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Ogie
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PostSubject: Heineken Cup   Thu Nov 03, 2011 12:19 am

A lot of padding here, but some interesting stats. The Bull Hayes has the most appearances in the tournament on 99. Will he make 100 in the short time he has left? Is Ronan O'Gara the likelier on 97? Says something for Hayes' durability that he has made his tally in 13 seasons as a prop, while O'Gara is two light of him in 14 seasons as an out-half.
O'Driscoll is just two tries behind Vincent Clerc as leading try-scorer. O'Gara is by miles the leading points-scorer. Devin Toner is the tallest in the entire competition! The round 1 fixtures - previous history, if any, between the contestants etc. I must say, I can't wait for this to get going and Leinster v Munster in the Magners or whatever it's called now is a nice little taster.

http://www.daraghoconchuir.ie/blog.php?id=1474

Wonder if Leinster will retain the hunger this year. Munster will have plenty of that but are they good enough? Jones and Wallace are major losses early on. And Flannery.

Toulouse, Clement-Auvergne, Biarritz are obviously amongst the favourites. Ulster seem to have stagnated a little bit although with Muller and Pienaar back , and Afoa joining up now we should see an improvement.

And it will be great to see Connacht involved. Hopefully they'll give a good account of themselves and take a few scalps.
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Tue Nov 08, 2011 4:39 am

northampton wont be too far off again with saracens going well too also biarritz and ospreys always tough opponents but right now cant see past leinster even with o`driscoll out for the group stages
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Tue Nov 08, 2011 8:43 am

I was up at the Leinster v Munster game on Friday and even though they are only coming back from the world cup one thing stood out from Leinster and that's Nacewa is a better option at full back than Kearney. Don't get me wrong, I think Kearney is a very good player but Nacewa just gives that attacking extra that Leinster used so well last year. He should be played at 15.

Heaslip is not back to his best and the scrum looked a little shakey at times, Sexton's goal kicking was a world away from New Zealand and he looks far more comfortable in the blue than the green.

It may take a couple of games for the cob webs to get removed but Leinster are up there with the top teams to beat. Having experienced most HC games last year including the final it's a magnificent competition and a weekend in London in May would be hard to beat.
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:10 am

you're right about Heaslip Rex, he's looking tired to me, but if he gets motoring, he's sensational.

You're right too about Nacewa, at present anyway. If Kearney was to return to Lions form though...

As for the kicking, you saw what Wilkinson said about the ball down there and that's good enough for me. He was made a dick of and he's the best kicker that ever played rugby.

Leinster are definitely the leading Irish contenders but again you're right about the Saints. How could I have forgotten them. Their first 40 minutes in last year's final was the second best half of rugby played in the competition. Unfortunately for them, the best came from Leinster in the second half.

I just love the Heineken Cup, I get really revved up watching it, moreso than the internationals even. Moreso than in the inter-county championship even. It's rawer stuff, more elemental. In fact, I think only my club gets me more pumped than the Heineken Cup. Nearly upon us.
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:04 am

Montpellier v Leinster 13:30 on Saturday.

Vital game for Leinster in terms of the pool as it's probably the hardest game away from home.
Any french team that qualifies for the Heineken cup is going to be formidable and especially so at home. With the likes of Trinh-Duc in their team they will cause Leinster problems.

If Leinster can get Heaslip and O'Brien on go forward ball they should have enough for them, I would like to see Nacewa revert back to fullback but with O' Driscoll out for the year his time on the wing may be extended indefinitely.

Leinster by 6-10 after a tight 60 minutes and the group then for the taking.
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:30 am

good call there rex i would agree with that. i love the heineken cup aswell ogie but not that much in fact i would prefer the 6 nations to it ireland winning the grand slam has to go down as one of my best memories of rugby, did ye see the kind of documentary rte done on it about 2 years ago ferris o`gara bowe all taking the piss of heaslips celebration before he touched down it was very good well worth another look if anyone knows where i could find it? just to relive the jones penalty miss and to hear what was going through the players minds was brilliant
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Rex
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Sun Nov 13, 2011 3:12 am

Poor from Leinster today, lucky to get out of their with a draw. Magnificent kick by Sexton at the end there to salvage a two points.

Break down was a disaster and they got turned over on numerous occcasions. O' Brien was nullified which is a worry as Wales did the same thing and Heaslip although better is still way off his best.
Scrum again was shakey and Healy was missed as van der Merwe was getting pinged regularly.
Cronin made a big difference and he was some man to move to score his try.

Overall poor but a decent result, two points is better than none which it was looking like with twenty to go.
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:34 am

What rugby this evening.... It was great to see all the teams perform so well. Connaght we unlucky. They put up a great display. I know it was hard on them losing out on a bonus point but they can take alot from their game.

Leinster can say they really got something out of nothing... Ulster stuck with it and got their rewards for the effort in the second half.... As for Munster... 41 phases in 4 odd mad minutes.... It was a brilliant match. Great displays by the new faces and some great hits. Also O'Connell looks back to his best. What can you say about O'Gara, tried on more than one occasion to get into the pocket but it eventually came good for him.

A really great spectacle and if this is only the first round.... Role on next weekend.
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:57 pm

How could you NOT love that? And that was only the first round...
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:41 am

great to see sexton kicking that penalty from so far out under so much pressure this lad has it all when he kicks like that
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:04 pm

Yeah, it was a big kick, fair play to him. PIty he hasn't imposed himself on the Irish position but then Rog isn't rolling over!

Ian Humphreys isn't a bad out-half either and I was surprised by the gas he showed scoring that try against Clermont Auvergne. He's a stunning kicker as well. Not in the two boys' league but good.

Here's something I came across with him talking about the next game against Leicester. Also Richard Cockerill and Geordan Murphy.

http://www.daraghoconchuir.ie/blog.php?id=1515

And this is Joe Schmidt talking about Leinster v Glasgow. The good news is that while they might have the most expensive water boy in history, they have no new injuries to report from that bruising battle in France.

http://www.daraghoconchuir.ie/blog.php?id=1516
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:55 am

ronan does it again a ture legend
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:55 am

Leinster v Bath this weekend. Looking forward to heading to the Aviva again. The game at the Rec was poor enough with Leinster butchering at least three tries. Sean O' Brien was the biggest culprit with a terrible decision not to pass outside of him top a three man overlap. Kearny was not far Behring either.

I expect the Leinster lads to be far more Clinical this time around. Bath need watching. Any team that has Ian McGeechan in charge needs respect. Although Donald is an All Black, to me he does not run a game well. His performances are very hit and miss but he can win a game so he needs to be held down.

With home advantage and the will to make amends for the errors last week Leinster to get a bonus point and win by 20.
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:03 am

Great display from Leinster for 65 minutes. They made a lot of subs then and the game became a messy with a lot of mistakes. But for 65 minutes they were untouchable. Some of the precision passing was a sight to behold. Players receiving the ball into their chest at full pace without having to break stride, brilliant stuff.

Luke Fitzgerald's confidence had taken a battering over the last year but that game tonight will bring him on a huge amount. Sexton was at his best, totally running the game and kicking well. The drop goal was a thing of beauty. Rob Kearney has suddenly discovered he does not have to kick every ball and is linking play really well. Three tries came through him tonight running back the ball or linking play and giving the right pass.

The whole team is liked a well oiled machine. Each player a vital cog who knows exactly what their job is. What makes this Leinster team stand out from the pack is their ability to assess broken play situations and attack in the right places. It's these moves which can't be worked on during training that make them very dangerous.

Having watched most of the teams I can only see three or four teams able to give Leinster a game when they are on form. Toulouse, Clermont, Biarritz, (when they want to and if they qualify) and Munster.

Depending on the draw and now that Leinster will get a home quarter I see Leinster and Toulouse being seeded 1 and 2 and it's then two teams who I expect will be in Twickenham next May.

Maybe getting tickets again early would not be such a bad idea.
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:02 am

I think Munster have been going to the well too many times now and its about to coming crashing down around them.

Leinster on the other hand know what to do and when to turn the screw and its when you see what Leinster have on the bench you wonder who is out there to beat them. Barring a slip up I can't see them being beat. But hey I love humble pie.
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Tue Dec 20, 2011 6:15 am

i`d agree there stonecold munster were very lucky to get the win last week the same against northampton and for me i can`t see them touching leinster at the moment toulose would be the biggest oposition at this stage didn`t see them at the weekend but losing to harlequins aint a great sign for them. leinster however are playing great stuff and they are a joy to watch sexton has to be one of the most exciting players around at the moment it doesn`t matter what 2 centres he has beside him he just makes it click, the backs coaches in leinster deserve alot of credit for this.
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:23 am

A Toulouse v Leinster final would be special, Good to see Eoin O' Malley playing well, hopefully when BOD retires he will get even better.
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:43 am

Stonecold wrote:
I think Munster have been going to the well too many times now and its about to coming crashing down around them.

Leinster on the other hand know what to do and when to turn the screw and its when you see what Leinster have on the bench you wonder who is out there to beat them. Barring a slip up I can't see them being beat. But hey I love humble pie.

Munster are the only team with a 100% record in teh competition, and that's with last year's beaten finalists Northampton (blitzed Leinster for half an hour remember), Castres and Llanelli in the group. I know the Saints aren't what they were and Castres aren't in the top three French sides but I don't think it's a case of the thing going to come crashing down. They're clearly not the force they were, and yet they win games, winning games they weren't even the better team in.

I can't see them winning the Heineken Cup. For a start, the loss of the explosiveness that Jones, Wallace and Howlett (Flannery is a huge loss too but Varley has been very good in fairness) bring will be crucial in the end. But there are young lads making an impression, like O'Mahony, Ryan, Barnes, Murray and Chambers, while the scrum has its most solid look for many years.

So is it that when they lose, the thing will come crashing down on them? That doesn't make sense at all. Then it's going to come crashing down on everyone except the winner. If they make the quarter-finals this year and they're well on the way, it's an improvement on last year.

This is a team in transition. The problem, of course, is that when many of these guys hit their peak, Paulie and Rog will be no more. But Munster will always be boxing on in there because their attitude is right.

That's something Leinster had to learn. And how they have learned. Allied with their superior skill set, they are the favourites now, no doubt about it. Quins are flying but we've seen many an English team doing that. The insane schedule they must undergo will wear them down in the end. It's Leinster for me, but I won't be one bit surprised if Munster did do it. For them, the odds are there to be overcome.
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Sun Jan 22, 2012 4:49 am

Well done to Leinster for a dogged win against Montpellier, who were one of the largest teams I have ever seen. Scored some good tries and matched the French physically which was a feat in itself.

Home quarter final and probable top seed. Depending on the draw for the Semi, they'll be hard to beat.

Caught some of the Ulster game and they put some effort into that match. Unlucky not to get something out of the tie.

Munster next up looking for a home quarter. Northampton in their way who would like nothing more than to deprive them of it.

All after Connacht, shocked Quins last night

Great couple of days of Rugby
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:36 am

Great win for Munster, what a game, O' Gara and Zebo were brilliant.

Leinster looked comfortable enough against a pretty poor Montpellier side.

Roll on April...

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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:04 am

Super performance by Munster, ball retention was faultless and after a few years of looking toothless they are actually scoring tries again.

What price a semi between Leinster and Munster.
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:23 am

rex leinster and munster cant meet till the final, i wouldn`t be too apraising of munster performance last weekend northampton had nothing to play for and missing lawes and ashton they were easy enough to overcome in the end with all of there super front row subed off.
ulster will certainly give munster a really good game and may even win, there loss to a clermont team who were fighting for there lives was more impressive and this game will be the stand out game in the quarters.
my semi prediction will be clermont v leinster and ???? v toulose

cant pick a winner between ulster and munster
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:00 am

Yeah I posted that before the draw was made for the semi finals. I'm glad they can't meet until the final.

Semi's will be Munster v Toulouse and Saracens v Leinster

Clermont at home are virtually unbeatable, but away they are vulnerable as all French teams are.
Saracens are a very good team, defending Premiership Champions and are sitting in second place with a good chance of back to back titles.
I can see them turning over Clermont. If they do Leinster will play them at Wembley and will beat them there as they did last year.

Toulouse v Leinster final
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:34 am

unreal stuff from leinster yesterday really tough semi going to clermont will need another big performance, ulster should be waiting in the final
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PostSubject: Re: Heineken Cup   Mon Apr 09, 2012 10:21 am

Great weekend of sport, I was up at the Leinster game yesterday and the Rugby in the first half was electric. I said earlier in the thread that Kearney was not as good a full back as Nacewa, I'm having to re asses that statement. Kearney is back to his Lions 2009 form. No one can get near him under the high ball, great to watch.
The back play is so precise in terms of timings and angles that Cardiff had no idea where to defend. When they defended out wide Leinster powered up the middle. When the middle was reinforced, Leinster went outside them with pace and purpose. Sublime to watch.

Clermont in France will be a huge game and one that will have Rugby fans looking forward to it. Even though Ulster were magnificent today against a Munster team who have ran out of time, I think the winner of the semi in France will win the tournament outright. Wouldn't like to call it but it will be one hell of a game and I'm hoping it will lead to that third star for Leinster on the Jersey.
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