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European Champions Cup Qualification Is Flawed

The announcement of the new Rugby Champions Cup has caused quite a debate in rugby circles. One such argument is whether a team should be competing in Europe’s premier competition if they fail to finish in the top seven in the RaboDirect Pro 12. Matt Cassidy has his say. Over a week has passed since the announcement of the Rugby Champions …

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Rugby: Who’s Hot & Who’s Not

Who’s Hot Clontarf A thousand years ago this week, the battle of Clontarf took place where High King Brian Boru’s name was immortalised into Irish folklore. Fast forward to April 2014 and Clontarf’s rugby players wrote themselves into Irish rugby history as they claimed their first ever All Ireland League title with a 27-13 win over Ballynahinch at Castle Avenue. …

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Five talking points from Leinster vs Treviso

After defeats in the South of France and Swansea, Matt O’ Connor’s Leinster got the show back on the road with a facile win over a hapless Benetton Treviso at a sun drenched RDS. Reporting live from the RDS on behalf of Pundit Arena it was easy to see that from the Leinster team’s warm up that they intended to …

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Gloucester and Bath Deserve Severe Punishment

Last Saturday one of the fiercest rivalries in the Aviva Premiership, Gloucester vs. Bath, produced as Steve James of The Telegraph reported “..one of the Aviva Premiership’s darkest and most shameful days.” Referee Tim Wigglesworth branded two red and six yellow cards. Gloucester suffered greatly, by the eighty-minute mark they were reduced to 11 men including the two sent off. …

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Rugby Champions Cup- A New Start in European Rugby

The Heineken Cup provided numerous classic encounters over the years. The Munster vs Leinster semi final at Croke Park and London Wasps vs Toulouse in the 2004 final to name two. From next season the ERC governed tournament will no longer exist. In place is the new title ‘Rugby Champions Cup’. Ever since the English and French sides handed in …

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Greatest Heineken Cup Players Of All Time: 9. Geordan Murphy

In the latest instalment of the Pundit Arena’s countdown of the top 10 players of the Heineken Cup era, attention now focuses on the first Irishman to make the list, and possibly Ireland’s greatest rugby export. Coming in at number 9 is Geordan Murphy. 9. Geordan Murphy (Leicester Tigers) Many Irishmen have tried their hand at making it big in …

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A Team of the Heineken Cup’s Greatest Ever Players

Last Thursday it was announced that a peace agreement had been reached in Europe’s rugby war. The treaty that has been signed has led to the creation of a new 20 team tournament called the ‘Rugby Champions Cup.’ Time will tell if the new competition will be a success but what is certain is that the Heineken Cup will be …

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Irish Rugby Player Rankings – Week Ending 13/04/2014

It was round 19 in the RaboDirect Pro12 and with a lot of starting players either injured or rested after the previous week’s Heineken Cup exertions, it was a big opportunity for some fringe players to get some game time. 10. Robbie Henshaw Regarded as one of the favourites to replace Brian O’Driscoll in Irish side, Henshaw was the only …

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Danny Cipriani Should Be In England Squad For Tour Of New Zealand

He was once heralded as Jonny Wilkinson’s successor for England’s fly-half position. He was the key player in a club side that was beginning to dominate both English and European rugby. He had a beautiful celebrity girlfriend and the world appeared to be his oyster. Then Danny Cipriani left for Australia. Few players in the modern game have caused as …

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Rugby: Who’s Hot & Who’s Not?

Who’s Hot Ulster There was a worry that Mark Anscombe’s men might be suffering a hangover from their heart breaking loss to Saracens the week before. Those fears were unfounded, however, as they crushed Connacht at Ravenhill 58-12, scoring eight tries in the process. Connacht were loose and Ulster made them pay for every mistake. Andrew Trimble plundered a hat-trick …

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Top 7 Candidates To Replace Brian O’Driscoll at Leinster

With only five games (potentially) remaining in the RaboDirect Pro 12, and Leinster’s interest in the Heineken Cup now over, the end of Brian O’Driscoll’s glorious career is imminent. The Blackrock man has become an iconic figure all across Ireland and the world because of his exploits wearing the number 13 jersey for the Blue of Leinster and the Green …

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Greatest Heineken Cup Players Of All Time: 10. Dimitri Yachvili

Over the next couple of weeks Pundit Arena will count down the greatest Heineken Cup players of all time. Coming in at number ten is French scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili. As the wick that is the Heineken Cup burns to a conclusion, we should savour each and every one of the 240 minutes that remain of the competition. Come October 2014, the …

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Jared Payne deserved red

Opinion is divided over Jared Payne’s contentious red card last weekend. Seven days later, the debate still rumbles on. Dominic Evans argues that the Ulster player thoroughly deserved the red card. Jared Payne’s red card for Ulster in the 5th minute against Saracens was most definitely the correct punishment. His follow through into Alex Goode was probably accidental, mistimed even. …

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The Red Army of Munster march on

Of course Munster would win. It is the Heineken Cup after all. Home advantage and the underdog tag played straight into their hands. Last Saturday the Irish side revealed they can still beat the best. No one could envisage the ease with which Toulouse were dispatched. They caught the viewers, but more importantly the opposition, by surprise. The French giants …

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Jared Payne Red Card Was Correct Decision

The weekend provided a mixed bag of results for Irish rugby. While Munster overcame Toulouse and progressed to the semi finals, both Ulster and Leinster were eliminated. However, the weekend’s biggest talking point stemmed from the Ulster – Saracens game at Ravenhill. Jerome Garces’ decision to send off Ulster fullback Jared Payne in the 5th minute has divided opinions in …

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Reasons to be Cheerful – Munster flying Irish flag in Europe

A Heineken Cup weekend with three Irish teams in action is normally an evocative affair. Last weekend was no different. My mood went from joy, to bitterness followed quickly on Sunday by shock and disappointment. Watching Munster brought on a wave of happiness that very quickly turned sour after Jared Payne had cruelly been shown a red card leaving an …

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Jared Payne & Rugby’s Infuriating Issue; Inconsistent Interpretation

Anyone with a passing interest in rugby will have known that it was quarter-finals weekend. The action was brilliant, intense and compelling but there was one incident that overshadowed all the action. Jared Payne’s red card. Opinions over whether or not Ulster’s Kiwi should have been given his marching orders are certainly split. My concerns lie with the inconsistent decisions …

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Five Talking Points From The Heineken Cup

Ozer McMahon discusses themain talking points from a whirlwind weekend in the Heineken Cup. And then there was one. After all the hope and expectation at the start of the weekend when there were three Irish provinces among the last eight in this year’s Heineken Cup, we woke up on Monday to the sobering fact that only one remain. The …

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