competition would suit the game more. And it doesn’t have to mimic the men’s version in format, or at least not as it stands now.
The very first version of the Heineken Cup back in 1995/96 had just 12 teams, and I believe this could be an ideal way to introduce a women’s competition. Just for starters I’d say have 3 teams each from England & France, 2 each from Ireland & Wales, and 1 each from Scotland & Italy. Three pools of four producing 4 semifinalists.
Such a tournament would provide test coaches not only with a platform where their elite squad members can get top level competition ahead of the Six Nations, but they can give fringe players a run as well. And given the success of WRWC2014, I’d be reasonably confident the international component could attract interest in the form of TV coverage and sponsorship.
Yes, I know if Ireland have only 2 representatives then 2 provinces will miss out, but on the plus side our Interpro competition can have a bit of edge as well with qualification at stake. (What about test players from the 2 provinces who don’t make it, you may say? Maybe the qualifiers can draft in a few extra players to their squads. Or perhaps a junior competition like the Amlin. But something could be done, I’m sure.)
By the way…I know how important the 7s game is to women’s rugby and no doubt that calendar would need to be altered to facilitate a new competition, but in my view, it would be worth it. Besides…this format would just take five weekends and thus not be too taxing on schedules.
Anyway…that’s my idea. Much more qualified minds than mine will no doubt come up with something better, but whatever happens we need to see decisions to be made quickly while the hype is still strong.
If hay isn’t made now while the sun is shining on women’s rugby, it will be in danger of being plunged back into darkness as the men’s season returns in just a couple of weeks - in fact, over in France where #WRWC2014 was happening, the men’s Top14 had the cheek to kickoff over finals weekend.
Sadly having tried to move heaven and earth on my schedule I cannot make it to Dublin Airport for 4:30pm this afternoon to give the girls their much-deserved welcome home. To say it’s an awkward time is a major understatement, but hopefully they will get the sizeable turnout they deserve.
Maybe if the momentum generated by their heroics in France can be built upon, then by the time the next World Cup comes around, the women’s game will have enough prestige to ensure things like kick-off times and homecomings can be more schedule-friendly for a greater proportion of the fan base.
And we must all of course do everything we can to help make this happen. The legacies of the distinguished test careers of Fiona Coghlan and Lynne Cantwell demand it. JLP
* = Apologies to those who object to my referring to the squad members as “girls”. It is not meant as disrespect nor to be patronising. At the RDS we shout Come On You Boys In Blue for Leinster men and nobody seems to mind. The context here is the same. #COYGIG
After 13 years and 85 caps, she retires the most successful captain in the history of Irish rugby.Gavin Cummiskey - Irish Times
Harvey is the first Canadian to win the prestigious award and reflects the growth of women’s rugby in recent years
These are the women who should be idolised by young girls today, not the reality TV stars who wouldn’t want to risk breaking a nail at the breakdown.Sarah Mockford - Rugby World
"This tournament has made everyone realise that women’s XVs is one hell of a game and the standard has been incredible." - England coach Gary StreetSteve James - Telegraph
"I went out on a limb and went to be involved with Wales without a club. I ended get up injured and was still left without a club."
Gary Williams - Oval Zone Rugby (via Planet Rugby)
Sunday, August 17, 2014
It would be lovely if the achievements of our sportswomen could be discussed for what they are rather than having to wade through all this drivel every time one or more does something outstanding.Mary Hannigan - Irish Times
“Nobody has to worry if this or that is done, we all have confidence in each other.” A neat snapshot of this Ireland set-up.
Murray Kinsella - TheScore.ie
two late penalties from Irish international fly-half Jonathan Sexton helped Racing-Metro to a 19-16 win at Montpellier
Pirate Irwin - Yahoo News
"how do we feel about not winning the game? Gutted - because we came here to win." Steve Hansen
Scrum.com (via AAP)
the unconfined joy and complete disregard of safety that resulted is rather wonderful.
Paul O'Hara - Balls.ie
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- Front Five - 28.08.14
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- Irish Independent announced as official newspaper ...
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- Saints v Leinster preview
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- Cian Healy Powers Vocal Chords for Electric Irelan...
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- Itching for our 7th Year
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- Old Belvedere Ladies Rugby Open Night
- Let The Grassroots Grow
- Front Five - 19.08.14
- Blackrock College Ladies RFC - give it a try
- Time for a Women’s Heineken Cup?
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