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Six Nations: Calm before the Storm

After an exhilarating weekend of high class international rugby, we all need a respite before the eagerly awaited final two rounds. The table is evenly poised with four countries tied on four points, though Ireland have a 20 points-for superiority to second place England. Again, England remain the team to watch when they host Wales. Mind-games have already begun between …

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PA Issues: Rugby’s Foreign Influence

In this week’s edition of PA Issues, Dominic Evans discusses the growing influence of Southern Hemisphere rugby players on teams in the North. An interesting point was raised by Brendan Fanning on Against The Head on Monday evening. He said, “Their (England) gene pool is developing with Tongans and Samoans… It’s a frightening mix, and it’s one we find very …

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Rugby League vs Rugby Union: Crossing the divide

Players convert from Rugby League to Rugby Union and vice versa with varying degrees of success, writes Matt Cassidy. The movement of players between Rugby Union and Rugby League is nothing new.  For many years, Union players decided to turn their backs on the fifteen-man game for the reward of being paid to play.  There were resounding successes in the …

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Rugby: Who’s Hot & Who’s Not

Matt Cassidy discusses the players that enjoyed a good week, and those that didn’t. Who’s Hot? Mike Brown In a game of high quality the Harlequins full back’s star shone the brightest as he made the break to put Danny Care away for the crucial try. Brown’s fielding and positioning were excellent throughout. He racked up impressive statistics with ball …

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5 Reasons To Be Cheerful Despite The Loss to England

There are few feelings as gut wrenching as knowing it’s wake up time on a Monday morning. The downtime of a weekend is behind you and it’s time to settle into a fresh week. One thing that made it even harder to pull those covers off this week is reflecting back on such a narrow, heartbreaking defeat at the hands …

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England v Ireland Preview

Well this one needs no introduction. If you’re an Irish rugby supporter this is always the game that piques the interest most; the first game you check for when the fixture list comes out. Ozer McMahon previews this weekend’s huge clash between England and Ireland. Beating England in front of committed home crowd in Dublin is one thing, beating them …

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Top five Irish tries from clashes with England

Ireland versus England is always an exciting affair. Ahead of this week’s clash, James Clancy looks at the best displays of try scoring in this age old rivalry. 5th. Brian O’Driscoll breaks Six Nations try record (2011) Valued more for its context and prestige more than actual quality, Brian O’Driscoll’s 2011 touching down of the ball against England ensured that …

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Anthony Foley a perfect fit for Munster

When Rob Penny announced he wouldn’t be signing a new contract, the immediate front runner was Anthony Foley. Captain Paul O’ Connell was one of the first to put the former captain’s name forward and since a string of past players and pundits have called for Axel to be promoted to head coach. Here, Steve Neville offers us some reasons …

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Six Nations: Wooden Spoon Contenders

With much of the focus being placed on the top of the Six Nations table, Dominic Evans assesses the candidates in the running for this year’s Wooden Spoon. Ireland and France remain in the mix for the Grand Slam, with England close behind if the two unbeaten sides slip up. Of course the primary focus is highlighted on the race …

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Six Nations: Top Five Irish Triple Crown Victories

This weekend Ireland take on England in the Six Nations with a Triple Crown up for grabs, Matt Cassidy takes a look back at five great Irish Triple Crown victories. One of the great dates of the Irish sporting calendar takes place this Saturday when twenty three heroes in green will line up for Ireland’s Call at Twickenham. Traditionally, taking on the …

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Who is Sam Burgess?

So just who exactly is Sam Burgess? You may have heard the name floating around over the past week or so. Unless you’re a Rugby League follower it’s unlikely his name has slipped into your consciousness to often before then. Well, Sam Burgess is the latest Rugby League star who has had decided to switch codes and try his hand at Rugby Union. …

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England vs Ireland: Five Key Battles For Glory At Twickenham.

The biggest contest of the Six Nations to date approaches as Ireland anticipate their clash with England at Twickenham.  Matt Cassidy presents the key battles for supremacy at Twickenham on Saturday. The match on Saturday will present each country’s sternest examination so far and perhaps will decide the destiny of the championship.  Ireland have a 100% record with solid wins …

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PA Sporting Week: Who’s Hot & Who’s Not

WHO’S HOT: Bernard Jackman:  Grenoble forwards coach Jackman lauded his team’s defensive commitment as the French minnows shocked Top 14 leaders Clermont 16-13. Grenoble, who were only promoted to the top tier of French rugby in 2012, are now up to fourth in the league after winger Alipate Ratini ran in a stunning try with 12 minutes left on the clock. Irish scrum-half James …

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Rugby: Who’s Hot & Who’s Not

Matt Cassidy is back with this week’s edition of Rugby: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not. Who’s Hot Donnacha O’ Callaghan: The international dream may be over but the provincial career is still going strong as the Cork man made history when he came on as a first half substitute for the unfortunate Dave O’ Callaghan. Donnacha earned his 241st cap …

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Rugby: Injury Merry-Go-Round and Grasping Opportunities

Ask any professional athlete about their job and the majority will tell you they are living the dream. Getting paid to play a game they love, in front of thousands of adoring fans and all the while receiving a substantial wage. There are some pitfalls however; the agony of a narrow defeat, the humiliation of a hammering, the frustration of …

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How national should our national teams be?

On the 15th March 2014, with all going to plan, Brian O’Driscoll will run out for Ireland at Stade de France for the last time. At the conclusion of this game Joe Schmidt will have to fill the massive void that this land’s most iconic sportsman will leave. There have been a number of candidates suggested; Robbie Henshaw, Keith Earls, …

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A bright future for Irish rugby?

In the wake of Ireland’s Six Nations victory over Wales, David Rusk ponders the bright future of the Irish team. After Saturday’s terrific performance against Wales, the true strength and depth of Joe Schmidt’s team was revealed.  Over recent years there have been major changes in the personnel involved in the Irish team.  Ronan O’Gara’s departure was probably the most …

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