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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Jonny Sexton's great pass sets up Brian O'Driscoll try vs Cardiff Blues

Leinster progressed to the Heineken Cup semi finals following a fairly one sided 34-3 win over Cardiff Blues in Dublin on Saturday. The home side scored four tries, but none better than this sublime piece of backline play, orchestrated by Jonny Sexton.

Fullback Rob Kearney was his usual commanding self as he scored two tries Isa Nacewa scored one, and the returning Brian O'Driscoll scored the other.

Flyhalf Sexton kicked 14 points and played a hand in most things, including the below try that featured an unforgettable inside ball which carved up the struggling Blues defence. Coach Joe Schmidt was full of praise for him, not only for his general play but for the regulation stuff too.

"His kicking is always top-notch. He's leading the Pro12 stats with 91.8 per cent. That shows the measure of the preparation that he puts in," he said.

Reigning champions Leinster, now undefeated in the Heineken Cup in 13 games, will face Clermont in Bordeaux on 29 April, a challenge that Schmidt says will be entirely different.

"The semi-final will be horrendously tough. To win away from home in a semi final doesn't happen very often. It is an extremely tough feat to achieve. There was a lot of pressure and expectation on us today, and I was really happy with our execution in the first half. We relaxed a little bit after that, but we defended our line well. We dug in," he said.

The Blues are going through a tough time of late, with distractions in the form of the recent Gavin Henson dismissal, and then more importantly some significant injury absentees. Wales captain Sam Warburton is out with a shoulder injury, Jamie Roberts is having a knee reconstruction, and locks Paul Tito and Deiniol Jones are also out.

Coach Gareth Babner says that things will only get tougher in the next year or so as they look to rebuild, recruit, and develop a new group of players. Xavier Rush said it's the end of an era.

"This is was the last time that a lot of these guys will be together in this environment on this stage. We wanted to end on a really positive note but it wasn't to be as we were beaten by a better side."

Below is the Brian O'Driscoll try, which features that quality inside ball from Sexton

Posted at 7:19 am | 72 comments

Brian O'Driscoll back from the dead, then a neat flick pass

Leinster fight back to win classic Heineken Cup Final

Brian O'Driscoll's air punch at Ulster's Chris Henry

Don't Stop Believing - the Brian O'Driscoll collection

Brian O'Driscoll's great chip & chase try vs Wasps

Brian O'Driscoll's moment of genius against Ulster

Posted in Great Tries, See it to Believe it

Viewing 72 comments

stroudos April 10, 2012 9:39 am

Very nice.

But - and I reckon I can get away with this because I'm not from the southern hemisphere - it's not THAT special. You see moves like this every single week in Super Rugby.

Still, a decent training ground drill very well executed.

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BuzzKillington April 10, 2012 1:04 pm

You're right, but nobody in the NH will accept it, instead it will be argued that SH defence is poor, even though NH teams can't seem to score against you.

In New Zealand and Australia there's a great sporting culture where kids play tag, Sevens, other valuable skills are learned playing basketball and the like.

The SH has better athletes and a better culture. In particular NZ Rugby and Australian League are streets ahead of anything you see in the NH as far as the basic skills go. In the NH a lot of professional players have a passing, catching and running game that would be considered semi-pro at best down South, a lot of it would be considered outright amateur.

There's a more productive culture down South, and much better athletes playing the game, rather than the posh boys up North who are pretty ordinary in both criteria.

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johndoe April 10, 2012 2:13 pm

The skill level is for the most part higher in the SH but this isn't something that happens regularly in the SH. It is never as clean and fluid as this move was here. It's not very often that a move like that comes off so well and a ball carrying player is never touched by the defense.


And as for better athletes? I don't agree with that either. I just think SH players are trained to be more natural and fluid with the ball from a younger age e.g. handling, passing. It shows from 1 - 15 (e.g. props passing the ball on instead of killing play).

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BuzzKillington April 10, 2012 3:56 pm

I would have to disagree, johndoe. In NZ the sport is god-like, they pick the best athletes and they have lots of polynesians, who seem naturally built for rugby, football etc.

In Australia the story is similar, apart from Rugby isn't that popular, but Australia has a very health sport culture, most the Aussie players will have been raised with league, afl, basketball etc.

In the NH it's just not the same, sporting attitudes are different and we have poor choice of athletes. It's like Martin Johnson said "In Rugby we take good players and make them good athletes". The only problem with that is it doesn't apply globally. In the SH the professionalism is higher and they're happy to take great athletes and make them great players. We take dopey looking posh breeds and try to make them great athletes, it doesn't work.

I think you'd have to be mad to think NH athletes are as good

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Rich_W April 10, 2012 7:50 pm

Guess I'm mad. I'm going to wade in here because I think touting the SH as better athletes is a bit one eyed, and you seem to have a very outdated view on English rugby RE your 'posh boys' sentiment.

First i'll start with a few points I agree on. Players of Polynesian descent do seem to have perfect genetics for rugby, in that respect teams with more polynesian players will be a bit more physical and dynamic in the loose. Also I think that the culture in NZ does lend itself to a faster game with basic skills being developed earlier than in the NH.

But! I think your first issue is with how you are defining the superiority of these athletes. By strength, I think NH packs have a lot more static strength than their SH counterparts. Sheridan could match up pretty respectively with a lot of powerlifters. By speed, a few English club players could have had a career in sprinting. Ugo Monye, Topsy Ojo (anyone remember him) and Marcel Garvey all have insane PB's in 100m.

I think you are basing the 'superior althete' argument on the fact that they play a more open game in the SH and so their players (especially the forwards) are conditioned to be a touch leaner and more dynamic. Whereas in the NH, where the forward battle is a huge aspect of the game, monster forwards are a bit more of a commodity.

Finally as for you saying we pick posh boys. I'm going to name some members of recent England squads who are proud northerners like myself.

Ben Foden
Chris Ashton
Richard Wigglesworth
Geoff Parling
David Strettle
Andrew Sheridan
Marc Cueto
Owen Farrell
Charlie Hodgson

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stroudos April 10, 2012 9:05 pm

*Pedant alert*
Andrew Sheridan was born in Bromley, Kent. And went to the considerably posh Dulwich College.

By the way, are you saying if you're a northerner you can't be posh?

Richard Wigglesworth - no idea how posh or not, but with a name like that sounds like he should be in the Officers' Mess somewhere guffawing loudly with the chaps.

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moddeur April 10, 2012 10:14 pm

I'll add my 2 cents from over here in SW France. The sport is so generalised over here that people from all walks of life play it. Small villages around Toulouse sometimes even have 2 playing fields. In my amateur team, there are two shop clerks, one garden trimmer, four unemployed (one is even on minimum/bum dole) -- but we also have a leucemia research lab director, a few engineers and what not ... some guys have exotic sounding names or a dark skin, there's one English bloke and an Australian (we had an American player, a university history teacher, but he's too busy to play with us these days). I gather that my team is a good display case for NH rugby, we come from all walks of life, we're not specifically posh!

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Rich_W April 10, 2012 10:26 pm

I ruled out Toby Flood as he went to a very well to do school in the North East.

I stand corrected on the Shed. As an ex bricklayer playing for sale I assumed he was northern.

I was replying mainly due to buzzs' tone suggesting that all England players were Eton educated stereotypical 'Tim nice but dim' types.

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BuzzKillington April 11, 2012 1:04 am

Lol at all your predictably and unrealised blind patriotism. I'm English, I have no SH bias or anything of the sort.

And while Rich might enjoy wasting paragraphs making up lies about the type of people who play English rugby, probably believing I'm from the SH and wouldn't know any better, anyone who lives in England can tell you just the type of people who play and watch Rugby. It's a prawn sandwich eating sporting, primarily watched by prawn sandwich eating people. As a working class man I'm out of place at and in most games.

Anyone who objects to that assessment is one of the aforementioned prawn sandwich eaters and can't accept the demographic of English Rugby.

The insecurity of English fans and players makes me laugh, and I laugh mostly because they can't bring themselves to the truth. The truth is in the SH they have freak athletes with freak skills.

In England we have, for the most part, posh boys with limited ability. Until this is accepted we'll continue to fall behind the other nations. The sort of people who say "oh no English rugby isn't posh, and there are no geographic differences" are the same type who will deny that white blokes are inferior to Polynesians and Africans on the Rugby field. It's the same character traits you find in mend with laughably small penises who insist "it's not the size, it's how you use it", while refusing to accept that someone with a 9 inch anaconda who can use it is going to trump someone with a 4 inch midget-dong who can use it.

It's out and out insecurity. The SH are better, in both the athletic and skill department.

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brecor April 11, 2012 3:54 am

Haha, the synchronic essentialism on display in this thread is overwhelming. It's like reading a 19th century colonialist travel book. Hilarious!

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moddeur April 11, 2012 9:18 am

Hahaha you really got me laughing here, I re-read the thread and realized that we were all doing exactly that!

The musculature of the polynoid male man and the cranial disposition of the English Eton graduate are, in essence, the topic of our much elated argumentation, wouldn't you say so, Sir Holmes? The simple folk here in rural France, from the sauntering weavers to the workhouse paupers, are by no means superior to their overseas counterparts, I'll say not, is it not so?

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johndoe April 11, 2012 11:20 am

@Buzz


It's out and out insecurity. The SH are better, in both the athletic and skill department.

It's pretty to tell you're English. Or you're pretending to be English. You being out of place in most games wouldn't be typical of northern hemisphere rugby. As far as I know, it's even typical in a lot of England these days.

I'm not an English fan... I'm not even originally from the NH. The SH don't have freak athletes. They have been developed differently and play the game differently.

I'm not sure if you're just confused or using genetics as an excuse for inferiority? Can't really understand why you'd argue either…

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brecor April 11, 2012 1:22 pm

The irony about all this is, some of the rubbish being spouted here actually comes from a lack of education! Haha, you couldn't make it up!

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stroudos April 11, 2012 7:22 am

Ah. Inferiority complex it is then!

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BuzzKillington April 11, 2012 3:32 pm

There's no inferiority complex. England has an athletic pool to shame most countries, the problem is none of them are in Rugby.

The working class white population and the large West African and Caribbean population in England would make for a team that could athletically hang with anyone.

The problem is none of them are playing the game. Where as in places like NZ they get a pick of the best athletes in the country, in England the best athletes want nothing to do with the game. That's a sad truth.

It's easy to mock me, it's much more difficult to argue me wrong.

There are 2 ways the argument falls, we either agree the English game is full of upper class sorts because they're better athletes, or we agree the game is full of upper class sorts because the working class community aren't playing the game at grass roots.

It's a dichotomy, pick one or the other.

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stroudos April 11, 2012 3:53 pm

Far too many ill-mannered yobbos in the game already for my liking.

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RedYeti April 12, 2012 1:41 pm

It seems like you are blaming the upper classes (who I agree may dominate rugby, at least at schoolboy level) for something that isn't their fault. It's not the fault of boys playing rugby at private schools that the vast majority of state schools only offer football. The simple fact is that football is ludicrously more popular, and especially amongst less well-off demographics.

Rugby is growing and diversifying all the time though. There are plenty of elite players from less well-to-do backgrounds now as the game becomes more professional and widespread. I remember reading once that Ugo Monye was more of a football fan than a rugby one, but he considered rugby his career. This appears to be the case for many of the England squad if you follow them on Twitter. Ben Morgan the new England 8 was a plumber until he joined the Scarlets a couple of years ago, Andrew Sheridan was a bricklayer and there are plenty of other examples. I wouldn't blame anything but the immense popularity of football for the over-representation of wealthier groups in rugby at the moment.

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johndoe April 12, 2012 10:18 pm

So you're actually just talking about England?

Anyway, this isn't the smartest debate I've gotten involved in. Better to drop out I think.

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johndoe April 10, 2012 8:32 pm

I'm not sure if you are talking about all SH players or just Polynesians…

Athleticism is determined by genetics. There is no genetic difference between people in the northern hemisphere and people in the southern hemispheres so if you were speaking about players in general, well, what you said is not correct. If you are talking about Polynesians, well, firstly there are Polynesians in both hemispheres who may be good athletes, but they may not be the best rugby player. Not to mention there are a lot of non-polynesian players in the SH, especially in South Africa obviously. Either suggestion would still imply that the difference between the hemispheres is not athleticism.


I play have played for 3 different rugby clubs and have played many sports. The differences in attitudes between the clubs and people are massively different, even at that level so I'm not sure how you can generalise the attitudes of all nations, clubs, players and coaches from two different hemispheres and say there is only a difference between two hemispheres. Obviously that is not the case.

I wouldn't really consider much of what Martin Johnson says to be honest.




I think you are confusing athleticism for skill and a more open playing style and you are generalising quite a bit.

And I agree with Rich on the posh lad view being a bit outdated by the way. Not that that is even an issue as "posh" lads are not better genetically different from non-posh lads.

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Ujwol April 14, 2012 11:53 pm

Polynesians are better rugby players??? Thats a load a cr**. Then how come Fiji, Samoa, Tonga..are behind Ireland, England, Wales, France and even Italy? One thing, Kiwis are really great at...to rob best players from these countries and play them as Kiwis...Jonah Lomu???

I have to agree though NH rugby at the moment is not as good as SH..

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Vanadyel April 10, 2012 2:19 pm

You're much more of a buzz killer than Buzz Killington. Oh wait that's you.

No seriously, all you can say about that pass is that it's just a strategy they've obviously been working on that was perfectly executed. It's not flair (i think)... so nothing really fantastic here.

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Full Back April 15, 2012 6:41 pm

I think you need to live somewhere before you can have a proper grasp of the culture, I'm going to hazzard a guess that you haven't lived in both hemispheres from what you've written.

Serge Blanc, Gareth Edwards, Shane Williams, Brian O'Driscoll are all from the NH, are they unskilled in your opinion?
Australia lost to Ireland in the World Cup and Wales and France did fairly well for themselves, is that because they're at amatuer level, semi-pro at best?

The game is very different down the south, but it's also reffed very differently as they try and spice it up to compete with league as a spectacle. Slightly forward gets let off on a regular basis and the defence is usually reffed harshly while the sealing is allowed in the rucks to keep the ball moving. You can be for or against that, it's a matter of opinion, but athleticism and skill should not be confused with one another.

In Ireland you have a great sporting culture where gaelic football has produced players like Bowe, Earls and Kearney (the latter is probably one of the most skilled players in the world under a high ball), you also have the biggest tag tournament in the world held in Limerick. http://www.google.it/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=worlds%20biggest%20tag%20rugby%20tournament&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCoQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tagrugby.ie%2FTag-Rugby-Pig-N-Porter.html&ei=mgeLT4qjEMyO4gTCvo2GCg&usg=AFQjCNHZg3JbVK-qIpsdx9IPiesoLqQ3eQ&cad=rja

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Brick Shithouse April 10, 2012 7:28 pm

"a lot of it would be considered outright amateur."

There is no doubting that the SH have been and will probably continue to be the superior nations in world rugby but that's just ridiculous, "semi-pro", you're pulling my leg, a French side in absolute meltdown nearly beat NZ in the final, Ireland beat Australia comprehensively and Wales should have beat South Africa. Absolute gross exxaggeration and a real insult to all players playing in the Northern Hemispehere

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johndoe April 10, 2012 8:35 pm

I assumed he was just trolling... Probably one of those from the southern hemisphere with a grudge. Idiotic statement.

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stroudos April 10, 2012 10:16 pm

@johndoe - I think I'm right in saying Buzz is British (or NH at least). Whether he's just insistently realistic or suffers an inferiority complex depends on your interpretation. Not a troll though...

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James April 13, 2012 8:47 am

That's a bit of a stretch!! Every single week. Just appreciate it!

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Luke April 10, 2012 10:24 am

Great move but very poor defence. If you see that every week in Super rugby well what does that say.

I'm not looking to start the usual NH v SH stuff. Anyone who saw the match the other day couldn't but notice Cardiff's apathy in the first half. I don't think any of the other quarter finalists would have allowed leinster pull that move off quite so smoothly.

Great match though.

-Leinster fan-

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James April 13, 2012 8:54 am

Great response here....
Why I let these SH / NH debates annoy me!

Wish they would just satisfy us all with a world club final (each year being played at one of the locations)!
Calendar is the only challenge I see - as it HAS to be commercially viable!

(possibly...Leinster v Chiefs???)

Would be brilliant! :D

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al April 10, 2012 10:44 am

I agree....
As far as i could see SH defence is very .....average...... that gives the attack more space to do fancy stuff... therefore it looks nicer :)
Peace

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Jwall April 12, 2012 10:27 am

Hey whatever you want to believe. Overall SH teams have a much better record and always have. There's lot of reasons why, but having a bad defence isnt one of them.
SH teams gernerally have excellent defenc,e in fact most of the tactics employed by NH teams are imported from the SH and many are implemented (especially at club level) by SH coaches.
As a famous All Black said over 100 years ago, "Yes you invented the game. We just taught you how to play it."

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Full Back April 15, 2012 6:48 pm

The best defence coach at the moment (recognised by most) is Shawn Edwards of Wales while Brunel is considered to be the first coach to regularly implement plays where there are double lines of attack, this was to deal with the rush defence that most french teams at the time used (around the time that France managed to beat the All Blacks)
If we're talking club teams I'd have to point out that the Super 15 has a higher average of missed tackles than the HC. As for International Rugby no one touches the All Blacks in my opinion, but they hardly represent the whole SH in my opinion.

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johndoe April 10, 2012 2:15 pm

There are less tries and less points scored.

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al April 10, 2012 9:47 pm

They win the games :) or the games are very very!! close ...
I still think France would have won the game if Joubert wouldn't have had such a bad game but Ireland beating Australia and basically dismantling their attack shows what a good defence can do .....
And Wales vs South Africa was a very close one too.....

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ruckinmaul April 10, 2012 11:49 am

the Irish backline always run so fast when they do the setpiece stuff. really great to see. And really, one-sided game, full strength Leinster team against the injury depleted Cardiff.

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Guy April 10, 2012 12:13 pm

Not meant to be a souerpuss but that pass looked marginally forward to me, mostly because Sexton is running sideways. Otherwise: beautifull try.

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Reality April 10, 2012 12:15 pm

Was anyone else just blown away by how much better Leinster were in this game than Cardiff? I mean I've never seen a quarter-final of the Heineken Cup wrapped up with only 34 minutes on the clock. After they got their 4th try at around 44 minutes they really just packed up shop. Otherwise it would have been record-breaking. They're just such a complete team. Almost like an All Blacks of European club rugby. Long may it last.

I think Clermont vs Leinster could be the game of the year. Two fantastic teams, showing similar dominance in their quarter-finals. I'm going to go for Ulster vs Leinster in the final. I don't see even Clermont at home stopping this Leinster machine.

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Vanadyel April 10, 2012 1:13 pm

Leinster is just a win machine (like Toulouse usually). But I can't agree when you say nobody/nothing can stop 'em.
1) Clermont lost to Leinster in 2010 in Dublin due to Brock James' foot (and I hate to incriminate an only player).
2) Clermont hasn't lost at home since 2009... despite receiving Leinster during Hcup season 2010-2011.
3) Clermont this year is at its best and looks even better than back in 2010 when they won the Top14.

I'm not saying Clermont will win but all the ingredients are gathered for it to be the game of the year.

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Reality April 10, 2012 6:27 pm

Ok, maybe Clermont can stop them, but Ulster went to Clermont this year and were desperately close to winning, and Leinster seem to be on another level even to Ulster. And when the teams played a few years ago and Brock James missed about a dozen penalties, Leinster weren't the team they are now.

I can't wait for it though. Even if the standard of the game doesn't live up to expectations, the hype and knowledge that two seriously good teams are playing will be enough to satisfy me.

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brecor April 11, 2012 3:59 am

Just like to point out that Clermont will not be at home. The game will be in Bordeaux, not in the Stade Marcel Michelin. It will be an absolute cracker though!

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ConorL April 11, 2012 12:52 pm

1) Leinster are a measureably better team now than in 2010. Cheika's team were built on an outstanding defense, but Schmidt's version has both the defense and the most free-flowing attack in the NH.
2) Clermont will not be at home. The game will be in Bordeaux, not in the Stade Marcel Michelin. Big bonus for Leinster.
3) Clermont are currently 2nd in the Top14 to a Toulouse side that barely made it out of a pool including Connacht, and who just got embarrassed by Edinburgh of all teams. Edinburgh!!

I do agree with you on one point though. This has 'Game of the Year' written all over it!

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ruckinmaul April 11, 2012 12:13 pm

its a one-sided game, full strength Leinster team against the injury depleted Cardiff. Full strength Cardiff might have challenge Leinster, but to win, it will be a different stuff.

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BDizzle April 10, 2012 12:34 pm

In terms of the HCup, leinster will have learned v little from this game. Am pretty sure they'd have preferred to come thru a tougher test (no disrespect to cardff). Wud fancy Clermont/Ulster for the comp am afraid!

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DanPaddyAndy April 10, 2012 1:39 pm

Why is this on rugbydump???. its standard enought stuff, nothing special (just good) when you follow Super 15. Why not just show highlights of the game. And I'm from leinster so i dont want to hear and NH/SH shite.

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flyingpepper April 10, 2012 2:13 pm

Agree it's nice, but not amazing, would be good to see highlights of the whole game.

But like others disagree with this idea of a huge gap between NH and SH. Think some of those comments are trying to create an argument, trolling at best. Super 15 has its good and bad just like any of the NH cups or leagues.

Think this really just shows the benefit Ireland should have from having a number of players that know how to play off each other so well.

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Jwall April 12, 2012 10:33 am

I agree that there isn't a huge gap. But there clearly is a gap. Its patently obvious that SH teams are more succesful and that most NH tactics are drawn directly from the SH.
However the NH is getting slowly closer.
At this point the gap is down mostly to slightly better tactics and slightly better skills from SH teams, as well as a more attacking mentality from SH teams (possible because of the better skills).

There's no difference in athletisicism, physicalty, the basic skills or the set piece (the NH even has the edge in the scrums alot of the time).
There used to be, even fifteen years ago NH teams lagged behind in all these things.

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Casual Observer April 10, 2012 2:20 pm

If I may suggest why it's been uploaded, it's because all the stuff worth showing about Super XV (complete with the ball handling and steps) is already on Rugbydump? Not going to start/further the debate on the NH/SH divide, but if it's equivalent to what's being shown on Super Rugby... and Super Rugby has been consistently uploaded... Why not something from the NH for once?

As for the play itself, thought it was a really well-worked set piece and the handling at speed is on-par with the top Super XV (i.e. international backs of SH) players. Reminds me of Morne Steyn's tap-down pass after being given the hospital ball for SA (can't remember the opposition, sorry!).

Anyway, the skills that tend to be showcased in Super XV are brilliant off-loading in tackles (Conrad Smith's over the weekend against the Sharks) and more dynamic running, and a general willingness to pull of riskier plays (for whatever reason - some may suggest it is due to the lack of a relegation system). To me, that's separate from the passing game which some NH teams (the Irish as well as the French teams) seem just as adapt at as the SH teams.

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Jwall April 12, 2012 10:36 am

"and a general willingness to pull of riskier plays (for whatever reason - some may suggest it is due to the lack of a relegation system)."

It has more to do with confidence based on slightly better fundamental skills.
SH offloads stick more often, they produce flashier players overall.

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RedYeti April 12, 2012 1:48 pm

They are confident because there is less fear of losing. Super Rugby is a long campaign with a reasonable amount of leeway for the occasional loss when your attacking play doesn't come off. There's also no relegation so worst comes to worst all that's hurt is your team's pride.

I also never understand the comparison between Super Rugby and most NH competitions. For a start the SR teams are provincial and dilute the talent pool of a country much less (more comparable to the Welsh provinces rather than the English or French clubs), and secondly it is played internationally. It's not a domestic competition and should only really be compared to the Heineken Cup, but even this is not fair. The Heineken is a knock-out system more like the World Cup than Super Rugby, which means teams are playing to avoid losing most of the time. Knockout rugby is not usually conducive to the kind of play Leinster pulled off here, which is why it's a bit special (considering this was a quarter final).

I didn't see the SH international sides pulling shit like this in the RWC knockout stages. Where were their fabled better, flashier skills then? :P

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Dec April 17, 2012 4:41 am

Well the closest thing to the S14 is the Pro 12, (4 countries), 5/8 H-cup quarter finalists, none of which lost to non pro12 opposition. I do rate the Top 14 but the Aviva Premiership is so boring, how about they try making some tackles every now and again.

Leinster have become a great team over the last 3-4 years by becoming very shrewd defensively. If someone is within 5m of the line I don't worry because they usually set the defence so well.

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mise April 10, 2012 3:33 pm

Ah lads do we have to go there so early - NH vs SH? God knows we've been over that enough times....

Yes its true there's lots more of that sort of play in the SH, and in France - e.g. the Stade tries in the recent RD clip was full of great offloading etc...but, and here's the difference this time:

I distinctly get the impression that Leinster weren't even pushing it really hard in this match. there were many occasions where they could have gone for risky and high octane offloads, but they seemed to be able to trust themselves to just go to ground, make a few yards, recycle...and score anyway. Great balance between continuity and more traditional forward play. Less risky, less chance of an intercept.

And also a v solid defense. This lower risk and good defence approach is backed up by the fact that Cardiff only managed to score 3 points. In the whole match.


In this context, stats on the scoreline gaps between winners and losers in NH and also SH games in the top tier would be interesting...to a point......(I dont believe I've just added to the NH SH debate!)


Leinster's game is fairly complete at the mo - each area works well for them (a bit like Toulouse a few years back)

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mise April 10, 2012 3:38 pm

on the try itself (!)

The overhead reply shows it well: they certainly drew in defenders really well, esp Reddan (#9): 3 Cardiff players seemed to gravitate towards him. 5 cardiff players transfixed by the move.

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i love bacon April 10, 2012 3:46 pm

I think it's fair to call the Cardiff's defense into question, but what impresses me more about the clip is something that Leinster are one of the best teams at - timing of runs and passes.

Yeah, it's just an inside ball, but the timing of the pass - no look, just pop the ball out - was perfect. The ability to know when your runner is going to be there, when the pass will be made, where the ball is going to end up - it's what any back line strives for, but rarely achieves. And Leinster are terrific at it.

Maybe the play isn't all that spectacular or one-of-a-kind, but it's just a beautifully worked try.

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redwan_ April 10, 2012 4:36 pm

Absolute belief from Sexton that his man inside would be there. And wonderful support from BOD. How rugby should be played. Leinster are such a team. Hope we (Edinburgh) get to show them what we're worth in the Heineken Cup final.

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Johanroos April 10, 2012 4:48 pm

Leinster are the best club side in the world and would hammer everyone except the crusaders. They are also far better than the Ireland team. The best rugby athlete in the world is Tom Croft not Pierre Spies.

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Reality April 10, 2012 6:31 pm

Both fine athletes, but I think Stephen Ferris deserves a mention here. Unbelievably powerful and one of the quickest backrowers you'll see, not to mention a good footballer.

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DanPaddyAndy April 11, 2012 10:02 am

How do you know leinster are the best of club team in the world. and comparing them with the current crusaders makes me think you are talking through your hole. Crusaders aren't even the in the top 3 teams in the SH at the moment. Bulls and Stormers would be better teams..... and i may include the Chiefs.
But my main point here is, this clip should have been part of highlights and i didnt think it warranted a "clip of its own"

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Full Back April 15, 2012 6:58 pm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Rugby_Club_Rankings for European Clubs. Also the Crusaders beat the stormers this week and were runners up last year. After just 7games played it's a bit early to write them off don't you think?
Having said that I think we'd have to see a few games between clubs before we could make a call on it, but to consider Leinster amongst the best on current form isn't exactly ridiculous as far as I'm concerned

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terminan April 10, 2012 9:32 pm

i would love a match between the h cup champion and the s 15 champion then we can prove to the SH that our club rugby is just as good as theirs. also NZ are the only nation significantly better. SA and Australia are just the same as the NH nations.

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i love bacon April 11, 2012 2:31 am

I disagree with the last sentence (unfortunately), but I wholeheartedly agree with the first one. I wonder how we could petition to have something like that happen. I doubt Rugbydump could get that done alone, but I wonder if that could get support going for a Heineken Cup vs. Super Rugby championship game.

There aren't many good reasons for it not to happen, either. Yeah, there's the whole delay factor, with the two competitions finishing at separate times, but I bet it could be worked out.

And judging from how well the Super Rugby match played at Twickenham last year did (not phenomenal, but pretty damned good for a less-than-well-advertised, everyday match), I can imagine the turnout for the cross-hemisphere club championship would be pretty terrific.

And, like mise linked to - if they can do an exhibition/practice match like that, why couldn't they do a high-profile championship...

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moddeur April 11, 2012 9:34 am

I think it's bound to happen at some point, from a purely financial interest. Seats would be very expensive, the event would be Superbowl-like.
But the whole time-gap between both competitions indeed makes it really hard to plan. I guess the only good way to do it would be to have semi-finals instead of just one final, this way one match would happen to the NH's seasonal advantage, and the return to the SH's advantage, and both of these would alter each year. So basically take the two finalists of the previous year's H cup and S15 ...

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Eggman April 12, 2012 1:47 pm

http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-union/union-news/champions-league-may-come-to-rugby-20120121-1qb4w.html

There seem to be some attempts to introduce this, but as you said the calendar is a major issue, especially considering all the international games going on during the off-season..

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Jwall April 12, 2012 10:38 am

"SA and Australia are just the same as the NH nations."

Even though they both have a much better record, historically and recently? Even though they both have two world cups each?

I think that's ridiculous.

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mise April 10, 2012 11:58 pm

this warm up game happened last summer:

(V much a warm up game, mind, most top tier players not there)

http://www.leinsterrugby.ie/matchcentre/8300.php

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Brick Shithouse April 11, 2012 2:18 pm

As a 100% biased Leinster fan, is it just me or are Leinster just operating on a different plane to the rest of Europe? Having watched all 4 quarter finals , the quality of their attacking was on another level up from what any other club side in the NH are doing. Cardiff were so so poor though and their other huge win against Bath was also against weak opposition. Game against Clermont should be a cracker, if anyone can beat them in France its Leinster.

On a side note, sure Joe Shmidt has to be considered for a role with the Lions and possibly as Kidney's replacement for the Ireland job.

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Reality April 11, 2012 11:27 pm

If it was up to me I'd make him the next pope.

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Pretzel April 11, 2012 11:51 pm

After reading a few of the comments up there I decided I cannot be bothered to trawl through them all....

I will however leave you with some words which sadly someone told me which they felt were true:

"Anyone can play the piano, its just a matter of hitting the right keys at the right time"

Sort of sums up the idiocy that many of you seem to be displaying up there ^^^

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mise April 12, 2012 12:45 am

Thanks for your contribution to the conversation Pretzel! :-)

As per, its not all been Waxing lyrical, by personally, I'm kinda happy at thinking about the victory margins in the NH vs SH as a way to progress that hoary old debate. a little. Without the above, I might not have thought about it. (for more, you'll have to....yes you guessed it - read some of what's above!)

I will aptly enough, leave you with a blind guy bangin away on a keyboard hittin some of the right keys (u can skip the ad on the bottom right of the screen and I'd highly recommend waiting past 30 secs of the actual footage at least)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9Cs_zb4q14

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dagr April 12, 2012 2:54 pm

i firmly believe leinster are of such a high standard that not only could they compete in the super 15 but that they would do very well and have as good a chance of winning it as any side.

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terminan April 12, 2012 6:10 pm

Jwall sorry if i offended. I just meant that in the world cup Wales nearly beat SA and Ireland beat Australia. I don't think the NH teams are better but SA and Australia are not miles out of our league

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Ronan O Mara April 13, 2012 10:42 am

Im an avid Leinster Lions fan. I think this discourse about SH vs NH is a load of drivel. Leinstertainment would win the Super15 easily. #LiveLifeLoveLeinster

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Morgan June 27, 2012 6:28 pm

Leinster, the best Heineken Cup squad the competitions ever seen! 3 in 4, 4 in 5 next year.

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