Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Leinster Senior Cup Schools Rugby

St. Michaels vs Castleknock College Senior Cup First Round

The match was of good quality and a good flow for the most part. The conditions were not suited to any outhalf, although they coped reasonably well. The game itself had plenty of open play, kept predominantly tight and with the forwards, it rarely reached the wingers. The rain was unforgiving to anybody that touched the ball and was very unpredictable. Scrummaging didn't collapse once, lineouts were often won against the head, and there were very few turn overs. 
            Line outs were unpredictable, and sloppy. Having jumpers being lifted slow off the mark. Tackling was consistent, and reliable in tight for Michaels, however Castleknock were weak on the midfield and wing. They did however hold strong on their own line in tight. With some players making some heroic tackles when broken and closing down the Michaels attack. Michaels got some of the most basic aspects of their game out the window, nearly taking the ball into contact at little or no speed. One player that defied this was the hooker, making many breaks during the game. Michaels scrum half was very quick from the breakdown with a flowing pass, and outhalf stringing the next play. Granted the ball was very slippy, but other players should have spread themselves out. With Castleknocks flanker, and captain James O'Neill he created huge amounts of space and made something out of nothing. Twice picking from the scrum and running blind, he wasn't given much options as the winger once cut inside into the play and having the ball go dead, and another when he fended off one tackle and offloaded to another. He played through an injury sustained in pretty much the first play. Having to be attended to by physios, carrying this knock didn't phase the player much as he continued to play well. However he couldn't finish the game as a second injury was too much to hold. However in my opinion he played very well and earned in my view the man of the match.

Match Analysis

  • 1 min- A huge hit at the halfway line see’s Castleknock's number 7, Jack O'Neill go down. He gets back up, Castleknock win their scrum and play down the blindside wing.
  • 3 min-Michaels concede a penalty on their 22 and Castleknock take the three point lead.
  • 6 min-Michaels win their own lineout on their own 22 and kick. They lose possession and Castleknock's 15 James McCormack hard makes good  ground.
  • 8mins-Michaels win their own lineout on Castleknock 22 . Michaels 11 Oisin O'Meara makes      good ground in a run.
  • 13 mins-Michaels knock the ball on on their 22.Castleknock win the scrum.
  • 18 mins-Michaels win their own lineout but knock the ball on.
  • 23 mins-Michaels draw the Castleknock defence from one side to the other and eventually Michaels number 4, Ross Molony gets over. Ross Byrne converts.
  • 26 mins-Michaels win their own lineout.
  • 28 mins-Byrne makes a good break in the center.
  • 30 mins-Michaels miss a penalty.
  • 32 mins-Michaels concede a penalty on their 10metre. Jack O'Neill makes a good break.
  • 33 mins-Michaels concede a penalty in Castleknocks half and jack O'Neill makes another good break.
  • 35 mins-Michaels win a scrum on the halfway. Michaels hooker Richie Allen makes a good break
  • *  Second Half *
  • 37 mins-Castleknock win a scrum on their 22. Castleknock 5 Zaran Butt is subbed for 22 Conor O'Shea.
  • 39 mins-Castleknock win a lineout and roll the ball well in the pack. They knock it on and Michaels fullback, Cian Kelleher makes a good break loses it in contact.
  • 40 mins-Michaels win a scrum against the head on the halfway. James Ryan makes a good break.
  • 44 mins-Jack O'Neill goes down injured. Number 22  replaces the captain.
  • 46 mins-Castleknock attack well and make plenty of ground. Great rucking defense by Michaels Castleknock kick into Michaels 5 metre.
  • 48 mins-Michaels make good ground 12 has a break offloads to 12 who stepped 3 players.
  • 50 mins-Pick and go by Michaels . score, try disallowed for crossing. 5 metre scrum.
  • 52 mins-Michaels turn over and Ross Byrne gets under the posts and converts. 
  • 54 mins-Break by Castleknock, High tackle by Michaels. Penalty awarded to Castleknock and they kick for touch.
  • 55 mins-Castleknock win possession maul it . Michaels turn it over.
  • 57 mins-Castleknock win a lineout against the head.
  • 58 mins-Michaels 3 Denis Coulson off for 16 Conor Duffy
  • 60 mins-Michaels 2 Richie Allen off for 17 Nick Quane
  • 62 mins-Michaels 13 makes a great break in the centre after excellent hands.
  • 64 mins-Scrum down on the Castleknock 10 metre. Castleknock win. Good hands out to the centers.
  • 66 mins-Michaels 21 James O'Connell on for 9 Nick McCarthy
  • 70 mins-Michaels 22 Mark O'Keefe on for 12 Matthew Gilsenen
  • 72 mins-Castleknock scrum down, they win it .
  • 73 mins-Michaels turn it over and kick for touch. Final whistle
  • Full Time, Michaels 14 Castleknock 3

Special Thanks to Michael Kineen for helping write and document the article !

Interview with John Fogarty

Interview with John Fogarty ex Irish International and Leinster player.

(Note this was conducted before the St Michaels match against Catleknock)

We asked, " What are your expectations for the cup this year ?"
He said that basically; Terenure College are favorites however they have a lot to live up to, and maybe they could be too confident ? They do however have a number of good players especially in Billy Dardis, Harrison Brewer, Andy Roche, and Tim Schmidt. But this will not be enough to secure the title.

We asked, "Are there any players to look out for this year ?"
He said again that; there were a good few players in Terenure to look out for. St Micheals have a good foundation in the squad this year with a number of younger players, "I don't like putting pressure on any players so I wont name them" However he indicated there were some from St.Michaels. He did although name that fullback Cian Kelleher would be a threat to any defence. (He proved to be right) In Blackrock, they also had quite a few good players, and that this year would be in preperation for next years effort in winning the cup.

And we asked " In your opinion who is a dark horse this year ?"
I think that Blackrock have been quiet, that said they are always expected todo well every year. This could work to their advantage. They appear to have a chip on their shoulder from last years defeat in the first round to Terenure. Their pack is really quite big, with Oliver Jager and Nicholas Timoney being a big part to it. St Marys have been quiet in this year so far, although they beat Clongowes and St Micheals at home. They have a small but strong side, quick and intelligent on their feet, but will depend on how they get on in Fridays match against CBC Monkstown.

Special Thanks to John Fogarty for allowing us to interview him, and Michael Kineen for helping me write and document the article !

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Schools Rugby Radio Programme "Heave"

Wednesday night, 9-10 pm, 93.9 Dublin South fm.

In the media there is a lot of focus on schools rugby, come this time of the year. Often there are supplements in the newspaper on the tournaments. Sentanta Sports covers the matches live and replays for television, Newspapers have nearly everything covered from the layout of the competition to analysis of the squads and individual players. They do a great coverage and overview of the rugby, but one thing they're lacking, was well captured by Heave. They're following all of the competitions from January until St.Patrick's day in March. This is as far as I know the only designated show to schools rugby !
                Radio has always a been a very big part in sports, having a wide audience and easily accessibility. Heave have made a big impact to the publicity in the sport, being more widespread and accessible. Other shows, have pundits giving their opinions on the level and tempo at how the game is now. These are always from experienced perspectives and from above nearly looking down. What Ian O'Connor and Paul Tuile the presenters did really well, was the ground work they did. Putting in the effort to get the perspectives from the people in the action, first hand instead of from observing. They got an interview with Wesleys Colleges' backs coach, Craig Ronalson, the interview was very informative, having the coaches perspective on the match played against St.Andrews and the match in front of themselves against Roscrea. One aspect of the show, valued very much so is the opinion of the Coaches. This is what separated in my opinion this schools rugby programme from any other.
               They have thorough results in every cup match, from The Fr.Godfrey Cup and Senior Cup. Broadcasting a somewhat bulletin at the start of every show, giving the results of the matches passed, fixtures to come and what they have in the shows agenda. They interviewed Eric Miller, St.Gerrerd's Coach senior cup team coach. They interviewed him via phone call from earlier on in the day showing their research and . Their way of interviewing, is articulate, direct to the point and give a great perspective to everybody.
 Overall the programme is really made a great first impression. They have a Facebook profile and Twitter page, links to them are at the bottom of the article. In my opinion they really are worth tuning into, when texting or calling into the station they dont dismiss your opinion ! Give them the like or follow on twitter !

Heaves Facebook page !
Heaves Twitter Page !

- Feel free to leave a comment, Cheers !

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Second Row Revolution

Could this be the kick start to a new era for second rows ?

In the English squad there are 2 new superb young players that have already made their debut to the limelight, but still have to prove themselves to secure that pair positions. They are both agile, athletic and physical, the credentials for a back rower however in my opinion, seen stronger in the second row. Often finding themselves dominating at the breakdown, and exceedingly strong in the backline defence. One thing they are lacking is experience, this only comes with time. Their names ? Courtney Lawes, and Joe Launchbury...

Courtney Lawes plays for Northampton Saints, he is only 23 years old. He represented England at under 18 and 20's level. Being very young, he has so much potential, his tackling technique is superb, being so tall and having the ability to hit low he pulls off his tackles well, he is obviously a natural athlete, and rugby player. He is lucky in the fact that he has natural speed also, well built to have a strong frame. Instead of being too tall, and pace being a disadvantage. Over all I can see him going very far, perhaps to be one of the first of his generation in versatile second rows hopefully. He also plays as a flanker, but ideally at second row, although he does make a good asset to any backrow.

Joe Launchbury, physically he looks more like a overgrown center, but they way he plays is ferocious. He has speed and is flexible in contact. Being only 21, hes relatively new. Playing with Harlequins development squad and England u18s. In the Junior World Cup he was named England's player of the Tournament. He was then called up to England's first squad, making his debut against the Barbarians in 2012 as a sub. He was voted in December of 2012, the Aviva Premierships "player of the month". He shows great ability in the air in line outs, great carrying of the ball, reliable hands, and he shows off that he is an intelligent player, reading the game well exploiting space and attacking weak tacklers. He is versatile in that he plays flanker regularly but in my opinion he plays better in the second row.
Together they can be a formidable pair, they are the ideal pair for each other. One being a strong head on kind of ball carrier, the other to run at the weak shoulder, they're both superb at tackling though I must say. I guarantee anybody, that in 3-5 years time, these two will be a devastating force to any line out, or open play attack, this will only happen when they both acquire experience.

- Feel free to leave a comment !

Friday, 18 January 2013

Long Lost Brothers ?

Could Ben Foden and Adam Ashley-Cooper be long lost brothers ?

After looking at Ben Fodens tribute uploaded earlier in May of this year today, I thought something was really unusual. I continued watching the video, and the way Foden played was mimicking the Australian center Adam Ashley-Cooper ! I couldn't believe it, I then looked at Coopers tribute videos and highlights and the similarities were off the chain. Never mind how they look, but the way they play. Both have outstanding acceleration, the way they carry themselves on the ball they both try to shake off the defender literally, instead of handing off, and their style in how they approach contact. I'm not saying that they're exactly Quade Cooper when it comes to contact, not at all, they can both pack in some huge hits ! If you dont believe me click on the link to play their videos below.

They are both very versatile in the fact that they can play not only in the back three, but in the center position also. Both fantastic players, if you had either or playing 12 or 13 you would think they're the same person. Another aspect to both their games is that they both have a strong step on them !

- Ben Foden Tribute

- Adam Ashley-Cooper Tribute

- Feel free to leave a comment, Cheers !

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Polish Powerlifter signs for 4th Division Welsh Club

Welsh Rugby club signs Ex-Powerlifting Champion.

Mariusz Pudzianowski, has signed for Welsh Rugby club Amman  United Rugby Football Club. Weighing at 145 kilos in his prime and standing at 6ft 1 inches, he is a powerhouse to say the least. Weather he is physically able to move around the pitch is another question altogether. In 2000 to 2001 he was proven guilty of assault and theft. Assaulting a so called "Mafia Boss" he beat him up in effort to restrain him from assaulting a young man.
                               His main claim to fame was in the sport of Powerlifting he quickly became successful. Winning over 30 strong man competitions he is a well respected athlete in the sport. Another sport the man thrived in was MMA, he first signed a contract with "Konfrontcja Sztuk Walki", a Polish he has a good record of 5 wins out of his 8 fights. The shortest lasting only 39 seconds. Also being a featuring singer to his brothers band, "Zdobyc swiat". As if he couldn't become anymore successful, he runs his own school. Giving courses to bodyguards and bouncers.
Weather he will make any success in this sport is yet to be seen. However by the looks of it, he most certainly can make a good effort.

The club hes signed for a most likely chuffed with themselves, knowing they have this monster on their side, will demolish any hope for any contender. They play in the third division in the Welsh Rugby Union West League. Shane Williams being their only notable past player, hopefully Mariusz will add to the list. ( If not already )

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Lions Tour Fixtures

Lions tour Fixtures 2013.

June 1st -  Lions vs Barbarians - Hong Kong Stadium
June 5th -  Lions vs Western Force - Patersons Stadium
June 8th -  Lions vs Queensland Reds - Suncorp Stadium
June 11th- Lions vs Queensland Province - Hunter Stadium
June 15th- Lions vs Waratahs - Sydney Football Stadium
June 18th- Lions vs Brumbies - Canberra Stadium
June 22nd-Lions vs Australia - Suncorp Stadium
June 25th- Lions vs Melbourne Rebels - AAMI Stadium
June 29th- Lions vs Australia - Etihad Stadium
July 6th -   Lions vs Australia - Sydney

- Times will be added when configured.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Promising players

Leinster A's up and coming players.

In the Leinster squad at the start of the year, a number of players have drifted in and out of the Leinster 23 man squad, replacing another or either being given a chance. Some of the players were given the opportunities to have a little experience under their belt, some really did experience competitive professional rugby and loved it, others not so much.

One player that really did make an impact on their chance was Brendan Macken. He played exceptionally in his matches against Newport Dragons and the Scarlets  (starting both matches). In his match against the Scarlets he intercepted a pass and scored a try, effectively sealing the win with a fifth try for the side. He had a solid performance giving Joe Schmidt a good impression for the future. He will add a lot to the provincial side and Ireland when given the chance. He has however been on the scene for a little while, having his first appearance against Glasgow Warriors in 2010. This was short lived as he then became a solid player with the A side. He did however make several appearances with the Irish u20's (13 in total). He is only young being only 21, he still has time. In my opinion he can makes his way through the ranks pretty quickly. His first objective, being to make the 23 man squad on the Leinster squad, and actually having regular appearances to their matches as a sub. Occasionally playing for the Irish wolfhounds, will add another bit to his career, in effort to make the starting Irish squad in the next 5 or so years. This said, given that Gordon Darcy and Brian O'Driscoll retire he should make the Irish squad for the 2019 world cup.