Thursday, July 22, 2021

Best of luck to #IreM7s and #LionsRugby though I will be mostly supportin' not harpin'


I've made it clear over the past while how I feel about the Lions Tour so I won't drag that up again but one additional point I'd like to make is that I feel the same way about the Olympics.

Of course being a Leinster & Ireland rugby nut all the above leaves me conflicted since I am delighted to see the sevens lads qualify and also the Irish contingent in Warren Gatland's First Test selection especially Jack Conan deserve all the best wishes I can offer.

However while under normal circumstances I'd be blogging every day with all my usual features throughout the Test series as well as Ireland's Olympic campaign, to do so I feel I'd have to suspend my feelings about the events taking place at all so after much deliberation I have decided to take a break from the day to day content producing until both the series and the Games are over.

That doesn't mean I won't be doing anything at all, there will no doubt be tweets when the matches are on and should something inspire me to do a post I will.  Just on Monday I posted a "writeup of all writeups" for Leinster's 2020/21 campaign and after finding out on Wednesday that we will face Bath & Montpellier in our Champions Cup pool, there will no doubt be fixtures announced for that as well as the new URC in the near future so I'll be sure to cover that.

But in the meantime all the regular features like Front 5, Rugby on TV, the podcast, match previews and match writeups, will take a back seat while we refocus for what will hopefully be a memorable 2021/22 season whatever happens on the pitch, provided we can watch it from the stands.

So we wish all the lads all the best in both Cape Town and Tokyo, and also I'd like to thank all my readers for following my harpin' over the past season and I look forward to enjoying more rugby with you soon.  JLP

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Front Five - 20.07.21

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

“No ill-effects, it is really good to have him back performing, it is really good to have a healthy squad going into the first test”

Cian Tracey - Irish Independent

 ...if he is ruled out, the Springboks will have a decision to make on the captaincy, as vice-captain Duane Vermeulen is also out...

The Poyntzpass man was captain for Ireland’s Grand Slam triumph of 2018 and is adamant this success was made possible because of the methods deployed by the Kiwi.

Daire Walsh -

The day that we hoped might never come has indeed landed. Cockers is no more.

The Edinburgh Rugby Blog by The Burgh Watch

"It will take me a bit of time to truly believe this nightmare is over"

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

Monday, July 19, 2021

Leinster 2020/21 - the writeup of all writeups

This post is dedicated to the memory of Hazel Brown RIP

I'm still choosing not to harp on the Lions, so with the draw for the 2021/22 Champions Cup coming up on Wednesday I thought I'd do a "writeup of all writeups" post, a tradition of sorts that I started at the end of 2017/18 but for obvious reasons never got around to doing in 2020.

This 2020/21 campaign wasn't exactly straightforward either, but that said we were grateful to have any rugby at all to enjoy and while there were disappointments for the boys in blue along the way, there was also silverware plus a host of memorable performances from new faces as well as those not quite so new.

We're not that much into end-of-season awards here at Harpin Manor but what we did do was take an informal straw poll among our leading contributors and it wasn't much of a surprise that Rhys Ruddock was unanimously voted Player of the Year and that is why he is the lead photo.

So with this week's draw to come plus a newly rebranded domestic competition complete with some new opponents, there's a lot to look forward to and hopefully when I do this same post in 12 months time there will be more success for us to celebrate. JLP


Leinster 35-5 Dragons

“ properly appreciate Gibson-Park’s contributions on the night I first have to offer an overall look at what he brought to the team.  Another criticism levelled at both Leinster and Ireland is that we’re too predictable with the ball, and the way he sped to every breakdown only to vary the point of attack each time, with the complete understanding of his team-mates I might add, made watching this match twice worthwhile all on its own.”


Fri Oct 2 - Pro14 Round 1


Benetton 25-37 Leinster

“...even though we saw 6 tries and 62 points from the contest, it wasn’t all that more interesting than Leinster’s last trip to Italy in this competition just under a year ago, which had no tries and just 3 points.”


Sat Oct 10 - Pro14 Round 2


Leinster 63-8 Zebre

“As impressed as I was by Dan Sheehan, both our starting halfbacks were always in control and I would have gone for Harry (Byrne) as Player of the Match were it down to me.”


Fri Oct 23 - Pro14 Round 3


Glasgow 19-32 Leinster

“Luke McGrath and Michael Bent were good contenders for Player of the Match yet the eir Sport team were probably right going for skipper Rhys Ruddock who put on yet another powerful display, from number 8 this time.” 


Mon Nov 2 - Pro14 Round 4


Ospreys 7-26 Leinster

“I will double down on my opinion expressed last week about Rhys Ruddock.  He is in phenomenal form, with the ball as he muscles his way to gains every time, without thanks to endless tackles and jackles, and overall with top notch leading by example.  Pretty much everything you want from a skipper.”


Sun Nov 8 - Pro14 Round 5


Leinster 50-10 Edinburgh

“When it comes to the Pro14, we might be 30 for 30 in the match points column but the only stat that really matters is the slender 2-point margin we have ahead of the Ulstermen in 2nd spot so we will have to keep this run going to stay where we are.”

“30 FOR 30”

Mon Nov 16 - Pro14 Round 6


Leinster 40-5 Cardiff Blues

“Luke McGrath deservedly got the Player of the Match gong... he was definitely the glue that held us together and is also in a fine run of form.”


Sun Nov 22 - Pro14 Round 7


Scarlets v Leinster - postponed

Sun Nov 29

Pro14 Round 8


Montpellier 14-35 Leinster

“...that was all with a lineup which didn't have anywhere near the amount of test returnees starting for us as we’d normally like to have at the start of a Champions Cup campaign.  Instead we were able to showcase some names that could well be pushing for the next level before long and still managed to remain in control pretty much from start to finish.”


Sat Dec 12 - Champions Cup Round 1


Leinster 35-19 Northampton

“First Ryan Baird comes to the breakdown and spots that only the opposition halfbacks are in his path, so he doesn’t hesitate to take the ball himself and barge through the gap.  They try to get him down but his leg drive comfortably brings him a dozen or so metres; now we’re into their territory.  Gibson-Park quickly takes it and fires a pass right into the path of James Ryan going at full we’re at the Northampton 10m line after 9 phases.”


Sat Dec 19 - Champions Cup Round 2


Munster v Leinster - postponed

Sat Dec 26

Pro14 Round 9


Leinster 24-35 Connacht

“The only problem was that part of the secret to Leinster’s “beating anyone not called Sarries” success in recent years has been built on feeding this kind of youth gradually into the team and enabling them to hit the ground running.  For this occasion, we needed our overall systems to be working perfectly and they clearly weren’t.”


Sat Jan 2 - Pro14 Round 10


Leinster 24-12 Ulster

“The first half was overall a curious beast.  Ulster spent most of the time in our half like I said, but it was still Leinster who looked more like crossing, and we actually did on our only real chance thanks to Jamison Gibson-Park’s ability to fire a perfect miss pass parallel to the try line”


Fri Jan 8 - Pro14 Round 11


Northampton v Leinster - cancelled

Fri Jan 15

Champions Cup Round 3


Leinster v Montpellier - cancelled

Fri Jan 22

Champions Cup Round 4


Munster 10-13 Leinster

“Of course I can appreciate their frustration in falling short against the old enemy yet again...this very website was born in 2008 when I felt the exact same frustration the other way.  But wishing to break our hoodoo over them is not going to make it so.  They are definitely improving and if we play them again this season, it will no doubt be just as close.”


Sat Jan 23 - Pro14 Round 9 (rescheduled)


Scarlets 25-52 Leinster

“With all their heavy lifting the Player of the Match award had to go to one of the forwards, although while Jack Conan did have a good outing, so did our entire starting back row and I would have gone for Dan Leavy, it’s marginal and Josh Murphy also impressed throughout.”


Sat Jan 30 - Pro14 Round 8 (rescheduled)


Dragons 29-35 Leinster

“I’m not so sure we learned too much about how well the Byrne brothers can work together in the same XV and there will certainly be a few things to go over on Monday morning but how could the blue-clad fans be anything but happy - indeed all four provinces finished on top this weekend and continue to dominate the standings.”


Fri Feb 19 - Pro14 Round 12


Leinster 40-21 Glasgow

“in the end I thought we did pretty well coping with all the on-field chopping and changing and crucially nothing happened to our starting back row of Murphy, van der Flier and Penny, the last of whom deservedly won the Player of the Match award”


Sun Feb 28 - Pro14 Round 13

MARCH 2021

Ulster 19-38 Leinster

“...having outlined Ulster misfortune as best as I could, I can now point out the many positives that I saw on Leinster’s side, like the strong scrummaging, performances of youngsters like Penny and O’Reilly, and the top notch organisation of our defending right to the end.”


Sat Mar 6 - Pro14 Round 14


Zebre 31-48 Leinster

“...every time an Irish side dominates an Italian one, the same questions are raised about their eligibility in the competition but I have to say at this stage, those questions are becoming more tiresome than the thrashings.”


Fri Mar 12 - Pro14 Round 15


Leinster 19-24 Ospreys

“With two and hopefully three weeks of season-defining knockout rugby to come, this result could help the coaching staff get our focus where it should be starting from the very kickoff back at that same RDS next Saturday.  Here's hoping that's what happens.”


Fri Mar 19 - Pro14 Round 16


Leinster 16-6 Munster

“While I want to respect the levels of disappointment that Munster fans must be feeling, at some stage you have to allow yourself time and space to be happy that a team you’ve devoted so much time to supporting over the years has won a major trophy - isn’t that why we do so much of said devoting?”


Sat Mar 27 - Pro14 FINAL

APRIL 2021

Leinster v Toulon - cancelled

Fri Apr 2

Champions Cup Round of 16


Exeter Chiefs 22-34 Leinster

“Ross’ first job was to quarterback a lineout set piece.  We could have kept it in the forwards to let him bed in I suppose, but we have such confidence in him that we chose instead to send it straight out through the backs and...Ross had just the right amount of delay on his pass to Keenan who did the same himself in shipping it to Larmour and the winger made light work of what looked like a tricky finish.”


Sat Apr 10 - Champions Cup Quarterfinal


Leinster 3-27 Munster

“...yes, it was a chance for other players to step up, and yes, they clearly failed to do this but the fact remains if this were a European semifinal then Munster’s team would have been pretty much the same, while Leinster’s most certainly would not have been.”


Sat Apr 24 - Pro14 Rainbow Cup Week 1

MAY 2021

La Rochelle 32-23 Leinster

“...then Will Skelton and brushed past Ryan Baird.  I mean really ploughed through him.  And this certainly isn’t meant to criticise Baird.  If anything it’s a compliment because it shows just how unstoppable the massive tree of an Aussie was getting as the match wore on.”


Sun May 2 - Champions Cup Semifinal


Connacht 21-50 Leinster

“Our lineouts have literally been “hit and miss” this season but once they hit consistently, we have been able to do a lot with them and this match was no exception.”


Sat May 8 - Pro14 Rainbow Cup Week 2


Leinster 21-17 Ulster

“There’s the matter of the “Captain’s Challenge”...its implementation has been a shambles so far in this competition and this match highlighted that more than anything.”


Fri May 14 - Pro14 Rainbow Cup Week 3


Leinster off weeks

May 21-23 - Champions/Challenge Cup finals weekend

May 28-30 - Pro14 Rainbow Cup Week 4 (Leinster bye)

JUNE 2021

Glasgow 15-12 Leinster

“The way I saw it, after weathering an early storm we took control of the scoreboard, a situation we are well used to, yet while the bonus point victory we required to stay in the competition was within our reach all the way up to the final quarter, we were unable to get the job done.”


Fri Jun 4 - Pro14 Rainbow Cup Week 5


Leinster 38-7 Dragons

“So that was it for the perfect evening of rugby where we got to say hello to some faithful supporters who in turn got to say goodbye to some of their heroes, thus bringing the curtain down on a far from usual, yet still full of positives, Leinster campaign.”


Fri Jun 11 - Pro14 Rainbow Cup Week 6


Front Five - 19.07.21

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

Posting a "writeup of all writeups" 
Monday evening covering 
Leinster's 2020/21 campaign

The squad won’t be officially named until 10am on Thursday, but the Lions players are due to find out who is in and who is out today.

Murray Kinsella -

...Siya Kolisi, hooker Bongi Mbonambi and winger Makazole Mapimpi all appear to be in a race against time to be available for next Saturday’s first Test

Gerry Thornley - Irish Times

Levan Maisashvili was one of six members of the Georgian touring party to test positive for the virus

The result gives Utah the upper hand ahead of the rematch between the teams in the MLR Western Conference Final.

Americas Rugby News

...on they played, the men from both sides close to a walk by the time Mavor kicked the winning goal in the 23rd minute of golden-point time.

NZ Herald

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, July 18, 2021

Front Five - 18.07.21

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

The Leinster and Ireland centre will surely join Tadhg Furlong and Tadhg Beirne in the starting XV next weekend.

Ruaidhri O'Connor - Irish Independent

The South Africa coaches had made 12 changes to the team that beat the Lions in midweek but it was still packed with Springboks.


Australia finished stronger...and Lolesio’s 78th minute penalty proved to be enough to spark jubilation among the Wallabies players and fans.

Planet Rugby

The All Blacks...were clinging to a 7-6 lead after 30 minutes but by the final whistle had outscored Fiji by nine tries to one.

They were second best in the forward exchanges, made too many basic errors and came nowhere near Argentina’s tempo.

Independent (UK)

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


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