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Top 10 Heineken Cup Teams: No.6 Stade Toulousain (2005)

2005 and 6th  position sees French aristocrats Toulouse make their first appearance on our list. Toulouse’s third Heineken Cup victory was achieved, like all the others, under the astute leadership of Guy Noves with his star studded team. Before the days of Toulon, Clermont and Racing Metro splashing huge amounts of cash, it was Toulouse who had an operating budget …

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Rugby: Who’s Hot & Who’s Not?

Matt Cassidy is back with the ever popular, Who’s Hot and Who’s Not, from this week’s rugby action. Who’s Hot South Africa Heyneke Meyer’s men followed up their series win over Wales with the destruction of Scotland in Port Elizabeth. The Springboks were in no mood for the tight finish of last week and they set about their business in …

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Focus Friday – Robin Copeland

After Ireland’s series victory against Argentina, prying eyes have turned to the Emerging Ireland side who have just claimed the Nations Cup in Romania. With victories over Uruguay, Russia and Romania, Ireland’s youthful seconds prevailed with three emphatic wins. Led by Dominic Ryan, Emerging Ireland contained some of Irish rugby’s brightest young prospects, as they tested themselves out in a green …

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Rugby: Who’s Hot & Who’s Not

After his two week hiatus supporting the Irish rugby team in Argentina, Matt Cassidy is back with this week’s Who’s Hot & Who’s Not. Who’s Hot New Zealand It was All Black magic in Hamilton as the men from the island of the Long White Cloud produced a scintillating first forty to blitz England in the third test. The 36-13 …

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The Southern Hemisphere Tour – A Pointless Exercise?

Aside from Scotland’s one off test against the Springboks in Port Elizabeth next Saturday, the trips down south of the equator have concluded. There is still a chasm in terms of quality between North and South. The 2014 Summer series makes for ugly reading for the Northern Hemipshere; 13 tests played, 3 wins and 10 losses. The three successes came …

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New Zealand v England – Third Test Report

New Zealand thrashed England on Saturday in Hamilton to make it 17 wins in a row for the sensational All Blacks. Richie McCaw’s side eased to the win by a scoreline of 36 points to 13 thanks to a hat trick of tries from winger Julian Savea and two tries from scrum half Aaron Smith. New Zealand started the game excellently …

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Leinster Rugby: A Machine of Continuity

At the end of the 2013/14 Rabodirect Pro12 season, Leinster became the first team to mount a successful defence of the title with a 34–12 victory over Glasgow Warriors in the RDS. The occasion represented another equally significant landmark in the history of the club – the retirement of two of its great servants, Leo Cullen and Brian O’Driscoll. This …

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Focus Friday – England’s Potential Ahead Of Final Test

“Potential has a shelf life.” ― Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye The English rugby team have had a turbulent time over recent years. Since Johnny Wilkinson’s devastating stroke of brilliance brought the English to World Cup glory in Sydney 2003, they’ve hit highs and lows, without ever hitting too high. The tenures of Brian Ashton, Andy Robinson, and Martin Johnson have had their high points and …

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Top 10 Heineken Cup Winning Teams: No.7 Munster (2006)

At number 7 on our list of greatest Heineken Cup winners we have the people’s champions, Declan Kidney’s Munster side of 2006. In years to come, when the European Rugby Champions Cup is dominating news headlines, the Heineken Cup may come to be seen as a stepping stone to a bigger and better tournament. What will never, ever be forgotten …

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Video Refereeing: Balancing The Extremes Of Rugby & Football

Adam Behan argues that the need for technology in football should not be affected by the delays experienced by rugby in TMO situations. The debate over the use of video technology in football is one which has been argued over for the last number of years and continues to be argued today. With contentious decisions made every week by referees throughout global …

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The Gain Line: Taking Stock Of Joe Schmidt’s First Season

As the Irish international season comes to a close, this week’s edition of The Gain Line takes stock of all that the Irish team has achieved under Joe Schmidt. Rounding up what was a hugely successful first season in charge for Joe Schmidt, Ireland slugged their way to an underwhelming 23-17 win against Argentina in Tucuman. The game was no spectacle …

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Irish Rugby Player Rankings – Top 5 Irish Players v Argentina

Ireland won their first ever series in Argentina after a 23-17 victory in the Second Test. Tries from Simon Zebo and Ian Madigan ensured that Joe Schmidt’s side won the game, but the Irish coach will again be unhappy with many aspects of the performance.  Nevertheless, the victory was achieved, and here are the Top 5 Irish players from the …

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New Zealand v England – Second Test Report

New Zealand have beaten England by one point after a breathtaking match in Dunedin this morning. The home side won the game thanks to an outstanding opening 23 minutes to the second half in which they scored three tries. Full Back Ben Smith was key in everything good about the All Blacks play. England enjoyed the better start to the …

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Focus Friday – Ireland Vs. Argentina – The Sequel

Ireland scored a comfortable win over Los Pumas last week, romping home to a three try victory in Argentina. Henry, Sexton and Cave all touched down for the Six Nations Champions, with Sexton and Madigan adding the surplus. Here’s what to expect from this weekend’s clash. One of Ireland’s positives in the game was the lineout. The importance of the lineout …

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PA Source: Luke Marshall Dropped For Second Test

Ireland centre Luke Marshall will not start the Second Test vs Argentina on Saturday, according to a Pundit Arena source in Argentina. It had been reported that Marshall was a major doubt for the clash with Los Pumas due to a head injury, but Pundit Arena has learned that the Ulster player will not start for Joe Schmidt’s side, regardless …

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PA Report Cards: Ulster Rugby

The domestic rugby season has come to an end, and it was another case of what could have been for Ulster rugby after they fell short at the Quarter-Final stage of the Heineken Cup and also suffered defeat in the Pro12 Semi-Final. Ozer McMahon is here to issue the province with their PA Report Card, detailing the highs and lows of …

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Farewell To The Class of 2014 – Rugby’s Retiring XV

As the 2013- 2014 rugby season comes to an end with the summer internationals, fans the world over are coming to terms with the fact that the game is set to lose some of its most famous sons to retirement before domestic action resumes in the autumn. With a number of true superstar retirements and serious injury problems forcing several …

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Tough Draw For Irish Sides For Inaugural Rugby Champions Cup

The Irish provinces have been handed very tough pools for the inaugural Rugby Champions Cup for next season. Munster have been placed in Pool 1 alongside beaten finalists Saracens, French heavyweights Clermont Auvergne and a Sale Sharks side that includes the mercurial Danny Cipriani. Saracens lost out to Toulon in May’s final 23-6 while Clermont were beaten by the same …

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