Thursday, June 30, 2022

Podcast 3.47 : “Maori ABs review, First Test Preview” featuring Mark Jackson, Ian Frizzell & Paul Bains



Listen to the pod using the player above or better still,
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Up for discussion...

🏉 MABvIRE review

🏉 Loughman’s HIA

🏉 First Test preview

🏉 Opposition view : NZL

🏉 Changes at Harpin’ On Rugby


Twitter accounts for our guests:


Mark Jackson > https://twitter.com/hoomanbear

Ian Frizzell > https://twitter.com/rava_ian

Paul Bains > https://twitter.com/DrivingMaul


Also check out Paul’s NZ Sport Radio > https://nzsportradio.com/


HarpinOnRugby on social media…


TWITTER > https://twitter.com/HarpinOnRugby

FACEBOOK > https://www.facebook.com/HarpinOnRugby

INSTAGRAM > https://www.instagram.com/harpinonrugby/

Monday, June 20, 2022

A global rugby calendar can't happen quickly enough, once it fixes the NH's many problems


"We don’t rest players for big matches here in Ireland because we want to cheat.  We rest them for big matches because the calendar gives us no choice if we want to have any hope of competing in the major competitions."

It was back in April 2014 when I posted an article titled "It's the calendar, stupid" on these pages.  The Champions Cup had just been given a new coat of paint with format and branding all changed, mostly because the Premiership clubs had enough of Irish provinces doing so well.

My point was that I felt an opportunity was missed to fix my biggest bugbear about European rugby, namely its calendar, which I always felt was hastily built around an untouchable Six Nations and made no sense when it came to coaches keeping their squads together or casual fans holding their interest, two pretty critical categories when it comes to organizing professional sport I've always thought.

Now over eight years later, while there is real talk about a "global calendar", pretty much all the same problems still exist, while down south everything is still tailor made for success.

Sadly I've no Leinster writeup this week, so instead I put together the graphic you see above.  It represents a calendar for all the major tournaments - the three European domestic ones, Super Rugby, and all the test windows, spanning from September 2021 all the way to the last weekend of October 2022, which is when the World Cup final will take place exactly one year later.

Just look at how things are arranged in the southern hemisphere.  Super Rugby Pacific, which just had its final last Saturday, ran for 18 straight weeks with byes but still no interruptions for other competitions.  Simply put, head coaches had their squads together for the duration, and now the test coaches can assemble their players first for the July fixtures, then on into The Rugby Championship before they head north for our Autumn series, again with continuity.

You won't need the graphic to know we don't do things quite so simply on this half of the planet.  What annoys me most is that if you're coach of a team that has realistic designs on the Champions Cup, once you guide your squad through the pool stages you then have to watch the Six Nations from behind the sofa in the hope that your best players make it through so you can use them in the knockout stages (although this of course won't apply to the SA teams joining the competition).

But that's not the only silliness.  Look how this season went after the Six Nations...2 rounds of domestic, 2 rounds of Europe, then repeat, before the European finals, which you'd think would be the pinnacle of an entire season, getting played with three or four weeks of URC/Prem/Top14 still to go.  

And while I'm harping on calendars, I also see that Rounds 1 & 2 of next season's Heineken Champions Cup are set to clash with the quarterfinals and final respectively of the football World Cup.

Like I say, I know the powers that be are working on this at the moment but I just hope that when the announcement is made it is something that will address these long-standing concerns of mine so I can get on with complaining about something else for the next eight years!!! JLP

PS - We're still technically on a mini-break before the New Zealand tour, we'll be back with regular features like podcasts, previews and writeups by next week.

 






 

Monday, June 13, 2022

Leinster-26 Bulls-27


BUSINESS END

"Leinster till I die".


That's what we say when the season is over for our team, and as I sit to write this, I realise I hadn't said it yet on social media, possibly out of a sense of denial.


And I know many take that denial to be born out of hubris, as if Leinster fans think we have some kind of divine right to win these big matches. Well, if that's how they see us, it's only because they want to because anyone who follows these pages will know that's far from the case.


Our favourites tag for both this match and the HCC final were totally justified, though if anything I had to quibble with the expected margin of victory from the bookies. The thing is, no matter what has gone before, you still have to go out and get the job done and besides, the more success you've had throughout the season, the more likely opponents are going to find a specific way to beat you.


Naturally there has been a host of "expert" opinion online since the final whistle, most of it absolute BS, and come to think of it this probably also helped me forget my "LTID" proclamation. We all know that feeling right after a gut-wrenching loss, and it won't take much to get you triggered, especially when you follow a team over 90% of other fans want to lose.


Yet reasons must still be found, and I'm glad I had a day or two to mull it over before I sat down to do this. And after all my soul searching I can't really start in any other place than the team selection.


Obviously I don't think I'm the first to say this - many have gone down the "Johnny should have started" route, but I actually think it's more than that. With all due respect to those in our matchday 23 for this match, I have to say I was disappointed that we didn't pick as close to our Marseille side as we possibly could, because that is effectively our "elite" side.


Particularly after what happened against La Rochelle, I kind of took it for granted that we would be able to hand that exact same selection an opportunity to make up for it - maybe it wasn't required against Glasgow last week, but certainly for the URC final four and beyond.


I guess what I'm trying to say is that perhaps there has been too much "New Zealand Tour" in our lineups for the past couple of weeks, although I wouldn't mean that as a dig at the province nor even the IRFU if that were true, it's more about the crazy stop start nature of the European calendar on which I have been harping for years.


Because this is far from the first time we have been in many ways victims of our own success. None of the other three URC semifinalists had any European involvement beyond the last 16. I know this is far from a valid excuse for Leinster because we've been in similar situations before, like the 2011 and 2012 league finals, and actually in 2018 it didn't phase us at all, so we should be able to handle it. But I still believe someone needs to point that out and it might as well be me!


All that said, the 23 we put out at the RDS still should have been able to do better than they did. We would have known a Jake White side was going to come to our backyard determined to overcome all the perceived disadvantages and put it up to us, and we should have been able to respond well enough to find the extra couple of points required to get the job done, yet we didn't.


So I guess I've stalled for long enough, time to go through the 80 minutes and harp on what happened...


0-20


The Dublin weather all day and throughout the match was absolutely insane. One minute you looked like a fool if you had an umbrella, the next you looked like a fool without one. I'm not sure if that affected the crowd numbers or not, yet although the stands at either end were far from full, there certainly was plenty of enthusiasm from the blue flag-waving faithful from start to finish.


Our guests showed early intent by putting a high ball exit after the kickoff with Tambwe the intended receiver and he came very close to getting it only to knockon and then the Bulls were pinged for offside which meant we had some early ball deep in their 22.


The lineout was good and the maul brought us close to their line but after a double digit series of phases we couldn't breach the Bulls line and eventually it was "yoinked" from Henshaw in the tackle under the posts by Zak Burger and cleared.


Play went back and forth for the next few minutes and although Bulls fullback Moodie made up for a botched territory kick that skidded along the ground by smashing his opposite number Jimmy O'Brien at the other end of it, the Leinster man recovered and this time Ross Byrne bypassed the blitzing blue bulle with a grubber through that seemed destined for Rory O'Loughlin.


It took a bounce away from him at the last second but still fell kindly enough for Dan Sheehan to show some silky soccer skills by nudging it enough for him to gather and drag it over for the game's opening score.


Definitely a good way for us to settle into the contest but the Bulls soon got their own chance when a penalty for not rolling away allowed Chris Smith to put three points on their side of the scoreboard, and when Johan Grobelaar jackled a penalty at midfield, the visitors had their first big attacking position in the 17th minute.


It was this attacking set where I first started to worry. After the lineout the Bulls went carry after carry into our 22 in which they easily won the collision, something Leinster fans certainly haven't been used to seeing. It then looked like Moodie had dotted down until the TMO showed "clear separation" so it was called back, although there was an advantage for offside.


And from the penalty the gargantuan Elrigh Louw looked like he was going to carry the tap n go from 5m out but it was cleverly switched inside to Grobelaar who went the other way and over, giving them a 10-7 lead to end the first quarter.


20-HT


Things started to go from bad to worse right from the kickoff as this time their high exit kick was knocked on by Jimmy O'Brien and although Chris Smith was under no pressure kicking the ball ahead, the ref judged that he still had advantage so they went back for the scrum. From the set piece they got into our half where ROL got pinged for not rolling away which meant they were back deep in our 22 again after a superb wind-defying kick from Smith.


Again they brought the big carries and although Joe McCarthy pulled off a decent counter ruck he came out on one side of the ruck while the ball came out on the other and with the Leinster D stacked on that side, Marcell Coetzee found a gap under the posts to dive over. Just like that we were ten points down.


We did well to force a knock on from the restart and then win a penalty but after getting a warning from an earlier scrappy lineout we were lucky to recover, this one was the first of many which we were to lose so badly you'd swear the opposition had our our lineout calls as reading material on the flight north.


Then there was an incident involving referee Andrea Pirardi that's worth noting - first he was poorly positioned and got in the way of a JGP pass, then he let the Bulls play on for a few seconds, and finally after stopping play he first indicated a scrum for them. I don't relate this to mock him, more to show that pressure gets to all of us on big occasions.


From the scrum followed some kick tennis before Ruan Notje was pinged for blocking as his teammate Tambwe was looking for a gap and we had another chance at their 22.


Here our skipper took the lineout cleanly and in between two penalty advantages on the subsequent phases, a lovely reverse offload from Henshaw created some space for us to get it within 5m of their line until the centre followed it up with the final carry to get the ball over. Ross Byrne nailed the extras and it was a three point game again.


For me a pivotal moment in the contest came at the end of the first half, right as the heavens opened over the RDS for the only time while the match was actually in progress. We had a scrum inside our own half and a massive shove won us a penalty which we dispatched to touch at their 22.


Sheehan's dart was caught by Caelan Doris just after the clock went red and we rolled through some phases around the 22 until it was pilfered in the tackle by that man Grobelaar again allowing them to clear. Even three points at that stage would have been a real boost going into the "sheds" but again our tendency to favour quick ball over better breakdown protection led to a turnover that (eventually) saw the end of the half.


40-60


As the teams came out for the second half, so did the sun, but it was the worst possible start when our hero from that second Leinster try Robbie Henshaw inexplicably knocked on after the restart giving the Bulls a scrum 10m from our line.


However what followed was an heroic defensive stand from what was still the Leinster starting XV, having clearly made some halftime adjustments after all the first half gainline concessions, keeping out the rampaging Bulls for 18 phases until Joe McCarthy was judged to have jackled a penalty (maybe with a bit of help from Doris on the deck tbf) but the net result was a massive morale booster that almost felt like points on the board the way things had gone.


But defensive stands weren't enough, we were still behind on the scoreboard so we needed to find points down the other end and during a period of play when we have buried many an opponent in this league before, we had no answer for the Bulls' own set up without the ball, with sloppy lineouts, knock ons and scrum penalties halting our progress over and over.


It was one of those scrum penalties, on their own 22, which began their march towards restoring daylight between us. With our own lineout struggling, theirs produced a strong maul into our 22 and after a high tackle penalty put them even closer, they of course went for another maul which was hurtling towards our try line.


The ref had already awarded a penalty advantage as it was in full flight but when it came crashing down just before the line, he must have seen it as a second offence because now he was going under the posts for a penalty try, with James Ryan judged to be the culprit which meant he also went to the naughty step.


So ten points and a man down, our skipper at kickoff time no less, on came our club captain Johnny Sexton. However while his class and experience, with all due respect to Ross of course, clearly would have benefitted us earlier as I have already said, there are some areas where he can't contribute.


Before I get to our worst phase for lineouts, we had one very lucky incident where Jimmy O'Brien took way too long clearing his lines which allowed their centre Vorster to come in to block, and the ball seemed to roll perfectly into his path only for the earlier rain to have made the surface just greasy enough to bring him down allowing JOB to tidy up.


Yet there's no avoiding it any longer - from the awarding of the yellow card to the end of the match, the lineout set piece on which we rely so heavily for our success, having done poorly enough in the first half although there were some clean takes, now capitulated altogether, whether Ryan was involved or not.


60-FT


I say that about Ryan because we lost a couple while he was off the pitch then clicked one just after he returned, but having another massive opportunity from 5m out, it didn't matter where we were throwing it, there was someone like Swanepeol or Nortje ready to bat it back to their grateful scrum half.


Often I have said we need to be smarter when the chips are down against us in a certain area, and in fact, against South African sides this season we HAVE been, against the Sharks in Durban when we were being mulched in the scrums yet held on to a losing BP on the strength of brave calls on our own put in.


Surely we had some kind of play to defy those towering South African jumpers, like a high arc over the top or a toss to the front then back to the hooker? Adapting is key in matches like this and we were absolutely found wanting when it mattered. And as if to show us just how much that lineout accuracy was missed, one that clicked gave us a glimmer of hope.


We had just seen a pair of amazing high ball chases, one from Sexton to Ringrose, the other from sub scrum half Papier to Tambwe, but after the later one the winger ran into his own man to get pinged for crossing giving us a lineout 10m in their half.


This one worked a treat, with Molony supplying one off the top to McGrath who had replaced JGP. The passes through the backline were crisp enough to ensure when Henshaw sent one back inside to Larmour in full flight, he found a gap that put him towards the 22 and with Ringrose in support, it went on to JOB and finally ROL for the Try of the Match (not much consolation I know but it really was!)


Unfortunately Sexton couldn't tame the breeze from the touchline for the extra points but there was plenty of optimism around the RDS that we could close the gap even further in the last ten minutes.


Also unfortunately, much like the closing stages against La Rochelle, we couldn't manage to buy our way our of our own half during a spell when it mattered the most, and before long we found ourselves under immense pressure in our own 22 until an heroic steal from James Ryan got it back and when Sexton sent a little dink out of the 22 perfectly into the path of JOB, something really special definitely looked on. But much like the Dublin weather that day, things changed completely the other way in an instant.


Before I say what happened next, I have to talk about just how amazing Ross Molony has been all season. The very definition of an unsung hero and every Leinster fan knows this. His workrate, his intelligence, his strength, his attitude, have been through the roof since the season kicked off and anyone who worried about us losing out in those areas after Scott Fardy left, needn't have.


I say all of that here because it was his knock on and subsequent grab of the ball on the deck shortly after JOB's catch which allowed Morné "Mr Clutch" Steyn kick the three points which put them two scores ahead once more. I have to relay those facts because this is a writeup, but I hate doing it because I don't believe it takes anything away from Ross' overall contribution to our season.


When we restarted there was 76m on the clock and although Henshaw bullied his way to regathering the restart and we fought right to the bitter end with a Cian Healy try after the clock went red, it was still sadly a very bitter end to our 2021/22 campaign.


HARPIN' POINTS


That the Player of the Match award went to someone wearing a red scrum cap would have been no surprise to those who didn't watch, but it may have raised an eyebrow that it wasn't JVDF. Certainly nobody who watched the 80 minutes could complain about it going to Grobelaar, he was immense although it was the overall approach of the Pretoria based side that did for us.


I actually think our last three results actually sum up perfectly what our task is for the future when it comes to winning trophies. We lost two major knockout games, by a combined total of four points. In between, we won a match by over sixty.


With these South African sides now in the European mix as well, if there's some way of sacrificing a few of those tries against Glasgow so that we can get them when required elsewhere, we need to do it. I know that's a lot easier said than done, but while a few eejits were pointing fingers at our coaching staff afterwards, I still firmly believe we have the tactical capacity to work it out.


But that is for discussions down the line. The more general narrative that needs addressing is just how much the league has benefitted from the addition of these clubs and I can't wait to watch the final. It certainly may not have looked that way back at the start of the campaign when we comfortably dispatched these very same Bulls, but it's clear to see they've proved their worth and then some at the business end.


WHAT'S NEXT...


...for Leinster?


Nothing until next season sadly, though it will be interesting to see how we set about replacing Dr Phil, I'm hearing some interesting rumours about it that I hope come true.


But after expressing so much disappointment over two results throughout this writeup, I can't go any further without also showing overall gratitude for a season which may not have silverware, but was still one that the vast majority of clubs around Europe would envy.


Leinster. Till. I. Die.


...for Ireland?


I can imagine some saying on seeing the above heading : "I thought Leinster WAS Ireland" ha ha ha...but seriously, we have set ourselves quite the task in going down to New Zealand for three tests on the tail end of a long season. If we can recapture our general form from November and the Six Nations, we should give a decent account of ourselves. But some might say that's a pretty big "if", we'll have to see.


Also there are a couple of "midweek" matches against the Maori ABs to check out how the players are doing, and that's still not all of it...the Grand Slam winning "Wolfpuppies" have a few more stern tests ahead of them as well so plenty to look forward to over the next month or so.


...for Harpin' On Rugby?


Well, my choice of "Business End" as a title was for different reasons. We are of course at the business end of the season, the loss means the end of Leinster's business, but there's a third one - this is possibly my last Leinster writeup under this format, one I have followed for well over a decade now.


Hopefully that doesn't sound TOO dramatic - I'm certainly not winding up the online shenanigans altogether, just planning on some changes for next season's coverage. I'll take a week or so off for the time being but I'll be back to do Ireland writeups and all the usual coverage for the three tests against New Zealand and I will tell you more about my overall plans by the time the preseason has begun.


It goes without saying but I'll say it anyway...doing these writeups has been an honour, and mostly because of the feedback I've been getting from you the readers; even when it hasn't been good feedback it has always been constructive, so many thanks to all of those who have followed my scribblings over the years and indeed to the province itself for all its support throughout another amazing season. Bring on the next one. JLP


click here for a selection on online comments posted at the full time whistle


HARPIN' ON RUGBY MATCH WRITEUPS
ARE BROUGHT TO YOU BY

Front Five - 13.06.22

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



"It's great for the competition, when you think people thought they shouldn't be in it."


RTÉ.ie

Veteran halfback TJ Perenara has missed out alongside fellow 2019 World Cup number nine Brad Weber with Fakatava, Aaron Smith and Finlay Christie making up the three halfback spots.


NZ Herald

James Topping’s side rounded off a successful weekend with a 27-0 win over a youthful England side in the Croatian capital.


The42.ie

Bordeaux should not have been here. At the end of January, they had a 10-point lead at the top of the table.


James Harrington - Irish Examiner

The brilliant fly-half turned out 29 times for his national side, 8 times for the British and Irish Lions, and an incredible 20 times for the Barbarians.


Jack Tunney - RugbyDump

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, June 12, 2022

Online comments after Leinster v Bulls

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.


Conor Cronin Tonight was tough to watch. It hurts when we've had so many seasons with silverware to come away with nothing this year.

We weren't good enough today. There's not a whole lot else to say. And it feels like 2 weeks ago. But I have faith that the management, coaching staff and players can take a step up, can look at this, learn from it, and be better next year. If we don't want to be seen as a weak side we need to be better next year. They need to be.

Well done to the bulls, best of luck next week.

Cormac Mannion Some awfully basic errors throughout the match. Couple of times, particularly towards the end of the first half we were given simple three pointers but turned them down.

Lack of composure with poor passing and some braindead stuff at the breakdown


Paul Smith Poor performance, we never looked like winning, handling poor most of the game , losing so many line outs 5 metres out, simple knock ons, referee out of his depth, bad decisions I could go on but what's the point ? Just a bitterly dissapointing end to a season that promised so much. Let's hope we can treat it like 2017 and go out and rectify it next season.

Russ Rafter In both of our 2 recent losses, we were beaten by 2 of the best Coaching Brains in the game ... ROG & Jake White. We lost both matches by having our strengths demolished & our weaknesses attacked.


Andrew Potts A very disappointing season that promised so much.

Playing a fantastic brand of rugby but coming up short and some how feeling we have been dragged down a level and losing to teams that are well prepared but willing to give 3 pointers away continually and not being punished for it.

As with LR a few weeks ago and Bulls tonight every thing went right for them and they executed their game plan well.

Leinster left frustrated with three turn over lineout and bobbles and bounces that went away from us.

Need to come up with something in the red zone when the predictable obstruction of the ball comes because we are not getting yellows.

The Bulls ran a tap penalty move and scored while we kicked from under the posts to the touch line and gave them three chances to compete for our ball.

It's like they knew they could force the line out or escape with 3 and did their line out video work.
They ran a short penalty with a variation. Meanwhile we gave up filied position under the sticks and they struck gold with three steals.

You feel Leinster might be cooked for a season or two. A summer in NZ and WC is going to be tough on the squad

Noel Hewson In the long run this might be a good thing. As a die hard fan last month has been tough. However win lose draw you continue to support the team. They have given us many good days so we can endure the rest.


Sean Michaels Unfortunately we picked the wrong game for so many individual players to have an “Off day”. Line out was a complete shambles, yes Bulls closed the gap illegally IMO but we should still be better than that. Should Bulls have got a yellow for cynical infringements, did the ref get a lot of calls wrong in Bulls favour probably, is that the reason we lost, no it wasn’t. Is Ross Byrne a successor to JS, on that performance? A definite no. This is a massive wake-up for both Leinster & Ireland and I think it’ll have a massive rethink about who gets on the plane to NZ

James Griffin Hard luck Leinster Folks. Over to Ulster now. (Seems to me that all the provinces need some big, hairy, nasty, grumpy, powerful forwards to counteract the big men of other sides.)


Kevin OCeallaigh Tough result. Lots to question about the refereeing decisions, but clearly Bulls did their homework on what was acceptable and played to it. More concerning for us was that the Bulls did what La Rochelle did successfully, and Leinster didn’t have a Plan B when it was clear that their Plan A wasn’t working. A lot of work for Cullen and Lancaster over the Summer. Two losses doesn’t make a good team bad, but we will need a new approach to these big SA sides, because simply crashing into them over and over doesn’t work.

Paul McSweeney (reply to Kevin OCeallaigh) Agreed Kevin. We were over powered and didn’t have the on-field ability to adapt. I think other teams now have us figured out and we need an alternative approach for when we get shut down. In the long run we will learn from this and be the most effective and ruthless team on the planet.

One last point. I feel so sad and disappointed. I shouldn’t be as it’s only sport but I can only imagine how the team, squad and Organization is feeling. We were on for the double and end the season with nothing. Bitter. We’ll come back stronger, angrier, single minded and ruthless. Leinster ‘til I die.


Conor O'Shea Forced and unforced errors. Missed Lowe, Keenan and Sexton. Sheehan did well though line outs were poor. Hope Ulster can do it

Ger Ecki (reply to Conor O'Shea) yeah that trio were amazing against La Rochelle....we missed SOB Kearney and Heaslip - players who always delivered in big matches!


Tony Kelly Fix when times up it’s up. Blow the whistle.SA have a home final which is good for Tickets & TV where the the money is & pays the bills. 🤷‍♂️. Soccer in Paris v handball comes to mind. 45 million viewers v 2 million for🇮🇪🤫 €€€€€ makes the World go round. Just Sayin.😎

Pieter Smit Bulls brought a pressure game and did not allow Leinster the space and freedom to play there natural game.


Gerald Williamson The Bulls learned from the La Rochelle v Leinster game. Leinster lacked cohesion in counteracting the Bulls up front. Lineouts were woeful at time. Personally, I was not to impressed with the referee. On the general run of play , the Bulls just about deserved the win.

Louis Hoffman Johnny on the bench was arrogance or stupidity. Management have to take the blame.


Chris McDonnell Ross Byrne is not good enough he's not even the best outhalf in his own family. . The call by cullen to start him cost us the season. If sexton is fit he starts in a semi final. Frawley is far more likely to bring the game to the opposition. At least he'd have a go.

Neil "Keego" Keegan My thoughts are that people shouldn’t post without rewatching the game and being sober 😉


Claire O'Connell Hugely disappointed for the team on tonight’s result, knew it would be a tough one but still thought we’d get it over the line. There’s been a few like this over last couple of years where we’ve just been fairly beaten on the day, overall let’s leave the refs out of it. Easier in other years to put it down to an “off day”…not anymore…too many “off days” in last couple of years in the biggest matches…if Leinster have been “off” in games in past years we always blamed it on a bad day, never crediting the opposition for that for the most part. Now it seems clear that Leinster are for the last three years being faced at the final hurdles by bigger and better teams that find a way to unsettle and destabilise their game. On the plus side I think tonight has shown that the involvement of the SA teams really strengthens the tournament…so much more beneficial than the farcical “contest” with Glasgow last week. Playing against the likes of the Bulls week in week out can only benefit the development of all the provincial teams in the long run

Peter Byrne Surprised we don’t use our bench more, depth is only an asset if you use it.


Many thanks to all who offered opinions.

Look out Monday for our match writeup JLP

Front Five - 12.06.22

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



The northern province had led through first-half tries from Robert Baloucoune and Stewart Moore but didn't score after the turn


Jonathan Bradley - Belfast Telegraph

"There's so much work that goes into getting the team to knockout games and to fall short here, particularly at home in the RDS at this time of year, is disappointing."


Ruaidhri O'Connor - Irish Independent

Toulouse beat their Maritime rivals for a seventh straight time, a run which includes last season’s Top 14 and European finals.


Rugby365.com (via AFP)

The Blues had a 20-7 lead at half-time but were held scoreless after the break


SkySports.com

Tigers booked a Twickenham appointment with Saracens next Saturday.


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

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