Friday, August 21, 2015

What Leinster & Ireland rugby were like when we first harped on them in 2008

logo post greenThe "new season hype" train has long since left the station and stuff is happening thick and fast so there's not a whole lot of time to celebrate, but given it's 7 years to the day since we put up our first post (albeit a writeup copy/pasted from the RTE website of course we'd never dream of doing that now!!!) we thought we'd have a quick look at how different the Leinster & Ireland rugby landscapes were back then.
  • An unknown (to us anyway) “utility back” signed from the Auckland Blues was making his debut for Leinster called Isa Nacewa
  • Michael Cheika was Leinster coach
  • Leinster played their first pre-season friendly in Padova fielding an “inexperienced side” : Isa Nacewa; Gary Brown, Eoin O'Malley, Fergus McFadden, Simon Keogh; Jonathan Sexton, Chris Keane; Cian Healy, Brian Blaney, Stephen Knoop; Trevor Hogan, Cameron Jowitt; Kevin McLaughlin, Seán O'Brien, Stephen Keogh. Replacements: Ronan McCormack, John Fogarty, Stanley Wright, Devin Toner, Luke Fitzgerald, Girvan Dempsey, Kyle Tonetti, Paul O'Donohoe.
  • The Guinness Pro12 was known as the Magners League - Leinster had just won it for the second time
  • We thought “Mr Rugger Blogger” was a clever name for our new site
  • There were only 10 clubs in the Magners League, no Italians
  • Even the most hardcore Irish rugby fans would probably have struggled to name anyone on the Irish women's team
  • Declan Kidney had yet to be in charge of a full Ireland test match
  • Luke McGrath, Leinster’s starting scrum half tonight in Belfast, was 15.
  • Only a handful of people involved with Irish rugby, mostly around the Mullingar area, had heard of Joe Schmidt
  • Leinster had zero Heineken Cup titles and the "sleeping giant" title was being bandied about freely
  • The gagillion-year wait for another Irish Grand Slam was still on-going
  • “Touch, pause, engage” was said before scrums
  • You could pass the ball back into your own 22 and clear to touch on the full without having the play called back
  • Gavin Henson had only been with three senior clubs, all of them Welsh [neither Leinster nor Ireland rugby I know, but we’ve been known to offer the odd bit of “banter” about his career over the years]
  • The World Sevens Series was already well established but it was nowhere on Ireland's radar
  • You’d be laughed from here to next week if you suggested that Ireland could ever be considered World Cup contenders
  • Munster had won not one but TWO Heineken Cups  - oh, wait, that one hasn’t changed... (aw, come on, it’s our birthday, surely we can have a BIT of fun???)
I'm sure we could have come up with a lot more, in fact we may well add more as we think of them.
But anywho...most of all we'd like to thank everyone who has engaged with us over the years, and we ain't done harpin' quite yet.
Roll on RWC.  JLP


Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019