Saturday, October 31, 2015

Front Five - 31.10.15

Start your day with five eye-catching egg-chasing quotes & links from around the ruggersphere.
 
 
Here’s to a thrilling RWC final
My head says All Blacks by 9
My heart says Wallabies by anything above zero
 
IMG_1598
 

He is the epitome of the humble guy who doesn't put a foot wrong. 'Dan Carter makes outrageous statement' is a headline you'll never see.

 

Carter is the best ever

 
Paul Lewis - NZ Herald


The northern hemisphere view of rugby is that it is a set piece, penalty obsessed game involving complicated laws that must be policed by officious referees and TMOs. World Rugby, dominated by northern hemisphere powers, tends to force referees to officiate accordingly.

 

Rugby World Cup final will come down to Richie McCaw v David Pocock

 
Spiro Zavos - Sydney Morning Herald


…the home team’s recent Australian recruit, Mark Chisholm, jumped highest, claimed the ball and a few minutes later they were celebrating a 32-28 victory after a marvellous game that sent the 7,200 strong crowd home in very happy frame of mind.

 

Munster hang on in nine-try thriller

 
Charlie Mulqueen - Irish Examiner


The professional element of Welsh rugby is flawed – fundamentally so, the semi-professional game needs to find its own unique selling point to re-attract a market that is in decline and the amateur game is facing a participation crisis never before experienced in Wales.

 
Ben Jeffreys (CEO of Pontypool RFC) - Gwlad Rugby

...to navigate down such a narrow channel Jesse Kriel and Bryan Habana’s passes had to be super slick.
 

The handling skills for the Springboks’ second try were worthy of a much bigger game 

 
Sean Farrell - The42.ie

Feel free to share any interesting links you spot yourself about t’internet by email, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, blog comment or carrier pigeon – whatever works for you. JLP
Note - views expressed in "Front Five" links do not necessarily reflect those of HarpinOnRugby

Friday, October 30, 2015

Preview : Treviso v Leinster

tre v lein ta

logo post blueOf course the focus of the rugby world is on Twickenham this weekend and that is exactly as it should be, but such is the cluttered nature of the European rugby calendar that as provincial supporters we also have matches to follow, and this particular Pro12 series has plenty to capture our interest.

This evening at Thomond Park we have the season’s first interprovincial as Munster host Ulster in what for me anyway is a battle far more worthy of my attention than the “bronze final” for which I can see absolutely no point whatsoever.

But this is meant to be a Leinster preview so let’s harp on that shall we.

This latest Leo Cullen matchday 23 catches the eye mostly because of the amount of RWC returnees - of course putting aside the Cardiff disappointment once and for all, it is great to see them all back in blue, particularly Mr J Sexton.  But at the risk of being a killjoy I feel the need to point out that there is very little time for drawn-out welcomes for these lads - Europe kicks off in a couple of weeks and we don’t need reminding who is in our pool.

Over the first five rounds of this season’s Pro 12 we have seen the team do very well for the most part and while we’re in 6th place on the table we find ourselves just 2pts off the top 4 and 6 off of 1st so we’re well placed.

And we have certainly seen plenty of evidence during that 400 minutes of rugby that we’re tightening things up on defence, adventurous enough on offence and relatively ok with our set-pieces.  So now it’s a question of how we manage to both fold the elite talent back into the squad, reward those who have done well up to now, and maintain the upward curve of our overall performances.

Naturally Sexton will be a key element to our progress and it was good to see him receive an element of official seniority today as along with Jamie Heaslip he was named club vice captain.  Isa as squad skipper makes as perfect sense due to his experience plus the fact he will be at the province throughout the season.  But affording Sexton a title also works as his on-pitch style pretty much speaks of leadership anyway.

But in actual fact the most interesting name on the team-sheet for me is that of Luke Fitzgerald at 12.  That is most definitely a role Luke can play, though with the success Noel Reid has had with Ben Te’o I might have thought having Ian Madigan slot in would be more a more seamless transition - it will be interesting to see how this centre pairing gets on.

The pack bears little or no resemblance to that we have seen in recent weeks but there is certainly an abundance of talent.  Hayden Triggs makes his debut and we really need him to hit the ground running for us.  Ross Molony and Tadhg Beirne have done well for the senior squad but when it comes to European time we’ll need every bit of Triggs’ Super Rugby experience even if it is to be off the bench.

In the front row we bizarrely get to fully name starters AND (as Michael Cheika calls them) finishers from the same World Cup squad.  So it’s not as though they haven’t been used to working together for the past few months!

When it comes to the back row I personally thought they could have added a third name to the list of vice captains, namely Rhys Ruddock.  It just struck me that having made the announcement of the senior players, for our very first match we have none of them in the pack. 

Now don’t get me wrong there’s plenty of experience and seniority in our forwards and I have no doubt a pack leader will be named on the day, this is just me being a stickler.  Rhys, Jordi and Jack should do a fine job coping with the likes of Zanni on Sunday and they have an in-form Josh VDF off the bench if required.

On the subject of Treviso, well - they are rock bottom of the league with a big duck egg in the W column but every Leinster fan knows they can put in a performance against us and the fact they have 4 losing bonus points from their 5 matches shows they’re not far off their first win.  Plus, we have experience of them being on song when we come to town, as last season’s 24-24 draw demonstrated.

But this is a different Leinster team, under a different regime, and hopefully heading in a different direction to that which arrived at the Stadio di Monigo last year.  The bookies have us 9-point winners - I’m going a bit more conservative thinking the Italians will snag another losing bonus so I’m going for us by 5-7.  That plus more evidence that the style of play is being maintained would make me a happy enough camper this weekend.  JLP

#COYBIB #WelcomeBackJohnny #IsasArmy

 

TREVISO : 15 Jayden Hayward 14 Ludovico Nitoglia 13 Andrea Pratichetti 12 Sam Christie 11 Simone Ragusi 10 Luke McLean 9 Edoardo Gori

1 Matteo Zanusso 2 Davide Giazzon 3 Rupert Harden 4 Marco Fuser 5 Teofilo Paulo 6 Francesco Minto 7 Alessandro Zanni ( C ) 8 Abraham Steyn

Bench: 16 Luca Bigi 17 Alberto De Marchi 18 Simone Ferrari 19 Jeff Montauriol 20 Robert Barbieri 21 Chris Smylie 22 James Ambrosini 23 Tommaso Iannone

 

Guinness Pro12 2015/16 Round 6

At Stadio Monigo, 4pm local time (3pm Ireland & UK) Live on RAI Sport/Sky Sports

Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU, 5th competition game)

Assistant Referees: Giuseppe Vivarini, Gregorio Piran (both FIR)

Citing Commissioner: Francesco Grillo (FIR)

TMO: Stefano Roscini (FIR)

Springboks and Pumas Battle For Bronze


by Ciarán Duffy

Ciaran Duffy logo

A Chance To Go Home With A Win

Before we get to the titanic collision tomorrow, there’s one more game to get through.  The Bronze final offers up a chance for the losing semi-finalists to go home with a win. 

South Africa started off their World Cup by suffering the biggest shock in rugby history, before regrouping to comfortably win their remaining games and top the pool.  They had the composure to see off Wales with a late try from captain Fourie du Preez, having been behind a few time throughout the game.  In the semi-finals they looked as if they had countered the All Blacks but failed to create any try-scoring chances and lost by two points. 

Argentina also started their campaign off with a defeat, although they looked strong in a loss against the All Blacks.  The Pumas comfortably overcame potential stumbling blocks in Georgia and Tonga before running in 9 tries against Namibia.  In the quarterfinals, they came out of the gate quickly against Ireland and built a lead that was too much for the boys in green.  In the semi-finals, they were unable to continue their momentum and went out to the brick wall defence of the Wallabies. 

South Africa and Argentina were both second best in their semi-finals.  South Africa were content to let the All Blacks have the ball, getting to the breakdown quickly to prevent them getting it out wide.  But they were relying on penalties to get scores and in the second-half when New Zealand improved their discipline the Springboks had no plan B.  Argentina tried to run the ball out of their own half too many times and paid the price.  They needed to play for territory but instead played rugby in front of their line, the Wallabies got three first-half tries to punish this.  Both teams failed to adjust when they went behind and now they are in the third place playoff. 

Argentina claimed their first ever win over South Africa in August, beating them 37-25 in the Rugby Championship.  The following week South Africa would get the win, coming out on top 26-12 in their only warm-up match.  The sides have met once in a World Cup, the 2007 quarterfinal, with South Africa winning by a comfortable score line of 37-12 on their way to their World Cup triumph.  Both sides have won their only previous bronze final, South Africa beat New Zealand in 1999, Argentina beat France in 2007. 

South Africa have the edge on the team sheet.  Last week Juan Imhoff went off early with an injury, Juan Martin Hernandez and Agustin Creevy followed him later in the game.  Imhoff provided a serious threat out wide, his absence will limit their attacking options.  To compound onto the loss of Juan Martin Hernandez, Marcelo Bosch has also been ruled out for the clash, which means Argentina will be without their two starting centres.  Captain Creevy’s injury means they are without a key leader.  To further deplete the front row Marcos Ayerza, having been included in the team originally will no longer be able to take part. 

Coming up against a physical South Africa side, missing two key front row players will severely diminish Argentina’s strength in the scrum.  Juan Figallo is an able replacement, he is up against a less experienced Frans Matherbe.  Figallo will need to put serious pressure on the 24-year old.  With Imhoff out Santiago Cordero becomes key to the Pumas attack.  He caused the Wallabies problems last week with his quick feet.  Matias Moroni has had a strong tournament and will offer another option going forward.  But Argentina can’t be trying to run the ball out of their own half again.  The Springboks were effective at the breakdown last week and have the quality to punish Argentina this week.  Speaking off the breakdown, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe will be, as he usually is, key. 

As for South Africa, they need to create a whole lot more than they did last week.  It feels like months since Habana levelled Lomu’s record and he will be starving to break it.  They need to quicken their pace, and the likes of Habana and JP Pietersen can help them do that.  If the Springboks allow Argentina to have the ball like they did New Zealand, they will once again be broken down. 

Victor Matfield captains South Africa on his final appearance, partnering Eben Etzebeth to give South Africa an advantage in the lineout.  This game could well come down to the accuracy of the kickers, Handre Pollard was on fine form last week, but Nicolas Sanchez, captaining the Pumas, has been on fine form all tournament, he will be crucial as well.  Ruan Pienaar is back in the fold, with Rudy Paige making the bench for the Springboks.  South Africa edge it on impact subs, Adriaan Strauss and Jannie du Plessis provide a physical ball carrying threat. 

This game will be won by which team wants it more, the disappointment of losing a semi-final is hard to bounce back from, so it will be whether or not one side sees this game as an opportunity to finish on a high, or as a nuisance. 

Could well be looking at extra-time, but South Africa to come away as winners for me, with Argentina, having had a day less to prepare, missing too many players through injury.  

Ciarán Duffy (@VoiceQuakeDuffy) is a Leinster supporter who would watch any game of rugby while undoubtedly taking it too seriously.  He enjoys over analysing and taking a pessimistic look at the bright side while talking about Irish, European, and World Rugby issues on and off the field. 

*****
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Front Five - 30.10.15

Start your day with five eye-catching egg-chasing quotes & links from around the ruggersphere.
 
Very much looking forward to the big clash tonight
between two great rugby teams who are used
to playing each other more than once each year…
 
…and after I watch Munster play Ulster I suppose
I can force myself to sit through the utterly meaningless
so-called “Bronze final”.
 
Imagine how the provinces playing at Thomond
will feel if either Pienaar or Amorosino get injured?
 
IMG_1598
 

...there have to be structures put in place that in times of need the provinces will be able to rely on each other for assistance.

 

Are you there, David?

 
Colm O'Donoghue - odonogc2


"Children have been using the goggles in different countries and I have played 25 top class games (for Barbarians, Viadana, Zebre) and all have resulted in zero injuries worldwide. Their excuse for me? Ridiculous."

 

Ian McKinley: Overcoming obstacles

 
Benedict Chanakira - Talking Rugby Union


As much as we all wish Ireland were involved on Saturday in Twickenham, the thought of seeing the number one and number two teams on this planet go head-to-head in a World Cup final for the first time in history is exciting.

 

BOD and D’Arcy had it, All Blacks Nonu and Smith have it too

 
Lynne Cantwell - The42.ie


Gopperth has been so impressed by the 22-year-old schemer that he is tipping him to challenge George Ford and Owen Farrell for the England jersey.

 
Neale Harvey - The Rugby Paper

Moore, 32, was born in Saudi Arabia to Irish parents but spent five years of his childhood living in Galway
 

Aussie rugby skipper’s Galway links 

 
Dara Bradley - Connacht Tribune

Feel free to share any interesting links you spot yourself about t’internet by email, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, blog comment or carrier pigeon – whatever works for you. JLP
Note - views expressed in "Front Five" links do not necessarily reflect those of HarpinOnRugby

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Rugby on TV : Oct 29 - Nov 5

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DateTimeShowCompetitionChannel
Thu Oct 294:30pmHIGHLIGHTSPRO 12SETANTA IRELAND
8:00pmRUGBY TONIGHT EXTRARUGBY CHAT SHOWBT SPORT 1
Fri Oct 301:30pmSHARKS V RAIDERS (REPEAT)NRL 2015SETANTA 1
3:30pmDRAGONS V STORM (REPEAT)NRL 2015SETANTA 1
5:30pmMUNSTER V ULSTERPRO 12TG4/BBC2NI
5:55pmSCARLETS V DRAGONSPRO 12BBC2 WALES
7:00pmSOUTH AFRICA V ARGENTINARWC BRONZE FINALTV3
10:30pmJONATHANRUGBY CHAT SHOWS4C
Sat Oct 311:20pmMONTPELLIER V TOULOUSETOP 14SKY SPORTS 5
2:30pmRUGBY'S WHEELCHAIR CHALLENGEDOCUMENTARYTV3
3:00pmNEW ZEALAND V AUSTRALIARUGBY WORLD CUP FINALTV3
10:25pmHIGHLIGHTSRUGBY WORLD CUP FINALTV3
Sun Nov 112:00pmNEWCASTLE FALCONS V EXETER CHIEFSPREMIERSHIPBT SPORT 1
2:15pmGLASGOW V OSPREYSPRO 12S4C
2:45pmBENETTON TREVISO V LEINSTERPRO 12SKY SPORTS 3
3:00pmLEICESTER TIGERS V WASPSPREMIERSHIPBT SPORT 1
3:15pmGRENOBLE V TOULONTOP 14SKY SPORTS RED BUTTON
4:45pmENGLAND V NEW ZEALANDRUGBY LEAGUE INTLBBC2 NI
6:00pmHIGHLIGHTSPRO 12TG4
7:00pmSCRUM VBBC 2 WALES
11:00pmRWC : HOW IT WAS WONTV3
Mon Nov 26:00pmHIGHLIGHTSTOP 14SKY SPORTS 4
7:00pmWORLD RUGBY AWARDSSKY SPORTS 2
7:30pmSCARLETS V DRAGONS (REPEAT)PRO 12SETANTA IRELAND
9:30pmBENETTON TREVISO V LEINSTER (REPEAT)PRO 12SETANTA IRELAND
11:30pmHIGHLIGHTSPREMIERSHIPSETANTA IRELAND
Tue Nov 36:00pmHIGHLIGHTSPRO 12SETANTA IRELAND
10:30pmRUGBY TONIGHTRUGBY CHAT SHOWBT SPORT 1
Wed Nov 41:00pmPANTHERS V TITANS (REPEAT)NRL 2015SETANTA 1
3:00pmSEA EAGLES V STORM (REPEAT)NRL 2015SETANTA 1
Thu Nov 53:00pmRABBITOHS V ROOSTERS (REPEAT)NRL 2015SETANTA 1
10:00pmTHE WORLD RUGBY SHOWSKY SPORTS 2

Times generally refer to beginning of broadcast not kickoff
Check local listings for repeat showings
Feel free to let us know if something is missing! paganoblog@gmail.com

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