Friday, August 31, 2018

Preview - Cardiff Blues v Leinster

European football governing body UEFA insist on staging a ridiculously over-hyped exhibition match every season called the "Super Cup" which features the previous season's winners of the Champions and Europa Leagues.  I'm sure the event generates revenue which is why they keep having them, but it's about as relevant to the sport as a Sunday morning kickabout down the local park.

Thankfully this is one thing that the rugby blazers haven't felt the need to mimic from their roundy ball counterparts, but if they did, this year's version would involve the two teams going head-to-head at Cardiff Arms Park.  And it is a relevant fixture in many more ways than just an opener to the 2018/19 campaign.

Leinster dominated the rugby scene so much last season that many outside the province are wondering, or possibly more to the point terrified, that it could continue for a number of years in a similar vein to that enjoyed by teams like the All Blacks and Crusaders.

So whether it's by design or not, from an overall Guinness Pro 14 perspective, it's certainly no harm for Leinster to be opening their title defence with two difficult assignments, and having both away to Welsh regions is challenging enough without the fact that both the Blues and Scarlets have recently earned some rare silverware for the regions.

Obviously from our point of view, we'll be keen to make a statement that we have absolutely no intention of relinquishing either title easily.  And when it comes to making a statement, our opening day selection is jam-packed with players all wishing to make their own.

Firstly there's our new kid on the block, though he's hardly a kid in that he's the very experienced Joe Tomane.  Nobody could hope to completely 'replace' Isa and all he did for us over the years, but in Joe we have a player who will be well aware of his own importance to the squad and that there will be no time for settling in...he'll need to hit the ground running and I saw enough in the preseason friendly at Donnybrook that he can do just that.

Inside him at outhalf is Ross Byrne...the shadow of Joey C is now gone from him and he won't get a much better opportunity than tonight to show he's ready to step up.  And it certainly won't hurt him to have Luke McGrath at scrum half...in this week's Harpin Points I made a case for him to be Ireland's November nine with Murray injured.

In fact pretty much all our backline have points to prove.  You wouldn't think you'd need to say that about last season's Pro14 leading try scorer but it's still very possible that a lot of Welsh rugby fans think Barry Daly is the name of a local newspaper so hopefully more of them will know what he can do after tonight.  Meanwhile Adam Byrne and Rory O'Loughlin, have fallen back a little bit at the province, mostly due to injuries and other youngsters stepping up, so they'll be keen to have a run of appearances to set that straight.

As for Dave Kearney, I thought he looked lively against Newcastle and having had a desperate run of bad luck on the injury front, fingers crossed he can stay fit long enough to get Joe Schmidt's attention in time for the autumn tests.

When it comes to the pack, after several appearances as captain going back a number of years, Rhys Ruddock finally has a nailed down an official leadership role at the province and he seems to be the type of character who will relish the opportunity.

Ross Molony is another one who could do with a standout performance or three in the first month of the season.  Tonight he lines out alongside Scott Fardy which could mean we'll be planning to go after the Blues lineouts - considering this time last season I was more worried about us winning our own that shows how far we have come since then!!!

Then at the back of the scrum we have Caelan Doris, who was Under 20s captain at the World Championship and despite Ireland's disappointing results he put in some amazing personal displays.  At this stage last year, although Jamie Heaslip was injured we all assumed be'd be our starting 8 for Europe...now with him gone, there''s a massive space to be filled so it will be interesting to see who does.

For now I'm thinking it's a straight fight between Jack Conan and Sean O'Brien once he returns to fitness, but in Doris and Max Deegan, who played almost like a veteran at times last season, we certainly have some great talent coming through.

So that's a run over many of the individuals on show tonight, though as always I'll be keen to see how they knit together, particularly the backline with Dr Phil now in charge.  Ciaran Frawley has been extremely unlucky to miss out on opening night but his injury proves how clever it was to give Noel Reid a start in Montauban as he'll be our backup in Cardiff.

As for the Blues, well I didn't get to see much of them last season but one thing we can be sure of is that confidence will be high with a home crowd and some silverware to show them.  The bookies have Leinster winning by 3...I agree it will be tight but I'm hoping we'll be able to pull away a bit more in the closing stages so I'm going to say we'll finish on top by 5-7 points.  We'll have to play out of our skins to earn that though.

One final note on the referees...as much as I'm happy when Nigel Owens is holding the whistle and I'd never dream of accusing him of bias, I still think it's a shame a league comprising five nations can't find referees from neutral nations for every fixture.

Anyway...that's a small point and hopefully one I won't need to drag up when it comes to my writeup on Monday.  Enjoy the match whereever you are...and here's to another season of success for Leinster rugby!!!  JLP

PS Best of luck to new coach Ben Armstrong, new skipper Sene Naoupu, and the Leinster Women who open their interprovincial campaign tonight in Stradbrook...shame it has to overlap with the match in Cardiff, but I'm assuming that it couldn't be helped.

#COYB(and G!)IB

Cardiff Blues team to face Leinster: M Morgan; J Harries, W Halaholo, R Lee-Lo, O Lane; J Evans, L Williams; B Thyer, K Dacey, D Arhip, S Davies, R Thornton, J Turnbull, E Jenkins, N Williams.

Replacements: R Gill, E Lewis, S Andrews, G Earle, O Robinson, T Williams, S Shingler, G Smith.

Guinness Pro14 2018/19 Round 1
Friday, August 31, 2018
KO 7:35pm
Cardiff Arms Park

Referee: Nigel Owens (WRU)
AR1: Ben Whitehouse (WRU).
AR2: Gwyn Morris (WRU)
TMO: Jon Mason (WRU)

Live on Premier Sports 1, eir sport 1 & 2, TG4.

Details on eir sport's coverage of Cardiff v Leinster

press release by eir Sport

Cardiff Blues v Leinster free to view on eir sport, the NEW Home of Rugby in Ireland

Fixture will also be available to view on eir sport’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube social media channels

eir sport’s first broadcast from the Guinness PRO14 season will be made free to view to all satellite customers to celebrate the channel becoming the NEW home of rugby in Ireland.  Fans can watch Leinster’s visit to the Cardiff Blues in high definition on eir sport 1 without a subscription, while the game will also be available on eir sport’s Facebook, YouTube and Twitter pages.

The presentation team will be fronted by Tommy Bowe. Bowe heads a stellar panel of experts including former internationals, Luke Fitzgerald, Donncha O’Callaghan and Mary Louise ‘Maz’ Reilly along with The42.ie rugby journalist, Murray Kinsella.  The eir sport commentary team will be made up of Conor Morris and Liam Toland. 

Maz Reilly will act as the pitch side reporter for all Leinster and Munster home fixtures and Murray Kinsella will be the main presenter of a Guinness PRO14 weekly highlights magazine show that will be aired to review and preview each round of games.

Fans can look forward to over 30 hours of Guinness PRO14 programming every week throughout the season.


Front Five - 31.08.18

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

ICYMI click here for our latest
list of upcoming rugby on Irish TV

Big kickoff tonight...
Cardiff v Leinster preview to follow later


Drilling down the halfback pairing of Luke McGrath and Ross Byrne, who start tonight, should become more important to Leinster’s success as the season drives forward.


Johnny Watterson - Irish Times

Cardiff Blues are now 14 straight games without a win against Leinster dating back to February 2011.


Cardiff Rugby Life

If there was a crystallising moment in van Graan’s first half-season at the Munster helm...it was that loss to Leinster (in May)


Simon Lewis - Irish Examiner

No side on the UK mainland is further away from their nearest rivals than the Penzance-based club and it leads to a unique rugby culture in West Cornwall.


Brent Pilnick - BBC Rugby

Ian Madigan will be keen to show his quality after spending a season in the Championship


Murray Kinsella - The42.ie

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

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Rugby on TV : Aug 30-Sep 6

Rugby on TV is brought to you by
the IrishRugby TV YouTube channel


-->When Round 2 of this season's Guinness Pro 14 kicks off,if you haven't watched every single second of every singe match
from Round 1, you certainly can't blame that on eir Sport!!!
We've been doing this feature for many years now and we've
never seen this level of repeat showings.

DateTimeShowCompetitionChannel
Thu Aug 308:30 amAUCKLAND V WAIKATOMITRE10 CUPSKY SPORTS ACTION
10:45 amRABBITOHS V TIGERSNRLSKY SPORTS ARENA
12:00 pmGLOUCESTER V EXETER (REPEAT)PREM 17/18BT SPORT 1
1:30 pmWASPS V HARLEQUINS (REPEAT)PREM 17/18BT SPORT 1
3:00 pmHARLEQUINS V LEICESTER (REPEAT)PREM 17/18BT SPORT 1
4:00 pmAUCKLAND V WAIKATO (REPEAT)MITRE10 CUPSKY SPORTS ACTION
4:30 pmBATH V GLOUCESTER (REPEAT)PREM 17/18BT SPORT 1
7:30 pmWARRINGTON V HULL FCSUPER LEAGUESKY SPORTS MAIN EVENT
9:00 pmTHE WORLD RUGBY SHOWSKY SPORTS ACTION
10:30 pmNORTHAMPTON V NEWCASTLE (REPEAT)PREM 17/18BT SPORT 1
Fri Aug 318:30 amWELLINGTON V SOUTHLANDMITRE10 CUPSKY SPORTS MAIN EVENT
8:55 amWARRIORS V RAIDERSNRLSKY SPORTS ARENA
10:45 amSTORM V PANTHERSNRLSKY SPORTS ARENA
11:30 amSALE SHARKS V WASPS (REPEAT)PREM 17/18BT SPORT 1
1:00 pmNEWCASTLE V SALE SHARKS (REPEAT)PREM 17/18BT SPORT 1
2:30 pmLEICESTER V NEWCASTLE (REPEAT)PREM 17/18BT SPORT 1
4:00 pmEXETER V SARACENS (REPEAT)PREM 17/18BT SPORT 1
4:00 pmWELLINGTON V SOUTHLAND (REPEAT)MITRE10 CUPSKY SPORTS ACTION
5:55 pmPUMAS V WESTERN PROVINCECURRIE CUPSKY SPORTS ACTION
6:00 pmPREVIEW SHOWPRO 14EIR SPORT 1
7:00 pmCARDIFF BLUES V LEINSTERPRO 14EIR SPORT 1/TG4
7:00 pmBRISTOL BEARS V BATHPREMIERSHIPBT SPORT 1
7:30 pmST HELENS V WIGAN WARRIORSSUPER LEAGUESKY SPORTS ARENA
10:00 pmOSPREYS V EDINBURGH (TAPE DELAY)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
11:45 pmZEBRE V SOUTHERN KINGS (TAPE DELAY)PRO 14EIR SPORT 2
Sat Sep 16:00 amMANAWATU V OTAGOMITRE10 CUPSKY SPORTS ACTION
6:00 amCARDIFF V LEINSTER (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 2
6:00 amBRISTOL BEARS V BATH (REPEAT)PREMIERSHIPBT SPORT 1
8:30 amNORTH HARBOUR V TASMANMITRE10 CUPSKY SPORTS ACTION
8:30 amCARDIFF V LEINSTER (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
9:45 amOSPREYS V EDINBURGH (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 2
10:30 amZEBRE V SOUTHERN KINGS (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
1:30 pmGLOUCESTER V NORTHAMPTONPREMIERSHIPBT SPORT 2
1:40 pmBLUE BULLS V LIONSCURRIE CUPSKY SPORTS ACTION
2:30 pmCONNACHT V GLASGOWPRO 14EIR SPORT 1/TG4
3:00 pmLEEDS RHINOS V HULL KRSUPER LEAGUESKY SPORTS ARENA
3:55 pmCHEETAHS V SHARKSCURRIE CUPSKY SPORTS ACTION
4:15 pmEXETER CHIEFS V LEICESTER TIGERSPREMIERSHIPBT SPORT 2
5:00 pmMUNSTER V CHEETAHSPRO 14EIR SPORT 1
5:00 pmULSTER V SCARLETSPRO 14EIR SPORT 2
5:15 pmTORONTO V LONDON BRONCOSRUGBY LEAGUESKY SPORTS ARENA
7:00 pmEALING TRAILFINDERS V LONDON IRISHCHAMPIONSHIPSKY SPORTS MAIN EVENT
7:30 pmMANAWATU V OTAGO (REPEAT)MITRE10 CUPSKY SPORTS ARENA
7:30 pmDRAGONS V BENETTONPRO 14EIR SPORT 2
9:00 pmHIGHLIGHTSPREMIERSHIPBT SPORT 2
9:20 pmNORTH HARBOUR V TASMAN (REPEAT)MITRE10 CUPSKY SPORTS ARENA
9:45 pmMUNSTER V CHEETAHS (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 2
10:00 pmULSTER V SCARLETS (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
11:45 pmDRAGONS V BENETTON (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 2
Sun Sep 26:00 amDRAGONS V BENETTON (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
6:00 amCONNACHT V GLASGOW (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 2
6:00 amHIGHLIGHTSPREMIERSHIPBT SPORT 2
7:00 amBRONCOS V SEA EAGLESNRLSKY SPORTS ARENA
10:00 amMUNSTER V CHEETAHS (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
10:00 amULSTER V SCARLETS (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 2
10:18 amJOUR DE RUGBYTOP 14TV5MONDE
2:30 pmNEWCASTLE FALCONS V SARACENSPREMIERSHIPBT SPORT 1
3:30 pmHIGHLIGHTSPRO 14EIR SPORT 2
3:45 pmRACING 92 V CLÉRMONTTOP 14SKY SPORTS ACTION
6:30 pmCARDIFF V LEINSTER (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
8:30 pmCONNACHT V GLASGOW (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
10:00 pmPAU V TOULON (REPEAT)TOP 14SKY SPORTS ACTION
Mon Sep 39:30 amCARDIFF V LEINSTER (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
9:30 amHIGHLIGHTSPREMIERSHIPBT SPORT 1
11:00 amZEBRE V SOUTHERN KINGS (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 2
11:30 amCONNACHT V GLASGOW (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
1:30 pmULSTER V SCARLETS (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
3:30 pmMUNSTER V CHEETAHS (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
7:30 pmCONNACHT V GLASGOW (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 2
10:00 pmFULLTIMESUPER LEAGUESKY SPORTS ARENA
Tue Sep 49:30 amCARDIFF V LEINSTER (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
9:30 amHIGHLIGHTSPREMIERSHIPBT SPORT 1
11:00 amZEBRE V SOUTHERN KINGS (REPEAT) PRO 14EIR SPORT 2
1:30 pmULSTER V SCARLETS (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
3:30 pmMUNSTER V CHEETAHS (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
7:30 pmCONNACHT V GLASGOW (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 2
Wed Sep 56:00 amCONNACHT V GLASGOW (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 2
8:30 amWAIKATO V WELLINGTONMITRE10 CUPSKY SPORTS MAIN EVENT
9:00 amHIGHLIGHTS (PART 1)PRO 14EIR SPORT 2
9:30 amDRAGONS V BENETTON (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
11:30 amOSPREYS V EDINBURGH (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
1:30 pmCARDIFF V LEINSTER (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
3:00 pmWAIKATO V WELLINGTON (REPEAT)MITRE10 CUPSKY SPORTS ARENA
6:00 pmHIGHLIGHTS (PART 2)PRO 14EIR SPORT 2
8:00 pmTHE PRO 14 HOURPRO 14EIR SPORT 1
8:00 pmRUGBY TONIGHTBT SPORT 2
8:30 pmTRY TIMENRLSKY SPORTS ARENA
9:30 pmMUNSTER V CHEETAHS (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
Thu Sep 68:30 amCANTERBURY V MANAWATUMITRE10 CUPSKY SPORTS ARENA
9:30 amULSTER V SCARLETS (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
11:30 amCONNACHT V GLASGOW (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
1:30 pmDRAGONS V BENETTON (REPEAT)PRO 14EIR SPORT 1
2:30 pmHIGHLIGHTSPRO 14EIR SPORT 2
2:30 pmCANTERBURY V MANAWATU (REPEAT)MITRE10 CUPSKY SPORTS ARENA
6:30 pmTHE PRO 14 HOURPRO 14EIR SPORT 2
6:30 pmTHE WORLD RUGBY SHOWSKY SPORTS ARENA
7:00 pmGOLDEN POINTSUPER LEAGUESKY SPORTS ARENA
7:30 pmWIGAN V WAKEFIELDSUPER LEAGUESKY SPORTS ARENA

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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