Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Women's Six Nations Week 3 review by Ciarán Duffy

Ireland 35 – 12 Wales

Before kick-off there was a late change to the Ireland team, Nichola Friday was ruled out through illness, she was replaced by Aoife McDermot who got her first cap, Elaine Anthony made the bench.  The scoring started in the 16th minute when Leah Lyons got over the line off the back of a maul, Briggs conerted.  With the clock in red Ireland got their second, Naoupu made a break giving it to Fitzhenry, the move was finished off by Claire Molloy, Briggs converted.  

Wales started the second half well with tries from Evans, and Harries, the first of which was converted by Snowsill.  Ireland fell asleep for the second and Peat was sinbinned for a high tackle.  Ireland got back on track with a try from Naoupu, Briggs converted.  Ireland got two more tries late on through Tyrrell and Molloy, both were converted by Molloy.  Claire Molloy was woman of the match, with Leah Lyons, Ciara Griffin, and Sene Naoupu also impressing.  

Scotland 8 – 43 England

England maintained their perfect start to the tournament with a win over Scotland.  Waterman and Bern touched down early on, both tries were converted by Mclean.  Scotland got on the board with a penalty from Law, then a try from Konkel.  England got two more tries in the first half, the first from Pearce, converted by McLean, the second scored by Kildunne.  

In the seond half Pearce touched down, then Tuima got over with McLean adding the conversion.  Finally Waterman got her second of the day.  

France 57 – 0 Italy

France kept Italy scoreless as they continue their streak of taking maximum points from all there games so far.  Banet got over twice early on with Trmouliere converting both tries.  Tremouliere then kicked a penalty before converting her own try.  Menager and Sochat got over late on in the half, again with Tremouliere converting.

In the second half Rivoalen got over, Tremouliere converted.  Menager touched down, before Bourdon got over the line with the clock in red, Tremouliere added the extras.  


PD +/-
Ciarán Duffy (@TheVoiceDepth) is a Leinster supporter and self-proclaimed ‘big cheese’ of Post To Post (@PostToPostSport).   He’ll write about anything rugby under the condition he gets to take it too seriously.
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Front Five - 28.02.18

Start your day with five eye-catching egg-chasing quotes & links from around the ruggersphere.

Hope Dublin's #snowpocalypse2018
hasn't affected you too badly
by all accounts the weekend's Scarlets v Leinster
match is put more in jeopardy by
our ability to get there than it
is by the local weather now in a race to be fit for Munster's Champions Cup quarter-final against Toulon and will play no further part in the Six Nations

Ruaidhri O'Connor - Irish Independent

“I think Ed was captain for the ‘A’ game and the ref kept looking at me. It took a bit of time to realise that we were twins.”

Brendan O'Brien - Irish Examiner

...we take a look back at Ireland’s 6 Nations win over Wales in the Aviva Stadium, Leinster’s victory over the Southern Kings

Blues Talk TV

He has already been acting as national coach, travelling to Europe and watching future opponents England beat Wales in a Six Nations match in London. [via AFP]

"Mistakes happen so no worries at all on my behalf BBC it actually made me smile."

Maurice Brosnan -

Feel free to share any interesting links you spot yourself about t’internet by email, Twitter, Facebook, blog comment or carrier pigeon – whatever works for you. JLP

Note - views expressed in "Front Five" links do not necessarily reflect those of HarpinOnRugby

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Six Nations Team of Round Three by Mark Jackson

Joe Schmidt reveals who decided Conor Murray would kick Ireland's final penalty

Breakdown is king. The dominance on the floor influenced the two big games in Dublin and Edinburgh. This weeks selection features players only from the victorious sides. 

15. Hugo Bonneval (FRA) Probably only in the side due to squad mates indescretions in Edinburgh but he took advantage with a strong attacking game in Marseille.

14. Keith Earls (IRE) Huge relief his injury is not too serious, consistency now taking his game to new heights as he enters his 30s.

13. Huw Jones (SCO) Cracking game from the Scottish 13..defended well but his timing and angle of runs was world class. Basteraud had a strong outing in the south of France too.

12. Chris Farrell (IRE) Shifts to 12 jersey for this selection , a deserved MOTM award at the Aviva  , rock solid in defence and made yards consistently ball in hand.

11. Jacob Stockdale (IRE) Just edges Steff Evans and Sean Maitland, still needs a fair bit of work on the defensive side of the ball but his try scroing record hard to ignore.

10. Finn Russell (SCO) Sexton had a great game (apart from goal kicking) but Russell's control and manipulation of the England midfield was sublime at times.

9. Conor Murray (IRE) You could hear the groans from the stadium (and further afield )when he went down seemingly injured and the relief was just as deafening when he arose. The best there is at the moment so crucial to Ireland's slam ambitions.

8. CJ Stander (IRE) Does the dirty hard yards that get Ireland's possession game on front but effective.

7. Hamish Watson (SCO) Carried hard..great support but his turnovers and breakdown work see him take the openside slot. Dan Leavy just misses out.

6. John Barclay (SCO) A different player to the one we saw in the Cardiff debacle. Alongsode Watson controlled the game at ruck time frustrating England  and winning crucial turnovers. Negri for Italy also impressed in defeat on the blindside.

5. Jonny Gray (SCO) This is what should be expected from this talented player week in week out. Great out of touch and carried effectively all game alongside great tackling.

4. James Ryan (IRE) The skies the limit with the Leinsterman. POC Version 2.0 .Belying his youth and callowness with a controlled aggressive performance. Scary when he fills his frame a bit more.

3. Andrew Porter (IRE) Carries well tackles hards but not to the determent of his scrummagging...hard to believe he has started so few games at the most technical position on the pitch. As targeted at times and stood up well.

2. Stuart McInally (SCO) His tight play keeps improving , much better throwing at lineout time , he edges Rory Best for his excellent ball carrying.

1. Cian Healy (IRE) All around much better player in the past 12 months discipline much improved and explosiveness is back to top class levels.

Mark Jackson (@markusjacksonus) An Irishman in London....lover of rugby, NFL and family n friends not always in that order..consumer of meat, best friend to Wayne Barnes . All views my own and always open for a lively debate . Ireland, Leinster and the New York Giants fanatic.


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Keego on...Ireland v Wales

Check out Keego's new podcast
After a weekend that really couldn’t have gone better for Irish rugby, we should be celebrating in offices around the country (and any ex-pats abroad), instead it appears that the media and the social media experts are slowing turning on the Irish rugby team. Instead of looking at a 10 point win against a dangerous side AND Scotland channelling a non-racist Mel Gibson to beat the old enemy, people are complaining about the scoreboard. It really is getting tiring. Nearly everything I have read or head since Saturday has the opening of positivity and then the journalist/pundit licks their lips and goes into a monologue of negativity. So let’s separate the truth from the obvious attempt at a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Firstly let’s have our regular post-match stats watch. (Ire/Wal)
Tries – 5/3
Possession – 69%/31%
Metres Run – 454/257
Tackles Made – 87% (77 of 89) – 92% (208 of 225)
Penalties Conceded – 4/9
Territory – 75%/25%
Passes – 183/120
So that is the summary of the game, we can talk about players in a sec. But just look at the stats first off. Against a tough Welsh side who were bringing back key players, leaders and go to play makers in Biggar and Halfpenny. Coming in, most with a brain thought this would be a very tough game. Wales have a game plan of bash wide bash wide or wide wide. It is wide-on rugby. Usually great to watch (especially as a neutral), a lot of movement, trust and skill. Ireland where coming in after 2 wins but a defensive structure that appeared to be still finding its feet. Maybe it was too complicated maybe communication wasn’t where it should be on the field but either way there where issues.
Ireland also came in with Henderson and the almighty Furlong missing. Another issue the media clung to hoping for them to be right. In fact, while the lads where obviously missed as they would be in any team, Porter and Ryan stepped in with confidence and an ability very close to the injured players,. Both in their early 20’s both massive futures in green. Porter making runs and not missing any tackles all day. Ryan making runs and only 1 missed tackle on his record. Leavy also stepped into the backrow making 12 tackles and showing himself to be ready to start anytime. Hugely important for the team. And the first pre match myth of frailty shot down by the team.
Now let’s look at some of the other players singled out. Stockdale being the first. Him shooting up to make a tackle cost Ireland a score. It appears that he has been given the option of shooting up if he sees it. Not a bad idea. The welsh try (Shingler I think), wasn’t a mistake for Ireland it was a win for wales with some great feet from Wales. BUT, if the return on Stockdale every week is 1 miss and 2 tries then I will take that. We have to remember that that mistake won’t be happening regularly. His overall play around the field was immense. The last interception try shows confidence, fitness and belief to call the play as he saw it! This is what Stockdale is being allowed to do in the system. The ratio on the game with his shooting out of the line was 1:1. Let’s not get carried away, a small readjustment and that problem is eradicated.
Back to the team, after going behind, after J10 not having the predators tuned in (but having an absolutely massive game) Ireland showed champion spirit in the championship minutes. Bullying a tough Welsh defence and Aki finishing off the score. 15-13 at half time. Tide is turning.
At 45 minutes (championship minutes) Leavy again finished a bully move to score under the posts. If you watch it back, have a look at Rory Best leading him into the score. Fantastic team work, awareness and trust to get the score. Worth more to the team than the resulting 7 points.
54 minutes and proper church pushed through the entire country of Wales. A bonus point in the bag. Not many saw this coming. The team did!
Wales needed to score next to remain in the game. They went wide and Shingler scored that try. 27-20. the game wasn’t over, but Wales knew they had only one option and that was wide. Murray put the kicking boots on and scored bringing it to 30-20. Ireland really should be home and hosed here. But Wales are no joke; they stuck at it and scored a very nice try at 77 minutes following a cheeky offload. Well worth a watch, it wasn’t a go wide try it was an offload in the tackle try. Classy stuff. 30-27 with 3 minutes to go.
Wales attacking, Ireland staying strong in defence while wales wend wide again. This time Stockdale was watching the play unfold and showed maturity to pick the ball out of the air and score under the posts. A massive score and a massive win!
Once again, Ireland fought to the last second. Worked hard in defence, and Stockdale was able to read the play to intercept for his try.
We need to remember that no game of rugby will go perfectly; there will always be something to work on. There is no such thing as perfection in sport. The issue I have had all week is the self-fulfilling prophecy of the media just to end up being right. If you say something for long enough, you will eventually be found right.
How many times have Ireland put 37 point on Wales? When has the age profile of the squad ever been lower? How many times in history have the team put themselves in position to win a grand slam? And most importantly, how often have the team had belief to bring it home?
Bring on the Scots!
And to close, I have just read that Iron Man Jamie Heaslip has retired from rugby. There is a slight tear in my eye this morning while writing this. He has been an absolute warrior in blue and green. A massive leader on and off the pitch and a role model for anyone coming through into the professional realm. I doubt he will have to reach into his pocket for his wallet in any pub in Ireland ever again, but if he reads this, Jamie, the first 4 pints are on me! Enjoy the couch, the ice cream and the family!

Keego (@nkeegan): Blogger, professional wrestler, sometime attempted rugby player (@TheThirsty3rds), professional procrastinator and attempted musician with a fondness for long walks on the bar, tea and the couch. Opinionated Leinster fan and constant gardener.

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Pro 14 Round 16 review by Ciarán Duffy

Leinster 64 – 7 Southern Kings

Leinster comfortably beat Kings, you can read the full write-up here.  

Scarlets 34 – 10 Ulster

Scarlets came from behind to pick up a bonus point win against Ulster ahead of next weeks top of the table clash against Leinster.  Ulster took the lead 2 minutes in with a Stuart McCloskey try, Cooney converted.  Dan Jones kicked a penalty for Scarlets, Ulster led 3 – 7 at the break.
Early in the second half Ioan Nicholas touched down to put Scarlets in front, Jones converted.  Cooney and Jones exchanged penalties before Scarlets took over.  Ryan Conbeer, Paul Asquith, and Tadhg Beirne all crossed the line, Jones converted each try.  

Munster 21 – 10 Glasgow Warriors

On a day Rob Harley broke the record for most Glasgow appearances Munster got an important win, in Simon Zebos last appearance at Irish Independent Park.  All the scoring in the first half was done by Munster, Tyler Bleyendaal kicked two penalties and converted Niall Scannells try.

In the second half Glasgow got on the board, Hastings kicked a penalty, then converted George Hornes tries.  Munster hit back immediately with a try from James Cronin, Bleyendaal converted.  

Benetton 19 – 22 Connacht

Connacht edged a tight affair despite trailing at halftime.  A try from Tito Tebaldi, converted by Marty Banks, had Benetton 7 – 0 up at halftime.
In the second half Finlay Bealham touched down for Connacht, before Monty Ioane got the home sides second try.  Connacht drew level with a try from Jarrad Butler, converted by Jack Carty.  Benetton went down to 14 when Tommasso Iannone was sent to the bin.  Connacht took advantage, Jack Carty kicked the resulting penalty before converting Eoin Griffins try.  With the clock in red Marco Fuser crossed over to ensure Benetton took a losing bonus point, Marty Banks converted.  

Dragons 12 – 25 Edinburgh

Edinburgh remain 3rd in their conference after an away win at Dragons.  Sam Hidalgo-Clyne kicked an early penalty, twenty minutes later he converted Neil Cochranes try.

In the second half Chris Dean crossed over to extent Edinburghs lead.  Dragons fought back with two tries from Rynard Landman, the first of which was converted by Dorian Jones.  Edinburgh held on and got two more late tries through Duncan Weir and Cameron Fenton.  

Ospreys 27 – 26 Toyota Cheetahs

Ospreys came from behind to inflict Toyota Cheetahs 3rd defeat of the season.  The South Africans took the lead with tries from Torsten van Jaarsweld and Reniel Hugo, Neil Marais converted the second.  Sam Davies kicked a late penalty, Cheetahs led 3 – 12 at halftime.  

The two sides exchanged sides early in the second half, Ashley Beck crossed for Ospreys, Davies converted, before Nico Lee got over for Cheetahs, Niel Marais converted.  Ospreys got another through Sam Cross, converted y Davies, before Barry got one for Cheetahs, Marais converting.  Davies kicked a penalty, and then kicked a last-minute conversion after Ifan Phillips went over to secure victory for Ospreys.  

Zebre 7 – 10 Cardiff Blues

All the scoring was done in the first half as Cardiff beat Zebre.  Owen Lane crossed over with Jarrod Evans converting.  Just before halftime Giovanbattista Vendittis try, converted by Guglielmo Palazzani, levelled things up.  Evans kicked a penalty with a minute left in the half, and that would be that.  

Conference A
PD +/-
Glasgow Warriors
Toyota Cheetahs
Cardiff Blues

Conference B
PD +/-
Southern Kings
Ciarán Duffy (@TheVoiceDepth) is a Leinster supporter and self-proclaimed ‘big cheese’ of Post To Post (@PostToPostSport).   He’ll write about anything rugby under the condition he gets to take it too seriously.
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