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The Gain Line: Accuracy and Execution

The word “cauldron” has entered the rugby lexicon of late describing the hot and heavy imposing atmosphere of daunting away stadia. If the Marcel Michelin or Thomond Park are cauldrons, unfortunately the Estadio Centenario was more of a rusty kettle. Ireland trundled to their first win on Argentinian soil, another feather in Joe Schmidt’s now peacock-like-cap. Tries from Henry, Sexton …

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The Obscure XV – Munster Players That Flattered To Deceive

Wood, O’Gara, Foley, Howlett. None of the aforementioned names would ever find themselves on this list of Munster players that failed to fulfil their potential. Here is the Obscure XV. 1 -Martin Cahill aka ‘The General’   The 18-stone Prop made 18 appearances for the Red Army across three seasons, including two in the Heineken Cup. He was included in …

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Johnny Sexton A Doubt For Second Test

The result was decisive, the performance was not. Ireland’s 29-17 victory in the First Test with Argentina may have come at a cost,with Johnny Sexton’s hamstring a worry for Joe Schmidt. Ireland out half Johnny Sexton left the field in Chaco on Saturday clutching his leg with sixteen minutes remaining in Ireland’s clash with the Pumas. The Second Test takes …

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Irish Rugby Player Rankings – Top Five Irish Players v Argentina

Ireland arrived for the opening test of this two game series as clear favourites with Argentina’s top players being rested for the upcoming Rugby Championship. Here are the Top Five Irish players from the game. Paul O’Connell’s men won the game 29 – 17 but were made to work very hard for the victory by the Puma’s second string side. Despite …

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The Foreign XV: A Team Of Australian Exiles

The recent Heineken Cup final saw some great performances across the park, but two players in particular have sparked much debate amongst rugby fans over the eligibility of players based abroad. Both Steffon Armitage and Matt Giteau gave world class performances in the Millenium Stadium, yet neither player will be picked for their national side due to them plying their …

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New Zealand v England – First Test Report

New Zealand have done it again after beating England 20-15 this morning. Richie McCaw’s side were second best for most of the game but came out on top after Conrad Smith’s last gasp try.  England gave everything for 80 minutes and had outstanding performances by Manu Tuilagi, Chris Robshaw and Freddie Burns but it’s the All Blacks who remain unbeaten …

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Malakai Fekitoa: New Zealand’s Next Big Thing

As the Southern Hemisphere giants prepare to face their touring northern counterparts, John Elliott takes a look at the players who have impressed enough in Super 15 Rugby to be included in their national squads. In this edition we discuss Malakai Fekitoa, a player set to debut in the All Blacks’ forthcoming test series against England. It seems New Zealand’s perpetual assembly …

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Five Argentina Players To Watch Against Ireland

With the Irish rugby team facing into a two-test series against Argentina John Elliott takes a look at fistful of Pumas who may just make a serious impact against the tourists. Argentinian head coach Daniel Hourcade has omitted many of the biggest and most renowned names from his squad in what quite possibly is an attempt to save them for …

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Brian O’Driscoll & The Shadow Of A Colossus

The premature end in the final game of what can only be described as a ‘long good-bye’ to Brian O’ Driscoll also signals the end of the first era of professional rugby players. The uncertainties surrounding rugby going ‘pro’ would suggest that the likes of O’ Driscoll would, in effect, be seen as ‘guinea-pigs’ to the rigors and strains that international …

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TBT: Rupeni Caucaunibuca Takes RWC 2003 By Storm

It felt like one of the formative moments in world rugby. In the blink of an eye, with a twinkle of his toes, the Fiji wing Rupeni Caucaunibuca gathers the ball deep in his own half, skins the massive and mobile Aurélien Rougerie, then takes the perfect trajectory to cut inside the full-back Nicolas Brusque. In a flash, Fiji are …

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Five Things Joe Schmidt’s Ireland Must Do In Argentina

The Irish team have touched down in Argentina and are gearing up for the first Test against Argentina on Saturday. Ozer McMahon is here to discuss the five most important things that Ireland must gain from the summer tour. 1. Familiarise Ideas Joe Schmidt has been in the hot seat for less than twelve months and with the winner-takes-all nature of …

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Stephen Ferris & The Walking Wounded of Modern Rugby

Stephen Ferris was your modern rugby player; fast, strong and athletic. Unfortunately, sometimes powers outside of our control can ultimately bring an end to a player’s career. Stephen Ferris played with unrivaled passion and determination throughout his rugby career for both Ulster and Ireland. After making his debut with Ireland in 2006, Ferris soon became a household name with supporters and writers …

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Concussion Concludes Craig Clarke’s Connacht Career

Pundit Arena’s John Elliott discusses the sad announcement of Craig Clarke’s retirement from rugby due to a number of concussions. The game of rugby can be a cruel mistress at times. For both players and fans alike it can be merciless in so many ways. Be it the loss of a cup final by one point or being dropped from a squad due …

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Toulon 18-10 Castres: Three Reasons For Toulon’s Final Win

In last week’s Pundit Arena preview, we looked at three key factors which would decide whether Toulon could get over the line and complete an historic domestic and European double. Now that the dust has settled on the Top 14 season, we take a look at how Toulon were on the ball in all three areas as they took revenge …

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Stephen Ferris & Other Irish Rugby Talking Points

John Elliott is here to bring us the latest news from the world of Irish rugby on a day when Stephen Ferris has announced his retirement from the game. Stephen Ferris Announces His Retirement from Rugby Irish and Ulster rugby fans today will be mourning the announcement that Stephen Ferris, the 28-year-old power-house backrow, has retired from rugby. Ferris who …

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Triskaidekaphobia, Brian O’Driscoll & Irish Rugby

Brian O’Driscoll’s illustrious career came to an end over the weekend and the focus now turns to his potential successor, writes Jonathan Fitzpatrick. Fears and phobias are commonplace throughout society. We experience them, see them, and live them. Both rational, and irrational. Irish coach Joe Schmidt has one fear burning inside him that is growing as the days go by. …

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Ireland ’s Southern Hemisphere Syndrome

The domestic season has finally concluded with Leinster winning back-to-back Pro 12 titles. However, there are two tests in Argentina to be negotiated before Ireland’s rugby players can put their feet up and reflect on a successful season in provincial and national colours. Joe Schmidt will look to continue the momentum built from the Six Nations championship win in South …

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PA Report Cards: Connacht Rugby

With the domestic rugby season having come to an end, Ozer McMahon is here to review the season’s of each province by issuing them with their PA Report Card, detailing the highs and lows of their respective seasons. Up first is Pat Lam’s Connacht side. Competition Review As so often seems to be the case it was a case of …

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