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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Highlights of Leinster's record breaking Heineken Cup final win over Ulster

Leinster left Twickenham emphatic winners after a clinical performance, beating Ulster 42-14 to win their third Heineken Cup title in four years. They are the only team to successfully defend their title, and did it with the highest ever winning margin.

The all-Irish final looked as though it would be a tight affair but an uncompromising second half, and last ten minutes in particular, from Leinster gave way to a crushing victory over the Ulstermen.

First half tries were scored by Sean O'Brien and Cian Healey, while Heinke Van Der Merwe and Sean Cronin scored late in the game, and Jonathan Sexton kept the scoreboard ticking over.

"It will take a couple of days for it to properly settle in, but after we won one we talked about not being content with that and trying to create some sort of dynasty and something to be remembered by," said Brian O'Driscoll post match.

"We're going in the right direction towards doing that but I know this team will be hungry for more .

"That's why it's enjoyable, You're going in day-in and day-out because you know you're going to be pushed by the guy next to you. We played for one another out there and that really showed today.

In an age where players jump ship with the promise and lure of currency, captain Leo Cullen said he was honoured to be a part of the team he has always loved.

"There is something special about playing for the team you grew up supporting. That is the team you want to represent more than anything. Success with this team means the world to me," he said.

All Black Brad Thorn also deserves a special mention, as he is now the only man to have won a Super Rugby title, a Heineken Cup, and a Rugby World Cup. He's now aged 37.

Posted by Rugbydump at 3:17 pm | View Comments (53)

Heineken Cup Final 2012 - Leinster vs Ulster - Full match

Posted in Heineken Cup Knockout Stages

Viewing 53 comments

Tullowtank May 20, 2012 8:07 pm

Firstly congrats to Leinster, they were undoubtedly the best team in the competition yet again and they fully deserved the title. O'Driscoll's power of recovery really are inhuman, he wasn't even expected to play again this season following his surgery after the world cup and to have knee surgery 8 days before the final and put in the performance he did speaks volumes for his dedication and all round ability. Seeing Sean O'Brien back to his best after a dip in form in recent months post WC 2011 is also fantastic from a Leinster and Irish perspective. Two questions arise though, how is it that Ireland seemingly cannot play to this level? Yet again I am forced to say that Kidney must be removed and a foreign, southern hemisphere coach preferably brought in. We need new ideas and someone to shake things up. Secondly, how is it that so many articles and websites are saying Leinster are the only team to defend the title when Leicster did it before just over 10 years ago!?

Great to see Ulster back in the final too, they've been fantastic to watch for the most part, putting in some devastating performances and can know confidently know the battle for Irish supremacy is not only between Leinster and Munster any more!

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grumbo May 20, 2012 8:14 pm

the places i have seen have all said the second team to defend the title. totally agree about Kidney, i thought he should have gone even before the world cup, he is paralysing the national team

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Full Back May 27, 2012 10:03 am

they're the first team to win 3 titles in 4yrs, not the first to defend the title

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grumbo May 20, 2012 8:10 pm

Awesome performance and team, Seán O'Brien was immense! Brad Thorn's trophy cabinet must be close to collapsing at this stage.

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Reality May 20, 2012 8:37 pm

Really good match to watch; two good teams playing good rugby. I actually think Ulster weren't that bad; Leinster were just much, much better. I was really disappointed with Terblanche though. He was quite poor for the whole match, and that stupid tackle near the end killed any hope they had of a comeback or of keeping the scoreline respectable. If they have Bowe at full-back next year I think they'll be much improved.

I agree with Tullowtank about the national team. Kidney absolutely has to go, yet realistically he won't because the IRFU don't like getting rid of failing coaches.

I also think that the French argument that their teams are too fatigued to play as well as the Irish teams do has been disproved by this match. Leinster have played more matches than Ulster this season, and had a much more demanding semi-final, but were still clearly fitter and in better shape than Ulster.

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TeamDuck May 20, 2012 9:08 pm

I didn't really enjoy it if I'm honest, found nothing really to be excited about. The semi finals were far better to watch.
On the kidney has to go point, he should have blooded the team with new young players in the 6N's, but you look at the two teams yesterday they had a significant southern hemisphere representation, which really doesn't help the Irish cause.

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Reality May 20, 2012 10:41 pm

I'm with D123 further down on the foreign player point. Leinster had very little foreign influence in their team; just Nacewa, Thorn and Strauss out of the 23. And Strauss while not being Irish is going to be Irish-qualified soon enough.

Ulster do have a lot of them in Afoa, Muller, Wannenberg, Pienaar and Terblanche, but that's still lower than what most English and French clubs have. And next year Tommy Bowe and Roger Wilson are coming back, so they'll be less dependent on their imports.

You're right in saying that Kidney should be blooding players though. It's unbelievable that he stills plays Ronan O'Gara, who is 35 years old, Darcy, who is also getting on and has been in terrible form for years, and O'Callaghan. I mean if it's a choice of old, out of form players, and young players who show potential, why stick with the old ones?

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Reality May 20, 2012 10:43 pm

Ah, I forgot Van der Merwe, but that's still only 4 out of 23.

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TeamDuck May 21, 2012 11:36 am

Yeah, fair enough, but the French and English teams have a far larger catchment to pick their national side from so its only natural for them to draft in a lot of foreign players especially when they can afford to do so. There aren't that many top Irish players playing abroad so when you have 4 teams to pick a national side from having a few SH players will delay the development of new younger players.

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Pretzel May 20, 2012 9:19 pm

Barnes is such a tool regarding Terblanche tackle... You can bet your boots that if Nigel Owens had given a red card he'd have creamed himself and gone "That is a red card, no doubt about it!"... The guy knows f'all about the game and has proved it with his moronic commentary time after time after time... All I can say is good job Terblanche isn't brown, otherwise Barnes would be on his usual crusade..

You honestly can't tell me that there isn't some star in the queue wanting his job and can do it better than him?!?! I mean he is picked to commentate time and time again and he comes across as such a patronising cock...

I am actually surprised that tackle did receive a yellow card, I thought we were in the red card for anything like that era now?

Anyway onto the game... The highlights unfortunately don't do Ulster any justice, but it is clear to see that the day was Leinster's so early on, they were so strong from the outset. Brilliant handling and it's shocking to see BOD still doing what he always did.

Congratulations to Brad Thorn, such a deserving player, so nice to see him get a mention.

I second the comments made about the Irish international side... I have no idea how they can perform so badly... For their sake they need to give Kidney a farewell handshake and a t-shirt.. The bloke tried and it didn't work, can't really say much more... No need for hostilities towards him, but realistically if they want any chance at the summer tours, next bunch of 6N's or the following World cup then they need to get to work..

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Cotupina187 May 20, 2012 9:32 pm

I actually quite like Barnes as a commentator...

"The bloke tried and it didn't work"... did u forget he won the grand slam? Hes not gonna get sacked so lets deal with it. Im not his biggest fan either but lets give him more time, if we get schmidt on board for the summer as backs coach it will make some difference and who knows what could happen if its a success!

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Reality May 20, 2012 10:31 pm

'He' won the grand slam in 2009, which was followed by three years of terrible performances and embarrassment. How much more time do you want to give him? If he was trying new players, or new tactics, or if the team seemed to be improving I'd be happy to keep him, but they seem to be getting progressively worse, game by game. He's a relic from when 10-man Munster rugby could win matches. I'd actually be happy to see Eddie O'Sullivan back, if it meant getting rid of Kidney.

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Pretzel May 21, 2012 2:39 pm

Yeh, I am sorry I am with Reality on this one... The Grandslam is nothing to be sniffed at, but very little teams keep a coach on indefinitely. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes spots something interesting. That is why there shouldn't be any "booting kidney out" type of behaviour, it should all be done in a very professional, "thank you very much, we're going to take a new approach now" manner...

As Reality said, it has been the same stuff over and over, and it has got progressively worse.. Did Ireland have their worst 6N this year? (just wiki'd it) Yes they did:
2012 - Played 5 won 2 -3rd place on points
2011 - Played 5 won 3 -3rd place on points
2010 - Played 5 won 3 -2nd place
2009 - Played 5 won 5 -1st place

I mean they have been getting worse...and they have played pretty much the same players... so either other teams are getting better, or age is catching up to the old men in green...

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D123 May 20, 2012 9:20 pm

@TeamDuck, not really that much foreign players on the Leinster team with 19 out of 23 Irish qualified!

Very impressed with Leinster, so clinical and relentless, any club side would of struggled yesterday against them.

Nice to see to see the young lads coming up too with Madigan, McFadden and Cooney etc coming in to make impacts.

And Brad Thorn is a freak, he will be straight back into the Japanese league after the Rabo final, will be interesting to see if he tries his luck in France or England? As he said last week, "The body feels good'!

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grumbo May 20, 2012 10:46 pm

don't forget that come next season Strauss will be Irish qualified so it is more like 20 out of 23!

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LND May 20, 2012 10:25 pm

fantastic atmosphere and great win for Leinster yesterday. The Ulster fans were very gracious and I hope their team bounces back. Leinster were very disciplined when they didn't have the ball, the defence is unreal. As a Leinster man living in London I have been dreaming of this weekend all year!!! Delighted it all worked out :)
Strange how the Irish newspapers and national broadcaster seem less interested in European rugby these days, wonder why...

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Matthew May 20, 2012 10:32 pm

'They are the only team to successfully defend their title'

... since Leicester did it in the 2001/2 season?

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themull May 20, 2012 10:49 pm

"I'm fuller than brad thorn's trophy cabinet"...Funniest line i've heard in a while!

Leinster first team to win 3 in four years..Fantastic achievement..Est European team ever and likely one of the very best teams worldwide of all time...

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cool calm and collected May 20, 2012 11:21 pm

I fear that this is the begining of a new era for Leinster.
They not only have so many class players but YOUNG ones also if you consider; Cian Healy, Fitzgerald, O'Brien, Sexton etc.
As for Sexton, when he plays for Leinster he shows a masterclass in kicking, passing and controlling, with glimses of real flare also (Just look at his inside pop pass against Cardiff in the Heinken Cup group stages.....AWESOME). However neither him or the other clubs in Ireland have been able to transfer these qualities into their Test side.

Best European Teams (in order):
1. Leinster
2. Toulose
3. London Wasps
4. Leicster
5. Munster

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mise May 21, 2012 12:09 am

Leinster are certainly a form side globally: a world club cup might not be significant, as it doesn't even work in soccer. So we can only ever speculate about the levels a Leinster are at. Thou I'd imagine Leinster, Clermont and Toulouse (and maybe globetrotting toulon) would do OK in the SH, the rest of the NH clubs would struggle.

BOD really rolled back the years in that final: ppl keep saying he's lost pace: I'm sure he has, but his 5 yard burst, which was always his strong point running-wise, was in full effect in this most important of matches. The change of pace and burst happened a few times, like when he offloaded to SOB for the Healy try.

Ulster showed great handling and momentum at times int he first half, but they were playing Leinster's game. However the up and under game wasn't an option with of all ppl Kearney at the back. (Possibly now Leinster's best full back again!)

SOB completely back on form, and played in an acceptable position: will Heaslip stay on the Irish team now (bench warmer for a few perhaps?) Ferris and SOB both have to play, in their correct positions for Irl as a priority.

SH coach for Irl would make a lot of sense alright.

@CCC:That's the all time European table from your perspective, not the current best in Europe I'm defo presuming....

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Eoghan May 21, 2012 12:33 am

If Kidney can't replicate with Ireland what Irish sides have achieved in the HC of late - well, lets be honest, what Leinster have achieved - he should resign, if he has any integrity.

It's simply unacceptable that the Irish side is so far below the performance parameters of that Leinster time.

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ross May 21, 2012 2:19 am

with regards to a new irish coach, i don't think Kidney's done a bad job, he's had great success in his time. He is very one dimensional, and favours a low risk game which suited him at munster, this makes for very frustrating viewing as theres great capability in the Irish squad to really dominate internationally, we're just missing the game plan.
The squad would benefit from new ideas, as was the case at the end of the eddie o'sullivan era and we got instant success from a new perspective.
Stand out replacements would obviously be joe schmidt and michael cheika who've guided this great Leinster team to success, but i think another option would be Conor o'shea he knows the IRFU, he knows the players. He's formed a great team at Quins, won the amlin in his first year, dominating munster in thomond on the way and topped the premiership. He'd be my preferred choice anyway.

Leinster were never going to lose this game, the only chance Ulster had was to drag them down to their level. Still though to score a record points total in a Heineken final was very impressive. I still think they were lucky to get there, thought clermont deserved to win in france.

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Jon May 21, 2012 2:21 am

How crazy is Brad Thorn.
He has won the Tri-nations, the Bledisloe, the World Cup, the Super Rugby title, beaten every significant team in test rugby, and now has won the Heineken Cup in rugby union.
He won four NRL titles, the World Cup (for Australia ironically) and three State of Origins in rugby league.

F-ing nuts.

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hayden May 21, 2012 8:47 am

Not to troll on the great result but the ABs are going to smash ireland.

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macmurchu May 21, 2012 10:11 am

Obviously enough!

What's the opinion in the SH regarding Leinster and other Heineken Cup teams? Respected and think they could cut it in Super rugby or stereotypically crap/never won a RWC etc?

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Jon May 21, 2012 11:42 am

Truthfully? Very few people, except really hardocre fans, follow European club rugby at all.
So most people would only be vaugley aware of Leinster's success in recent times if at all.
And most would just assume they were typically NH, ie ten man rugby not much ambition or flair, heaps of kicking, etc.

Not really fair, but most people wouldn't know any better.
In terms of how they'd do in Super Rugby?

Who the hell knows. The reffing interpretations are different, the style is different. As good as Leinster are, Super Rugby has a much higher density of top internationals per team. The Saders and Stormers for example can field teams full of All Blacks and Springboks.
But Leinster are a good team, and play a fairly SH type game, with alot of quality internationals in their squad. It'd be interesting to see how'd they'd do.

But we'll never know.

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cool calm and collected May 21, 2012 2:23 pm

I dont think you statment 'Super rugby has a much higher density of top internationals' is necessarily true.
For instance look at Leinster they are able to field players like; Cian Healy, Heaslip, Sexton, O'Driscoll, Reddan, Kearney, Ross, D'Arcy etc all of which currently play for Ireland (not including players like Thorn, Nacewa all of which have and currently play for their test sides respectivley).
Then you have teams like Northampton who field an almost entire inernational xv (i.e. Foden, Dickson, Tonguiha, Lawes, Dowson, Pisi, Ashton etc).
Then consider clubs such as Toulon, Clermont and Toulose, who frankly themselves field an all star rugby xv team.

Then compare this to the western force, lions and cheetahs, of super rugby, who don't field neally as many internationals. Although I do accept the fact that there are clubs like this in the NH, i.e. Connaught, Exeter etc.

The bottom line is that you very rarely see NH players moving to Super xv, but you tend to see inceasing numers of SH players (even current internationals)moving to the Rabo, Top 14, aviva. So this would tend to suggest that what you have stated is the exact opposite.

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Jon May 21, 2012 2:53 pm

Yeah you make a good point, some of the biggest European clubs have a large number of top players.
Particularly the Irish teams for example, because there are so few of them.

The thing is that when you look at Super Rugby, you've got only five teams per country. And these countries are the top three in world rugby. All of their current internationals and all of their up and coming players are spread over only five teams. So the three best international sides, spread over only fifteen teams, means you get a high density of top players at almost every club.
Even the Western Force, lagging behind on the ladder, have an all wallabies backrow led by David Pocock. The Blues, currently 2 wins 10 losses, have a mostly All Black team, with guys like Ma Nonu, Piri Weepu, Tony Woodcock, Kevan Mealamu, Rene Ranger, Jerome Kaino and many more.

With the player movement, yes alot of players leave the SH to go to Europe, but let's be honest. The vast majority are not considered current internationals any more in the SH. And even with those ex pat SH guys, and the many international European players, you've got so many pro teams that the talent is inevitably spread out more.

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cool calm and collected May 21, 2012 3:34 pm

Yer I agree, the total sheer number of NH clubs virtually makes the influx of international players very diluted, this is especially true of the english clubs, who lets be honested if were able to compress their number of professional teams to that of 4 or 5, would be fairly strong in the heineken cup (however this would never happen).

You stated that most of the players moving to the NH are either ex internationals or players who have not quite made it into their respective test sides. This i agree with, however I cant help thinking how many very decent players 'who are considered not good enough for thier test side' are coming over to the NH, despite in my opinion showing enough qualities to make it into thier own test sides or at least being good enough to be taken into consideration. For example Luke McAllister, Luke Burgess, David Smith, Francis Louw.

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Eggman May 21, 2012 4:44 pm

Well regarding Burgess etc, there always are exceptions to the rule. I agree with you about McAllister, had he decided to stay in NZ he'd have a decent chance of playing for the All Blacks. Burgess too would have featured regurlarly as a Wallaby, though I doubt that he could replace Genia to start a test match. Maybe he thought that being a back up Wallaby wasn't enough compared to the money he could earn in France. (And of course, it's not like France is a bad play to live or play rugby, so it's obviously far from a raw deal to play for Toulouse ;) ).

However, I don't think David Smith would've made it as a Wallaby, considering the rather large depth the aussies have right now on the wing, with the likes of Ioane, Mitchell (O'connor, when Smith moved) etc.

However, I do take your point that there are some good players who move north at the peak of their career. The question remaining is if they would also do that if the South paid the same amount of money..

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cool calm and collected May 21, 2012 5:22 pm

'The question remaining is if they would also do that if the South paid the same amount of money..' That is a question that I do not think we will ever see the answer to. As unfortuantley, for British Clubs and in some respects super xv teams, the french salary cap seems to be monoploysing that of any other premiership system, therefore (predominanty British clubs - mainly Welsh teams atm) thier best players seem to be leaving for the french clubs, which to be honested sucks! as it is killing leagues such as the heinken.

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Eggman May 22, 2012 12:43 pm

Are there actually any salary caps at all in NH rugby? If not, it might be a good idea to standardise them, at least for the countries/teams contending in the Heineken Cup to make it a bit fairer. Furthermore, a rule like the aussies and kiwis have, only allowing players playing in the country they want to represent to play internationals, might be a good way for England and Wales to keep their talent at home. It might hurt the national sides a bit in the short run (e.g. Wales without Mike Phillips, Gethin Jenkins, James Hook, Huw Bennet, Chareris etc.). However, in the long run the national club sides will definetly profit from such a rule and might bring some Heineken cup glory to Wales ;)

I thought I once read somewhere that England was thinking about introducing such a rule as well, though I don't know if it ever came to anything or if they're still planning on introducing it..

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cool calm and collected May 22, 2012 3:17 pm

Totally agree with your idea of standerdising salary caps for Europe or even global rugby club teams, beacsue in my opinion the heineken cup is becoming increasingly unfair for the British clubs, with exception to Leinster, Munster and Leicester, and this problem is only likely to worsen.

As for your question on England. Yes I do believe that they have currently introduced the rule, by which they only choose players from homegrown clubs, however in exceptinal circumstnaces , they will choose a payer from outside england, although the players must be of the highest quality. The main reason that England implemented such a rule was to rid themselves of the problem by which they have to ask the foreign club if they can release their player for international duty, as the six nation often clashes with the Top 14, for example.

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mcquickscopez May 22, 2012 8:24 pm

munster and leinster arnt british

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Billybob May 22, 2012 11:13 pm

Munster, Leinster and Ulster don't have a salary cap, as they can only pay the players what money they have. So its not a problem. What they are limited to though is 6 foreign players per team, 3 high profile ones and 3 non high profile ones. A hight profile player being allowed to be paid over 100,000 euro and a non high profile player to be paid less than 100,000 euro. These figures may have gone up a bit in the past year our two. But what puts all of this into perspective the budgets for Leinter, Munster and Ulster combined together is still less than the budget for Toulouse! Which is 30 Millions Euro by the way

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lg3 May 22, 2012 8:06 pm

Yes there are salary caps in the the Aviva and Top 14. They aren't necessary in Ireland as all the Heineken cup sides are run by the IRFU. Even though the wages are lower in Ireland it hasn't adversely affected the clubs progress.

It's also worth noting that a huge number of internationals are leaving the Welsh clubs at the moment due to the salary cap that is being imposed over there. Though some would argue that in Wales its all about the national side and this exodus of players paves the way for young talent?

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Jon May 22, 2012 12:57 am

Hey mate.

In regards to players leaving the SH to go north, there's no doubt it has affected the overall depth of SH rugby.
It's a two edged sword though, because it has also spurred the three SANZAR countries to promote alot of younger players who may not have got a chance so early, and that has helped in some ways.

In regards to players like Burgess or Mcallister, those guys are fringe internationals really.

Burgess is a very good halfback, but was gonna be stuck behind Genia for the rest of his international career, and he knew that, so he took the money option and went to France.
McAllister had been frozen out of the All Blacks. When he came back and played for the Blues in 2011, he did not play very well, and there was alot of people saying he was past it. He did the wise thing and went back to Europe where he still has a good reputation and can make alot of coin.
There are some fringe internationals who have gone north, and one or two current internationals. Also alot of veterans approaching the end of their careers, and some decent players not quite good enough for test match rugby.

But the vast majority are not first choice internationals, or prospective internationals. Still some excellent players in there though.

In regards to France taking players fromt he other leagues in Europe, forgive me for being blunt, but that's what the SH has been dealing with for the last five to ten years. And not just to France, to England, Wales, Ireland as well. Alot of guys have left to chase the money up north.

However there are very good junior pathways in the SANZAR countries and the very top players have pretty much all stayed in the south so they can play international rugby, so SANZAR has managed.

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Eggman May 21, 2012 3:03 pm

Haha a tad unfair to compare Leinster, Northampton and Touloun to the Force, Lions and Cheetahs ;)

I think it's a fair point from Jon, although it doesnt apply as well for Leinster as for English and French sides. What you have to consider is that there are only 5 teams per country in the super 15 and especially the top 2-3 sides (e.g. Crusaders, Chiefs, Reds, Tahs (although they're shit right now), Stormers and Bulls) usually field 8+ internationals from their respective country. The same holds true for Leinster and Munster though, and obviously all top teams have lots of international players in them. (I wasn't trying to comment whether NH or SH clubs are better btw, in case I made the impression)

The reason why good SH players move to the NH usually is because they can earn a lot more money up north. I think SBW for example got offered about 1 million a year by a French club last year, while in Australia, for example, I don't think anyone earns more than half a million a year. At least in Australia there is also a salary cap for each club, though it's rather intransparent how large the cap is (aprox 4-5 million a year I think for the players, not sure if staff has to be paid out of that as well).
The reason fewer players go North is because AUS and NZ (not sure about SA) have a policy that only players playing in their respective countries are elligible for the international sides. The World Cup last year in particular was a huge motivation for SBW to stay in NZ, despite being paid less.
So usually (not always ofc) the great players stay in the South while they're still hoping to play for their countries and only move North in the late autumn of their careers to cash in before retiring.

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mise May 21, 2012 10:29 am

looks like cheika will be available too..

but I can't see the IRFU making a bold decision, unless of course Irl are slaughtered in NZ....oh, wait

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Jon May 21, 2012 11:45 am

Talk in Australia is that he's gonna come back home, most likely the Western Force who are looking for a coach, or the Waratahs who underacheived badly this year.
He only left Aus because the Waratahs overlooked him for the top job in the first place.

But who knows. He'd get alot more money in Europe.

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Shags May 21, 2012 10:34 am

Does anyone have a link to watch the game in full again ?? Please and Thank you

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mise May 22, 2012 1:00 am

"You don't experiment in matches against New Zealand."

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Steve May 22, 2012 11:03 am

Under Eddie O'Sullivan Ireland won three triple crowns, pretty unlucky not to win a grand slam in that time but came close. He kept the same team and tactics for too long and didn't pick on form and they stagnated, and had one really bad season (2007-2008) (although to be fair - in the world cup they got knocked out by Argentina and France who finished 3rd and 4th, with France also knocking out NZ)

Under Declan Kidney they've had one good season (2009-2010) where they won a grand slam (and I think O'Sullivan can take a lot of credit for laying the ground work for this) and went unbeaten (but notably didn't play NZ). Since then they've had an improved world cup campaign, but they've also gotten progressively worse, to the point where they're almost as bad as they were when O'Sullivan left.

We've seen the kind of rugby that a pretty much completely Irish back line can play under Joe Schmidt yet for Ireland there is absolutely no creativity. Also the guy is still picking D'Arcy ffs

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Brick Shithouse May 22, 2012 3:35 pm

Why don't Ireland just promote Shmidt to the national job?

Kidney is a narrow-minded coach who gained recognition delivering the Holy Grail to Munster. Munster are a waning force and so is their style of play, which Kidney is an advocate of. With a panel as talented as this current Ireland one, we need a new coach sooner rather than later to peak for RWC2015 to have stability by the time the tournament starts. Players like O'Gara, O'Callaghan need to be replaced by Madigan, Donncha Ryan, Peter O'Mahony etc. I would have included BOD in that bracket 6 months ago but as he has exposed himself as some sort of extra terrestrial with healing powers I'll cut him some slack.

Schmidt is ideal as he encourages the brand of rugby which Ireland would benefit from and he already knows a lot of the players. Simples?

On a side note, does this type of rugby featuring young players have anyone else seriously excited for the Lions Down Under in 12 months time. So much young talent, could give NZ a run with a similar side in 5 years time. For me it should be:


Controversial and not very decisive I know, but I was like a kid in a candy store. So much talent!

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Pretzel May 22, 2012 5:42 pm

Part of me does worry for the Irish fans/team about BOD... I mean he is a terrific player no doubt about it, but he is getting on now and I still don't see anyone chasing him for his jersey...

I mean we have seen hundreds of players over the years in all different teams who we could say are "the greats". Many of those may not be in such key positions as BOD, and may not have as much of an impact in certain key aspects. But take Umaga for instance, he was brilliant and he was chased by Nonu, I don't rate Nonu as high as Umaga but he had a name for himself throughout the game and he grew to make that shirt his...

We have all played rugby at some point in our lives where we have gone to a match with 16 people, normally the 16th man is a forwards player and typically a back line player has got injured... THAT is what Ireland looks like to me.. there are so many players who appear to be just making up numbers.. I dread seeing the Irish play without BOD because they seem lost.. I just feel that when BOD has to hang up his boots the person going to step into his place is going to sort of look around nervously thinking, "ok, so you guys said I'm just filling in until Brian gets back from the loo right?"

I hope for their sakes they have someone crop up who really chases Brian for that 13 jersey!!!

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lg3 May 22, 2012 8:16 pm

I agree! We did get a taste of it during the 6N when Earls stepped in. In fairness he wasn't too bad. The thing is that there has never been a case for any player to be selected ahead of BOD. It's about now that I would hope another player would start putting his hand up for selection. At least pushing BOD for his place.

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Pretzel May 22, 2012 10:28 pm

Well exactly, personally I didn't feel Nonu filled Umaga's boots, not initially anyway, but the gap between their skill wasn't as big as the gap between Earl and BOD, or anyone else and BOD...Hopefully some hidden gem 19 year old or something will appear.

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Full Back May 27, 2012 10:49 am

I have high hopes for Conway in the next couple of years. Keep an eye out!

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cool calm and collected May 22, 2012 11:42 pm

so much back row talent!

I agree with most of your selections, bar one, I belive that the second rows should be Lawes and Gray, not O'Connell, He is a great leader i know, but for the style of rugby that needs to be played down south, i.e. fast pace, i cant help feel that Lawes would be the better option, and let us not forget he is like a missile, when he locks on to his target, their is not question who will come of secod best.
And as for hooker I believe Best or Hartley would be the better options, namely because the have had more inernational experince, all though if he is the uncapped player in the squad tthen i understand his selection.

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GraceOfBod May 23, 2012 2:19 pm

Any chance RD of seeing Rob Kearney's fantastic catch in the opening minute.???

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Rugbydump May 24, 2012 3:05 pm

The full game has now been posted here, so you should be able to find it easily there.

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