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The Maori All Blacks' tribute to late Anthony Foley was pure class

well phrased, it was a touching moment.

6 Months, 1 Day ago

New Zealand avenge previous loss with bruising win over Ireland

The kiwis knew what had to be done, and knew they'd get away with it. Over the two matches ,the peno could was 8 (IRL) vs 26 (NZ). With the yellows and now the citings ,its obvious the ref was too star struck to get a grip on the stuff that was over the edge. And NZ knew this ,got away with it, and won .They knew where the line was - a Nigel Owens type ref would have controlled it better. Once a kiwi was in the bin he was never going to bin another during those 10 mins, no matter what happened.
Of course it was hard on both sides, plenty of this and that, but Henshaw and Stander -two of Ireland's best attacking threats - were taken out. Henshaw defo was victim of a head and shoulder charge - he was blindsided, Cane saw it all.
That said, even though it looked like Sexton did actually hold up the ball excellently, prob would have been a penaulty try as his grappling on the ground for the ball meant he went high. TMO had a nightmare on that try (in many respects!), but ref seemed afraid to call what was obvious. TMO/ref Should also have checked for the forward passes in the last try too (no one got to see if they were or not)

6 Months, 1 Day ago

Best Tries from week two of the End of Year Tests

Thanks for compiling so many different games from around the world. Great - and rare - to see.

6 Months, 1 Week ago

Best Tries from week one of the End of Year Tests

Yes that and obviously the Argie one - v unusual continuity play at play there eh?

6 Months, 1 Week ago

Stuart Hogg named Six Nations Player of the Championship for 2016

well said @Jimmy23 - Itoje deserved to be top 5 at least, for sure.

Content (if not the order of) Top 4 make sense, more or less, but with Itoje in there too. Think Vini or Itoje might have been 1 actually ,thou Hogg - in a poor enough team - was amazing.

I'd probably go

1 Vini
2 Hogg
3 Itoje
4 North
5 Murray

(unsure about 2 and 3 a toss up really)

1 Year, 2 Months ago

Rugby Tactics: Screened Passing Analysis

these innovations seem to travel one way - League to Union. (I stand to be corrected, many of you know more than i on this). Are there examples of the opposite?

Also I'm not sure that the opposition always has to see the ball - how does a forward in a maul see the ball all the time when its at the back of a maul for eg?

I like the depth of the passing in these moves - that I think makes it noteworthy, but the dummy runner (which they still are) obviously needs to not obstruct in terms of contact. However innovative running lines for the deep receivers is surely the next step - cutting back into soft shoulders, then the next receiver innovating etc....I'm not seeing that (in Union, don't know about league)

1 Year, 7 Months ago

Sean O'Brien cited for punching Pascal Pape in opening minute of Cardiff clash

2 weeks reduced to one. As an Irish fan, I have to say I'm relieved. I was expecting more. Apparently it was reduced to one - after a marathon 7 hour hearing (how?!?) - for previous good behaviour.

Would be a shame for the tournament to loose a player in the form he's in, and of course it woudl have been a disaster for Ireland to loose him after loosing POC POM and possibly JS. But and notwithstanding whatever Pepe was doing behind his back and so on ,SOB was one lucky SOB :-)

@Oliver: Irish fans have a small nation peculiarity. We are quite fair and level headed in general analysis - I reckon Irish commentators are more neutral than most - but when it gets weird or big and at the same time heated, we can go bananas. We all band together in a collective madness.

So in situations like this, when the team is doing well, the more or less best player is possibly about to be banned, we think of anything and everything to hope against hope - blindly and naively - that he'll get off.

Big issues are like this for small nations which are ok but not world beaters at any sport i reckon. If you are used to winning, you can brush it off; if you are used to loosing, or being ok, you can be objective; if you are getting to be quite good, are from a small island nation ,and then have that hope go a bit bananas.

The BOD Lions dropping was similar, and outside of rugby the Thierre Henry double hand ball was too, in 'football'/soccer. But for standard stuff, I'd maintain we're more neutral and level headed than most- in fact our commentators often over compensate to appear balanced.

1 Year, 7 Months ago

Paul O'Connell out of Rugby World Cup with hamstring injury

Immense man, what a career. Also worth mentioning captaining the Lions- not just going there as a player. Hope he recovers and still has a while in Toulon. he deserves the pension!

1 Year, 7 Months ago

Sean O'Brien cited for punching Pascal Pape in opening minute of Cardiff clash

bans based on the number of weeks are especailly tough in a tournament run over a few weeks eh?

Hate the holding on and whatever else is going on behind the back that we can't see. Its likely that there was some sort of a dig - ie more than we see form the front - to generate that sort of reaction from SOB. Wonder if a back angle will materalise before 1 o clock?!?

But it was 100% a silly reaction by SOB and he will get some sort of a ban, and even missing one match is serious in this tournament at this stage.

He was just back in proper form, played immense, and now this. Along with the rest of the injuries. Much tuffer for Ireland now.

1 Year, 7 Months ago

France convincing winners over England despite late comeback in Paris

@oliver: At least some other countries have v strong preferences for home grown, if not formal NZ style rules. Eg For Ireland (where I live), if you ain't in the squad before you go abroad, you won't get into it while abroad. (Bowe and Sexton were in the team before going to Wales and France: Mike Ross wasn't in the team for years while in England, even thou Ireland were really weak in tightheads, similarly with many others in other positions)

(also Ireland were at their worst when the Irish players played in England - early 1990s)

Oz also show a strong preference - eg honeybadger in Japan -

But as a one off, I'd imagine SA would have been an asset, if brought in early - he's incredible.

1 Year, 9 Months ago