Monday, November 30, 2020

Online comments after Ireland v Georgia

A selection of the “keyboard warrior” reactions after the full-time whistle of our featured matches of the weekend.

If you’d like to contribute stay tuned to our Facebook page for our “Feel free to leave your thoughts…” posts which show up around full time after Leinster & Ireland matches.


Philip Connor McCloskey played well more creative than aki, Billy burns certainly allows the backs play. Byrne at 10 is too deep and offers no attacking picture for the defense. There is a reason England Rugby go to Georgia for scrum training. Why do we not flash the ball to the backs in the red zone more often it worked in the first half and looking at the defense today there was so much space outside of the one up runner channel

Sarah Lennon Greenhorns, new to the international stage at this level and out of their depth.

But enough about the Irish coaching ticket


Richard Mifsud Very frustrating from Ireland today. Credit to Georgia for fronting up but I can’t help thinking we ‘assisted’ them by trying to break through their line with brute strength and therefore playing to their strengths 🤷🏻‍♂️. Decentish first 40 but an awful disjointed second half. Appreciate the changes in personnel but that was poor execution and worse, poor attitude as in lack of urgency. We weren’t cute enough to work our way around that D we didn’t move their defence around we didn’t tire their big lumps and we lacked any real tempo in attack. I liked the use of Stockdale as a play maker in the first half but then they seemed to play to a different game plan in the second...mystifying 😬. In summary an awful lot of work for the coaches moving forward. We’ll have to improve significantly for the Scotland game because otherwise we’ll get turned over by them. Standouts for me and I use the word very loosely Conor Murray Andrew Porter and Hendo subs sadly didn’t add a great deal. Congratulations to Georgia that must feel like a win to them

Avril Poff Only 3 points each 2nd half, think that sums it up


Conor Cronin That was very poor. I know we didn't stay our strongest 15, but I'm not sure anyone there put their hands up for selection over players who were rested today. Stockdale needs to take full back lessons (or just go back to the wing ), if he tackles the ball carrier Georgia don't get their try imo.

No one pulling defenders before they pass, just passing to the next man and letting the defence drift so my the time it gets to the sideline there are 3 defenders waiting to hit the winger.

I said it last week, but Ryan needs to be far more vocal with the ref. Even ask for clarity on everything but be vocal. Don't say nothing.

Odran John OBrien (reply to Conor Cronin) in fairness to Stockdale he must be left at Full Back. No player becomes a FB over night, it took Rob Kearney 3 years to ajust from Wing 3/4 to Full Back.


Craig Grehan The collective team offered no threat, no edge, no alternative options, no leader. . .

McCloskey looked the most influential back along with Farrell but yet they didn't link together often.

Billy burns played his way into Sextons understudy.

Porter cements his spot even when furlong comes back. Who'll have to play very well.

Andy Farrell offering little ideas to poor rugby brained team.

Tom Clarke Awful all round. Real lack of creativity and power.
Also the Stockdale experiment at FB is failing badly and needs to be binned.


Nigel Quigley Poor team performance, I see Stockdale is now the new deafult player to blame for everything, but thats standard fayre in Ireland sadly. We were bullied up front in the second half and the game management went to pot when Burns went off. Porter played well, thought Stu and Chris had a decent outing. We were being turned over for fun in the second half, our set piece needs a lot of work. There were a lot of established and senior players in that 23 today, not really good enough.

Reenen Stenekamp Georgia will probably take more from this game than Ireland will.


Micheal Mac An TSagart Bludgeon at 12. Bludgeon at 13.
What is the plan after crashing the ball up the middle?
Is getting on the front foot not to open space out wide? If not, what is the idea of it, because when you keep doing it repeatedly, every other team knows what's coming.

Kieran Kelleher Experimental team, no magic but no unmitigated disasters either. Everyone did their job. The biggest thing I'd take from it is that Georgia should leapfrog Italy into 6 nations...


Joe Sheppard GEORGIA: Congratulations! Played up & scored possibly the Try of the competition. I really wish we had a 2nd Div of 6 Nations with promotion and relegation 😉👏🏉💪

IRELAND: Very poor & unstructured today unfortunately. Some useful individual cameos but meh!

Now, I am not bothered about which players were chosen thus far though I'm baffled by some throughout this tournament if I'm honest? I said before it started, I'm not bothered win, lose or draw.... I'm more interested in

A. Who AF plays in what positions
B. Which players for key areas are played together & how they performed (not withstanding injuries)? (Front Row, 2nd Row, 9,10 15 & Centres especially)
C. That we have an idea at the end of the competition who are our 1, 2 & 3 Choice per position are?
D. That we have an idea of the tactics, style of play and alternatives (when things aren't working) from the coaching team?
E. That we are on the start to France 23 because of what we can take away from our performances?

I genuinely don't believe majority, if not all the Qs I wanted answered to allow me to make an unbiased decision on where we are at. Perhaps Scotland next week will see us with what AF considers his strongest available team playing a style how he envisages Ireland moving forward. Let's give him and the lads the opportunity. It's a building phase after all.

I've seen some excellent individual playing and the occasional great bit of teamwork & play but overall no cohesive strategy & no further forward on understanding who, injuries aside are our prime candidates in each position?

A long way to go but I'm left with more Qs than answers at this juncture. 😎🏉🇮🇪😱🤔😌

Imelda Reidy Really haven't the energy [ed.-to share my thoughts] after having to sit through that 2nd half. 40 minutes of my life I'll never get back!


Neil Keegan Only thoughts are to turn off social media after games now!

Decent first 40 second 40 not good enough

Massive amount of new faces and lads with 10 caps or less who need exposure to top level ball ..

Not the end of days

John Willie Conroy Terrible today it has to be said but no need to panic yet.


Gerald Williamson There seems to be a lack of structured game plan in each match Ireland has played so far in this autumn series. If there was a plan A , there is no plan B to fall back on. I cannot understand why No 9 John Cooney is not in the equation of matches played so far. One would start to think, have we the right coaching ticket. Is it a bit to conservative ?

James Griffin Saw some glimpses of what they’re capable of but too much imprecision unfortunately and individuals overdoing it. And, imo, specialists are required for specialist positions.


Sebastian Brennan That was brutal. Murray and Mannion should be gone. Stockdale too. FFS we have betters scrum halfs and wingers/ full backs, but we’re still pushing same shite knowing well it won’t work. Very good performance by Georgia tho. Is it a time for 7 nations? They look very promising.

Annemarie Kilkenny Georgian National Anthem was rousing!


Many thanks to all who offered opinions.

Look out Monday for our match writeup JLP

Front Five - 30.11.20

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

Not looking forward to this match writeup


"Certainly in that second 40 it wasn’t the standard we expect of ourselves."


Cian Tracey - Irish Independent

"People are saying we can’t do this or that with Covid – but if others can, why can’t we?"


Ciarán Ó Raghallaigh - Irish Times
(possibly behind paywall)

...this confidence-shorn Ireland squad need a boost and the expected return to fitness of their captain and talisman is exactly that.


Murray Kinsella - The42.ie

Under an agreement with France's top clubs, no player can play more than three internationals in this window.


BBC Rugby

...arguably the most pleasing thing for the All Blacks...was the humiliation of the Pumas at the set-piece.


RugbyPass.com

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

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Front Five - 29.11.20

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

ICYMI click here for our
Ireland v Georgia preview


"...because you're generally following the ball at full-back, you're constantly having to be switched on and communicating with your wingers and with your 10."


Brendan Fanning - Irish Independent

"I would say Ireland is one of the top teams in the world, and you cannot really say if they are first or fifth. It depends on the game day."


The42.ie (via PA)

(Eddie) Jones spoke afterwards about how his team have not been able to kick on as much as he would have liked these last few weeks.


Andy Bull - The Guardian

The visitors did briefly lead, going 5-3 up when Carlo Canna ran in a 24th-minute try, but they were Italy's only points of the night.


RTÉ Rugby

Genge’s head then appears to connect with the face of his opponent before the pair both go to ground sparking off a mass brawl around them.


Rugby Onslaught

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

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Preview : Ireland v Georgia

And there I was, really looking forward to a "double header"...was going to have the "main telly" to myself so I could settle down for this match followed by what could have been a very tricky Pro14 encounter for Leinster at Parc y Scarlets.


But alas despite the lockdown relief afforded by the Irish government on Friday night, COVID19 still has an affect on everyone's lives and my Sunday afternoon plans are, of course, among the least important of all so I hope those who tested positive at the Llanelli region are back up and running soon.


When it comes to the test match, while I did my best in writing up last week's defeat in Twickenham to counter the negativity in Irish opinion, there's absolutely nothing we can do on Sunday that will satisfy the doom merchants so it's probably best I ignore them altogether this time.


The opposition might be "lower tier", but it is still a very strong Irish lineup and with each match selection it is becoming increasingly clear what kind of ideal lineup Andy Farrell & co have settled on since taking the reins.


After a long struggle against the English D eventually it was a neat combination between Ulster teammates Billy Burns and Jacob Stockdale that put us on the board and both are rewarded with starts here. And with the success that Dan McFarland's squad have enjoyed in recent times the opportunity is well deserved.


When it comes to Stockdale, I will repeat my assertion that they seem determined to see him succeed in the 15 jersey so hopefully he will start to click there. It would certainly seem odd to play him in this match only to make another change the following weekend (probably against Scotland) so hopefully he can use this opportunity to improve his confidence there further.


As for Burns, it will be interesting to see how much his performance plays a factor in his retaining the number 10 jersey the following week, perhaps the timing of the introduction from the bench of Ross Byrne will provide a sign.


Continuing the theme of starters from Ulster, Iain Henderson's involvement will provide a good amount of cover for skipper James Ryan, who possibly had a little too much on his plate last time out what with leading the side from the kickoff for the first time, calling the lineouts and of course the whole Maro Itoje-ness of it all. Having just the first to focus on this time out will certainly give him more room to breathe.


But the most significant Ulster starter has to be Stuart McCloskey. Few can deny he has always been a strong (literally) contender to wear green 12 but that said there were also many strong options ahead of him. Now he has a chance to make an impact and having a familiar face at out half will no doubt help.


To finish my northern province theme I'll mention one who hasn't been involved in this series - John Cooney. I was fully behind Jamison Gibson-Park's elevation based on recent form and I am also glad to see Marmion is far from out of the Irish equation but Cooney has to be there and thereabouts as well, with Craig Casey lurking in the background too. All of which has me wondering if starting Murray is a bit of a waste for a match like this? There is a "leadership group" argument to be made I suppose though there are many others already ticking that box.


Anyway...going back to the pack, it's an interesting back row choice with Will Connors no doubt tasked with chopping down on rushing Georgians for both Tadhg & CJ to jackle into oblivion.


When it comes to our opposition, I said against England that it didn't really matter what happened on the other side and I say the same thing here, only for different reasons. Ireland need to go out and perform with all systems running. This is their fifth match together so it's vital that we make the most of this fixture to show signs that we can both solve problems and settle into our own patterns quickly.


The bookies have offered a 37-point spread, just a few shy of the margin England put on them only a couple of weeks back. You could say that's more of a comment on the Lelos than us, but I think it demonstrates a confidence in our ability to at least put on a show for Irish fans, and I for one and backing them to do just that and at very least hit that target.


That's not to say it will be easy - the Georgians will certainly test us in specific areas so it will be up to us to pass them. Here's to a much better day at the office. JLP



Georgia : 15. Soso Matiashvili 14. Akaki Tabutsadze 13. Giorgi Kveseladze 12. Merab Sharikadze 11. Tamaz Mchedlidze 10. Tedo Abzhandadze 9. Vasil Lobzhanidze
1. Mikheil Nariashvili 2. Shalva Mamukashvili 3. Beka Gigashvili 4.  Nodar Cheishvili 5. Lasha Jaiani 6. Beka Saginadze 7. Tornike Jalagonia 8. Beka Gorgadze
Substitutes: 16. Giorgi Chkoidze 17. Lexo Kaulashvili 18. Giorgi Melikidze 19. Giorgi Javakhia 20. Mikheil Gachechiladze 21. Mikheil Alania 22. Demur Tapladze 23. David Niniashvili.

Autumn Nations Cup - Round 3
Sunday, November 29, 2020
KO 2pm
Aviva Stadium

Referee: Mathieu Raynal (France)
AR1: Luke Pearce (England)
AR2: Andrea Piardi (Italy)
TMO: Marius Mitrea (Italy)

Live on RTÉ Two, Channel 4.

Front Five - 28.11.20

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

Normally I ignore Welsh complaints
about anything to do ith the Pro14
but IMO they've a definite grievance
over the Treadwell decision


"We're asking him to play the game in front of him - don't have too many preconceived ideas of making sure that he's able to deliver what we know that he can do."


Gary Connaughton - Balls.ie

Treadwell received only a yellow card in the game itself after an intervention from Irish TMO Brian MacNeice


The fixture also becomes the second game in Round 8 of the tournament to be postponed due to Covid-19 after Scarlets v Leinster match


Matthew Wood - Talking Rugby Union

The historic milestone will be the latest in a long and illustrious career for the Welshman


BBC Rugby

The four-month spell...was arranged by the Georgian Rugby Union as they looked for the promising playmaker to take another step in his development.


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

Friday, November 27, 2020

Front Five - 27.11.20

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

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


"...a small number of Scarlets players have returned positive cases of Covid-19 and others identified as close contacts are now isolating."


Ben James - WalesOnline

It's the last thing Andy Farrell wanted as he looks to get Lowe up to speed with international rugby.


Cian Tracey - Irish Independent

Ulster's Stuart McCloskey makes a long-awaited return to the Ireland XV, and will start at inside centre.


PJ Browne - Balls.ie

Five clubs, though, will have to continue to play their games behind closed doors after their areas were grouped together in tier three, the highest level of restrictions. 


RugbyPass.com

"Myself and CJ, obviously he's incredible at poach work and then I pride myself in the chop tackle so both of us are working together to learn off each other"


RTÉ Rugby

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, November 26, 2020

Rugby on TV : Nov 26-Dec 3

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


THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 26

7AM
THE TEAM THAT TURNED UP
DOCUMENTARY
EIR SPORT 1

10AM
PREMIERSHIP HIGHLIGHTS
BT SPORT 2

11AM
PRO14 HIGHLIGHTS
FREESPORTS

1PM
ZEBRE V CONNACHT (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 1

1PM
GLASGOW WARRIORS V MUNSTER (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 2

3PM
ULSTER V SCARLETS (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 1

9PM
PRO14 HIGHLIGHTS
FREESPORTS

9:10PM
LEINSTER V CARDIFF BLUES (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 1

11:10PM
PRO14 HOUR
EIR SPORT 1

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 27

6AM
HAWKES BAY V NORTHLAND (L)
MITRE10 CUP
SKY SPORTS MAIN EVENT
SKY SPORTS ARENA

8AM
THOMOND PARK
DOCUMENTARY
EIR SPORT 1

1PM
THE PRO14 HOUR
EIR SPORT 1

3PM
PREMIERSHIP HIGHLIGHTS
BT SPORT 2

4PM
GLASGOW WARRIORS V MUNSTER (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 1

5PM
SHARKS V PUMAS (L)
CURRIE CUP
SKY SPORTS MIX

6:30PM
MUNSTER V BIARRITZ (R-2006)
CHAMPIONS CUP FINAL
VIRGIN MEDIA SPORT

7PM
NEWCASTLE V SALE SHARKS (L)
PREMIERSHIP
BT SPORT 1

7PM
FRANCE V NEW ZEALAND (R-2011)
CLASSIC RUGBY WORLD CUP
EIR SPORT 1

8:30PM
MUNSTER V TOULOUSE (R-2008)
CHAMPIONS CUP FINAL
VIRGIN MEDIA SPORT

8:40PM
IRELAND V ARGENTINA (R-2007)
CLASSIC RUGBY WORLD CUP
EIR SPORT 1

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 28

5:30AM
AUCKLAND V TASMAN (L)
MITRE10 CUP FINAL
SKY SPORTS MIX

8:30AM
ARGENTINA V NEW ZEALAND (L)
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
SKY SPORTS MAIN EVENT
SKY SPORTS ARENA

2PM
NORTHAMPTON V HARLEQUINS (L)
PREMIERSHIP
BT SPORT EXTRA

2:30PM
GLOUCESTER-HARTPURY V HARLEQUINS (L)
WOMEN'S PREMIER 15S
YOUTUBE

2:30PM
GRIQUAS V GOLDEN LIONS (L)
CURRIE CUP
SKY SPORTS ARENA

3PM
BRISTOL BEARS V WORCESTER (L)
PREMIERSHIP
BT SPORT EXTRA

3PM
GLOUCETER V WASPS (L)
PREMIERSHIP
BT SPORT EXTRA

4PM
WALES V ENGLAND (L)
AUTUMN NATIONS CUP
PREMIER SPORTS 2
S4C

5PM
WESTERN PROVINCE V BLUE BULLS (L)
CURRIE CUP
SKY SPORTS ARENA

5:30PM
LEINSTER V CARDIFF BLUES (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 1

5:30PM
EXETER CHIEFS V BATH (L)
PREMIERSHIP
BT SPORT EXTRA

7:10PM
SOUTH AFRICA V JAPAN (R-2015)
CLASSIC RUGBY WORLD CUP
EIR SPORT 2

7:30PM
CONNACHT V OSPREYS (L)
PRO14
TG4
FREESPORTS

8PM
FRANCE V ITALY (L)
AUTUMN NATIONS CUP
PREMIER SPORT

11PM
CONNACHT V OSPREYS (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 2

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 29

7AM-11AM
SIX NATIONS HIGHLIGHTS
VIRGIN MEDIA SPORT
7AM - FRANCE V IRELAND
8AM - IRELAND V WALES
9AM - IRELAND V SCOTLAND
10AM - ENGLAND V IRELAND

1PM
CONNACHT V OSPREYS (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 1

1:45PM
NORTHAMPTON V SALE SHARKS (R)
PREMIERSHIP
BT SPORT 2

2PM
IRELAND V GEORGIA (L)
AUTUMN NATIONS CUP
RTÉ TWO
CHANNEL 4

3:55PM
BENETTON V DRAGONS (L)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 2

4PM
LONDON IRISH V LEICESTER (L)
PREMIERSHIP
BT SPORT 2

5PM
SCARLETS V LEINSTER (L)
PRO14
PREMIER SPORTS 2
(postponed) 

6:45PM
ARGENTINA V NEW ZEALAND (R)
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP
SKY SPORTS ARENA

7PM
CONNACHT V OSPREYS (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 1

7:30PM
CARDIFF BLUES V GLASGOW WARRIORS (L)
PRO14
PREMIER SPORTS 2

11PM
CARDIFF V GLASGOW WARRIORS (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 2

11:30PM
BENETTON V DRAGONS (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 1

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 30

8AM
THE TEAM THAT TURNED UP
DOCUMENTARY
EIR SPORT 1

10AM
PREMIERSHIP HIGHLIGHTS
BT SPORT 2

1:45PM
CARDIFF BLUES V GLASGOW WARRIORS (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 1

3:45PM
CONNACHT V OSPREYS (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 1

4PM
PREMIERSHIP HIGHLIGHTS
BT SPORT 2

6:10PM
BENETTON V DRAGONS (R)
PRO 14
EIR SPORT 2

7:45PM
MUNSTER V ZEBRE (L)
PRO14
PREMIER SPORTS 1

8PM
AGAINST THE HEAD
RTÉ TWO

8:10PM
EDINBURGH V ULSTER (L)
PRO14
PREMIER SPORTS 1

10:15PM
MUNSTER V ZEBRE (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 2

10:30PM
EDINBURGH V ULSTER (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 1

11:10PM
MUNSTER V ZEBRE (H)
PRO14
TG4

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 1

12PM
CARDIFF BLUES V GLASGOW WARRIORS (R)
PRO14
FREESPORTS

12PM
PREMIERSHIP HIGHLIGHTS
BT SPORT 1

1PM
BENETTON V DRAGONS (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 2

1PM
ARGENTINA V NEW ZEALAND (R)
RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP

5PM
MUNSTER V ZEBRE (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 1

7PM
CONNACHT V OSPREYS (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 

9PM
CONNACHT V OSPREYS (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 2

11PM
MUNSTER V ZEBRE (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 2

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 2

9:30AM
PREMIERSHIP HIGHLIGHTS
BT SPORT 2

11AM
RUGBY TONIGHT
BT SPORT 2

12PM
EDINBURGH V ULSTER (R)
PRO14
FREESPORTS

3PM
MUNSTER V ZEBRE (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 2

5PM
EDINBURGH V ULSTER (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 1

5PM
SOUTH AFRICA V JAPAN (R-2015)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 2

10PM
THE PRO14 HOUR
EIR SPORT 1

11PM
MUNSTER V ZEBRE (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 1

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 3

6AM
THOMOND PARK
DOCUMENTARY 
EIR SPORT 1

11AM
THE PRO14 HOUR
EIR SPORT 2

1PM
EDINBURGH V ULSTER (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 2

3PM
MUNSTER V ZEBRE (R)
PRO14

10:25PM
BENETTON V DRAGONS (R)
PRO14
EIR SPORT 1

********************

L = LIVE
R = FULL REPEAT
T = TAPE DELAY
H = HIGHLIGHTS

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

Front Five - 26.11.20

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

Click here for an audio version
of our England v Ireland writeup


...keeping talented young players such as Craig Casey, Gavin Coombes and Harry Byrne in their provincial set-ups makes sense.


Gerry Thornley - Irish Times

"We’ve got to be there earlier and see threats. Another thing is probably in our carry – we were a bit high at times, we were a bit chesty."


Murray Kinsella - The42.ie

...the importance of contact readiness must now be considered in any return to competitive or friendly rugby matches.


IrishRugby.ie

 ...who else but the big budget of Top 14 side Toulon to entice him with a reported minimum 2 month loan offer.


Talking Rugby Union

"Where was James Lowe? He’s dragging a dresser back there." 


Ruaidhri O'Connor - Irish Independent

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Front Five - 25.11.20

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

ICYMI click here for our
Leinster v Cardiff Blues writeup
titled "Perfect Start"


There was only one notable injury from the game against Cardiff Blues with Jimmy O’Brien withdrawn at half time with a back issue.


Marcus Ó Buachalla - LeinsterRugby.ie

Captain Sexton and centre Henshaw...will remain unavailable for Sunday's game against the Lelos


RTÉ Rugby

World Rugby will from next February invite bids for the 2025 and 2029 women’s World Cups and the 2027 and 2031 men’s tournaments.


Paul Rees - The Guardian

This season will be my last at Test level, and probably professionally as well.


Ruck.co.uk

Dominici was among the try-scorers as France famously beat New Zealand in the World Cup semi-finals in 1999.


The42.ie (via AFP)


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, November 24, 2020

Leinster-40 Cardiff Blues-5

PERFECT START


There have been many weekends over the years where I have had both Leinster & Ireland matches to enjoy, but I'm not sure there have been many stretches where three or four of them have come in a row.

As much as I love going through the whole "Harpin process" of covering them, the priorities of life, the universe and everything will get in the way from time to time. Basically what I'm doing here is apologising for a lack of preview for this match! It actually didn't hit me until just after the full time whistle.

It's not hard to work out what my prediction would have been - we started the season with 6 bonus point wins, and while I have seen Cardiff play and they do look like an outfit heading in the right direction, I still would have backed the boys in blue for a 7th. I would have at least retained enough caution to avoid going for a 35-point win, however.

So in keeping with recent Leinster writeups on busy weekends, hoere's a blow-by-blow summary of how the 80 minutes transpired...

0-1

Not only did I miss the preview, I also was called away briefly missed the kickoff, and thus Dave Kearney's lighting fast opening try!!!

Harry Byrne put the opening kickoff to scrum half Tomos Williams, who immediately responding in kind with a decent boot from just inside his own 22 that made it over 10m into the Leinster half where it was taken by Jimmy O'Brien.

Cardiff were to go on to produce a fine defensive display despite the final scoreline, but this passage wasn't exactly the ideal start. I'm not sure Tomos' team mates were too aware that the kick was going to stay in play because they were slow in following up, allowing Jimmy to run back into their territroy pretty easily.

Just a couple of basic phases later saw it come to Ciaran Frawley in the wide channel and he was able to dart through they numbers 12 and 14 like they were numbers 1 and 3 (I mean that as no disrepect to props, I was one myself) and with both his own wingers in support, it was Dave who was able to receive and get it down with just 36 seconds on the clock.

2-10

It wasn't long before we threatened their line again, with Dan Leavy crashing to 5m out from a lineout but James Tracy was pinged for going off his feet so the Blues could clear.

By minute 8 we started to see the kind of pressure the visitors intended to put on Harry Byrne when he first had a kick blocked down by Tomos Williams and shortly after the same scrum half disrupted a pass and managed to hack it all the way to within 5 of our own line. We were able to exit easily enough from there.

10-20

From that Cardiff lineout we managed to disrupt the set piece enough to win it back, ship it out wide and work some clevel offloads on the touchline before Ciaran Kelleher made a 7s style sprint towards the posts until he was eventually hauled down by Matthew Morgan and the attempted offload to Frawlwy was knocked on.

There was almost a carbon copy a few minutes later only on the opposite wing and Jimmy O'Brien the one in space - he elected to put a kick forward up the touchline and when Jason Tovey retrieved in his own 22 he hesitated for a second allowing the bounce to go to the chasing Leinster full back who took it and touched down. A second straight touchline conversion later had us 14-0 ahead.

An uncharacteristically sloppy Leinster restart saw Cardiff quickly win a penalty and from the lineout they quickly put it through the backs and all it took was one early step forward from Liam Turner to allow the overlap allowing winger Summerhill to go over and claw five points back.

20-30

Probably sounds patronising but this was definitely the best 10-minute spell of the match for Cardiff. Tails up from the try their defence exerted more pressure on Harry's different attempted to get past and when they had the ball were they were perhaps unfortunate one or two offloads didn't go to hand.

30-HT

This pattern continued for a while until Harry Byrne had a very central three-point attempt go wide and when their hooker Ethan Lewis managed to "soccer" a loose ball from halfway to our 5m line, we not only got a lucky bounce allowing Frawlye to clear but when that failed to find touch, again it sat up perfectly for Leavy to complete the tidying up.

With the clock winding down towards the break some kick tennis was won for Leinster by Jimmy O'Brien's magic boot again kicking into their 22 in such a way as to win us an attacking lineout. From there James Tracy got on the end of an excellent shove in the maul to clinch a third try that must have been heartbreaking for the Blues who had worked so hard to stay in it.

40-50

Cardiff kept up the pressure on our attack patterns - while we would get a fair amount of decent carries from the likes of Ryan Baird, Rhys Ruddock and Josh Murphy we were often either knocked back in the next few phases or forced into errors like crossing.

Meanwhile they were able to work there own way into decent positions, like when Summerhill burst down the left wing putting Tomos Williams clear up the middle only for his attempted offload to be a bit too fancy and it went to ground.

50-60

You might argue this was actually the Welsh region's best spell, assuming you're a defensive coach. It was spent entirely in their own 22 with Leinster barraging them with a series of 5m scrums (we had their number in this set piece) and tap penalties yet they managed to keep us out until Ruddock was pinged for a double movement at the line allowing them to deservedly clear their lines.

60-70

Having escaped their was some kick tennis at midfield until Harry Byrne sliced one into touch on the full, giving Cardiff a decent chance in our half. However, for all you'll hear about their defence, ours was able to do the job when required too. Led by tenacious centres Frawley and Turner zeroing in on the point of contact, we manged to hold them out easily until Harry got a chance to make amends by way of a territory kick which found touch in their 22.

We had a couple of our own lineouts pinched before this point, so we got our own back when Ryan Baird rose to swat back their dart and put us on the attack again. With the bulk of our 6/2 split bench on the field, the forwards had plenty of carries and clearouts in them to advance until the 13 phase saw Scott Penny crash over for the bonus point try.

70-FT

Another scrum penalty at midfied put us back down to their end again, with more good carrying from the fresh legs (albeit when we were a bit lucky not to have a dropped ball called a knock on along the way) until Penny got his second at the posts.

Then as icing on the cake after a lineout at their 22 was secured by Devin Toner, we met the Cardiff resistance in a series of phases getting closer to the line until Harry had enough so he dribbled one neatly past the tackling cordon for Michael Silvester, on since halftime for Jimmy O'Brien for his first decent amount of minutes, to touch down.

*******
Luke McGrath deservedly got the Player of the Match gong - I may not have mentioned his name above but he was definitely the glue that held us together and is also in a fine run of form.

As for the continuation of our perfect start, again I have to say that good and all as that may be, as long as the Ulsterman are standing up just two points back from us in Conference A, we'll have to keep the record going and next up is a trip to Scarlets which is rarely easy (though I promise there will definitely be a preview this time!).

When it comes to our chances in Europe, if you haven't already be sure and check out our podcast from last week where I was joined by some fellow Leinster fans to discuss our best options for the campaign. JLP

*****
We normally do a separate post featuring online comments from the full time whistle but due to the quick turnaround for the writeup we'll add a few here instead - many thanks to all who contributed as always!
Paul Smith Scoreboard flatters us somewhat but it's good to see teams trying to put it up against Leinster at the RDS. Good battle for the young guns and once they did manage to score tte BP try the game opened up for them . Byrne, Frawley, Ruddock and McGrath had great games, and Jimmy O'Brien was on fire in the first half and scored a lovely try. More satisfying to win a game like this, and 7 BP wins from our opening 7 games is as much as any Leinster fan could ask for.


Conor Cronin Cardiff were excellent defensively for so much of the game. If it had finished 19-5 I'd have seen that as fair. I worry about them when they get big guns back.
As for leinster, it looked like some players were taking a while to get going, but eventually things fired and leinster started liking life themselves again. Another BP win, more talent coming through, but under pressure so really needing to prove themselves.


Andrew Bailey Great. Another 40 points and a seventh BP in a row. You can only beat what’s in front of you. But in context of Twickenham the lack of quality in the Pro14 is why Hugo, Ross, JGP and Ronan have struggled to make the step up. Good players but they need decent opposition to learn and to be ready for the international arena


Richard Mifsud Thank you Cardiff Blues. I know we won with a BP and that is very pleasing but what made this doubly special was the fact that we had to find a way and I think that the Blues are the first team to force us to find a way... and we did! Credit to our young guns and old guard for fronting up and getting through a tough 80 minutes. Some of our play was scintillating what some players will have learned tonight is that scintillating only happens when you earn the right or when the opposition is really poor and knowing when to be pragmatic is easily Harry B’s greatest take away tonight. IMHO he passed that test those kicks in behind when nothing was on were class and mature 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻. Standouts Rhys, JOB (hope he’s ok), Luke McG (worthy POTM), Ross, Ryan, Ciarán and especially Liam Turner. Perfect match for the coaches to dissect, and they will. Great antidote to yesterday’s disappointment 😊


Martin Loughrey Good to get another BP win. In fairness I think the scoreline is a bit unfair to the Blues. They tested us probably more than another side so far this season. A bit scrappy from our side. Very loose at times and a lot to look at for the lads despite the win. Good experience for the younger lads though. They need tougher games.


David Ryle Score line unfair on Cardiff. Had leinster under pressure at times.

Gavin Delves (replay to David Ryle) stop Leinster contained the pressure leinster deserved the bonus point


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