Manu Tuilagi smashes Tom Williams

Top14 player imposter!

JDV smashed by Benoit August

The Northampton Saints 30m scrum!

Bastareaud huge hit on Rory Lamont

All Blacks skills - Pt 2 In the backyard

Trinh-Duc sets up Harinordoquy try

Wales vs England 1999

Greg Holmes great hit on Francois Louw

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Ronan O'Gara rescues Ireland as they scrape home against Italy

Minutes separated the Italians from a historic first-ever-win over the Irish, but Ronan O'Gara’s late drop-goal shattered Azzurri dreams and sealed a tense 13-11 victory for the visitors.

A huge effort from the Italian pack, spearheaded by their outstanding captain Sergio Parisse, rattled and frustrated the Irish, who struggled to find any cohesion and will be thankful to O’Gara for saving their blushes.

It was a glorious day at the Stadio Flaminio and it was the home side that looked to be on top in the early stages. Martin Castrogiovanni was prominent in the tight and in the loose, giving Cian Healy a torrid time in the scrum, whilst Parisse terrorised the Irish breakdown and earned several key penalties.

Mirco Bergamasco got the Italian’s first points with two penalty kicks before Ireland replied with three points from Jonny Sexton. However, neither side could string together any successive phases, and the half ended with the visitors trailing 6-3.

Brian O'Driscoll crashed over for the game’s first try on the 44 minute mark and there was a sense that Ireland had weathered the storm. Yet the Azzurri were ferocious to the last, and with the scores at 6-10 the Italians sensed an upset was on the cards; this looked to be realised when swift hands saw fullback Luke McLean crash over for an unconverted score.

Unfortunately for the Italians, a win was not in the script, and a few minutes later replacement O’Gara snatched an Irish victory from the jaws of defeat.

Try-scorer O'Driscoll said: "The longer [Italy] stayed in the game, the more threatening they were going to be, as they showed with five minutes to go.

"We didn't kill them off, I threw a loose ball into touch [to Fergus McFadden] and we missed other chances. You can't cough it up against any side in Test rugby, and Italy nearly made us pay.

"Thankfully we won, which is probably the only thing we can take out of the game."

Time: 04:44
Credit: BBC



  • I'm an Irish fan through and through, but Italy almost deserved to win that match...definitely not a match for the highlight reels, though.

    He's got his detractors, but I'll always be a huge fan of ROG...well, his offense, anyways.

    Sergio Parisse...what can you say about the guy other than, "Just watch. You'll see." Definitely one of the best no. 8's in international rugby.

    By Anonymous fry, at February 05, 2011 9:09 pm  

  • Oh, and Cian Healy still looks as though he needs to sort out his scrummaging. As big as he is, it looks to be one of his weaker points.

    By Anonymous fry, at February 05, 2011 9:12 pm  

  • How can anyone call this pile of garbage 'rugby'

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 05, 2011 9:25 pm  

  • Italy were unlucky, Ireland was shit (Irish fan)

    By Anonymous Box, at February 05, 2011 9:27 pm  

  • Terrible, boring game. Italy were poor and one-dimensional. Ireland, as usual, failed to live up to their potential.

    Referee was poor. He made a couple of mistakes which favoured Ireland and many many more which favoured Italy. His timing of the call was, as usual, particularly bad and poorly timed and resulted in many unnecessary free kicks.

    Also, I feel it was a very poor choice of referee by the IRB considering that he wrote a letter of apology to the Italians regarding scrumming last year (which no referee should have to do, by the way), particularly when the scrum would be such a vital part of this game. If ever a referee were to favour one side over another, the situation which Poite was in would surely be it and some odd decisions on the field seemed to suggest this.

    By Anonymous KG, at February 05, 2011 9:29 pm  

  • How much rubbish does the half paddy Philip Matthews have to come up with before the BBC get rid of him?

    6-8 and he's saying "And now you can start to see Ireland pulling away."

    Alright mate, yeah, sure we can.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 05, 2011 9:44 pm  

  • good job Italy, perhaps a better 6 nations is in store for them this year??

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 05, 2011 9:58 pm  

  • Not a great game, shite ref and loads of handling errors.

    I thought Italy brought more to their game than usual and i thought that they were really unlucky not to win and i'd tip them to beat either wales or scotland if they play like this for the rest of the tournament.

    Not too worried about ireland, they're really understrength and players need some time to sort themselves out

    By Anonymous Third Centre, at February 05, 2011 10:07 pm  

  • ^^^ meant to say his timing of the call at the scrum.

    By Anonymous KG, at February 05, 2011 10:09 pm  

  • Cian Healy is not an international standard prop. I don't care what he offers in the loose, if he can't scrum then he shouldn't be picked. Tom Court offers solidity and no nonsense. Every time Ire (Healy) collapsed a scrum in that end game period I couldn't believe Court wasn't brought on (he came on after the ITA try).

    Unfortunately, I'd say thats probably Italy's best chance of a win. They always come out strong in the first game.

    This whole shit excuse of the Irish team getting to know eachother and taking time to gel has to stop. Ire has 3 teams to pick from, whereas Eng have roughly 8/9 and the French 10/12.
    Look at those 3 teams and their club selections, with training time thrown in and Ire should be best prepared.

    (Obv there are 12 Premiership and 14 French teams, but they don't all get call ups)

    To see Mike Tindall throw 1 or 2 terrible passes last night and the analysts saying a top class centre shouldn't do that, and BOD would never do that, need to eat their words. He ruined 1 def try and possibly another.

    France by 10 next week.

    By Anonymous AHHHHHHH, at February 05, 2011 10:53 pm  

  • Terrible game but I can see Ireland are starting to develop a style that Leinster are currently doing aswell with more running and less kicking. It will take time but I see positives.

    The problems seems to be that though while they are developing thios game they seem to be forgetting the basics.

    Hopefully its a blip, Ireland always seem to have trouble with weaker teams.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 05, 2011 11:08 pm  

  • italy played well, specially Parisse

    ireland not looking good

    By Anonymous Cheis, at February 06, 2011 12:00 am  

  • if the italian pack did that to us, can you imagine what the French are going to do to us..Unless the irish pack Step their game immensely I can see Ireland getting beat by >20......

    However one bright spot...It was good to see ireland trying to attack from deep and show some ambition...Hopefully they don't abandon this mentality completely, even though I understand more caution will be needed against the likes of France...

    The french mid field defence looked somewhat suspect at times against Scotland so if we can get some sort of decent ball from the scrum and lineout, perhaps Bod and Darcy/Wallace can exploit that...

    By Blogger themull, at February 06, 2011 12:07 am  

  • Also, well played to italy..Hoepfully they can follow it up with more good performances and get a win or two this year...

    By Blogger themull, at February 06, 2011 12:08 am  

  • Dire!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 06, 2011 1:36 am  

  • Didn't catch the game, but that is a terrible picture for the article. You just know that hurts.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 06, 2011 2:18 am  

  • Joke of a performance by Ireland. Zero intensity or creativity in their attack. Terrible scrum and forward play, useless backline. Way, way too many basic handling errors - too many at this level, its just not acceptable.

    The referee was poor, allowing no contest at the breakdown and some of his calls - or lack of them at times, contributed to the dire contest.

    Italy deserved more and hopefully they and their forwards continue that form throughout the tournament.

    France to hammer Ireland next week, we havent a chance. The aussies must be salivating at the prospect of running rings around us in a few months.

    By Anonymous Al, at February 06, 2011 4:14 am  

  • I have never seen Ireland play so badly... a lot of people are giving kudos to italy.. balls to that.. if they couldnt win last night they are never going to win..

    gordon darcy holy shit!!!... and we have paddy wallace as back up..!!!

    not one munster player in the U20's 22 man squad...
    I think lastnight a raven landed on the shoulder of Irish rugby..

    a a disgrace

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 06, 2011 5:12 am  

  • A lot going against Ireland. Healy buckling, O'Callaghan being dead weight as usual, a shortarse back row who couldn't compete at the back of the lineout, no communication between O'Leary and Sexton, D'arcy's Teflon fingers, BOD's overenthusiasm to move the ball wide to a timid McFadden.

    Some good though. Ross stood up well in his first real cap, O'Connell was able to stay on for 70-odd minutes, Lukey was safe under the high ball and ran it well, Earls terrorised the Azzuri backs and Sexton was flawless kicking and lethal in the loose.

    So some to regret some to build on.

    Great italian performance, though thebacks were virtually non-existant.

    By Blogger wow-jiffy-lube, at February 06, 2011 9:51 am  

  • heres the link for the video guys!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 06, 2011 10:36 am  

  • @ AHHHHH

    I don't know about that,i've never seen anything to convince me that Court is a better scrummager than Healy.sure if he comes on in the last 10 minutes he's gonna have some parity,but that's just because he's fresh and his opponent is wrecked after 70 mins of rugby.i don't think that if he started the game he would be any better than Healy in the tight.(and,as you said,Healy offers way more in the loose)

    By Anonymous Leeners93, at February 06, 2011 11:16 am  

  • Everyone needs to relax! first game down won one, when have ireland ever battered italy in the last few years? apart from 2007 but even then it was always close around the 50/60 minute mark. Historically Italy are best on the first game, at home when everyone is level, it was ALWAYS going to be a dogfight, it was ALWAYS going to be close to a point. What I have a problem with is not selection but mentality, Leinster and Ulster have proven it this year whereas Munster have being doing it for years well take this year out as it was a nightmare! but they go into their games confident and are able to express themselves but when it comes to international games it comes in patches, when have we strung an 80 minute performance together apart from england in 2007? maybe france in 2009 but what im trying to get across is if leinster were playing treviso in heineken cup knockout, they would blow them away. I blame the media, the expectation on this country is way too much, it is and I will defend that to the hill, look at our population to the rest of the teams in the 6 nations, look at the rugby playing population compared to the rest of the teams in 6 nations, its so small its riddiculous, that we are able to compete is extraordinary but yes Munster leinster have won heineken cups and now the attention on them is huge, they go into every match expected to score length of the field tries. Its a nonsense, and then to top it off people come in on blogs and abusing the team and all that jazz, we werent pretty in 2009 infact we wer dogged, but people seem to suggest we won every match scoring tries out of this world. look at why new zealand cant win world cups, the pressure is riddiculous, you google irish independent,times examiner all this week and you will see the amount of pages slating the irish, get over it noone died. Everyone knows Ireland put in an average performance by their standards, the next week will be a big improvement, I fancy us to beat france by more than 5 next week, France has a mentality of allowing the opposition to run back at them, their defence isnt particularly great but they believe it will be grand as they will score more tries than us. Everyone should relax and appreciate that your able to watch these players playing because on evidence, the crop coming through wont be as talented.

    By Blogger Paul Gormley, at February 06, 2011 11:39 am  

  • Gormley, just a bit of constructive criticism here:

    If your comments had any sort of format (ie - paragraphs, sentence structure, capital letters, and punctuation), it would be a lot easier to read them.

    As for the "relax!" bit - I would find it easier to relax if Ireland haven't been on the slide to mediocrity (or worse) since winning the Grand Slam. Ever since then, it's been one tough game after another with little to celebrate, apart from ugly-looking wins like this one.

    By Anonymous fry, at February 06, 2011 12:02 pm  

  • Well said Gormley - My thoughts exactly.

    Whenever we beat Italy its never easily - Its only in the last quarter we pick holes in their ragged defense.

    No one gets away from Italy easily. NZ the best try scoring machine on the planet only beat them 20 - 8 last time they beat them - and it should of been 20-15 as Italy clearly deserved a Penalty Try

    By Anonymous BigBucks, at February 06, 2011 12:26 pm  

  • Leinster > Ireland

    By Anonymous dezzy, at February 06, 2011 12:38 pm  

  • Being a huge Italy fan, I was almost in tears when O'gara kicked that drop goal and shattered Italian hopes. Italian defence was incredible and their forward power is potentially the best in the tournament, maybe rivalling France. Castrogiovanni is an immense scrummager alongside Perugini.

    Sergio Parisse is a God amongst men, I don't see how anyone can fault a man who puts 110% into each and every game, and is clinically one of the top No.8's in the game, if not the best.

    It was a poor display by Ireland with several knock on's, but Italy didn't give them any chances to create an attack.

    All I can say is Forza Azzuri for the rest of the tournament and i pray we see a win soon.

    By Anonymous samitarugby, at February 06, 2011 1:22 pm  

  • Ireland didn't play that bad, Italy just played well (surprisingly)
    It's great to see the improvement after a few months of their teams inclusions into the Magners league

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 06, 2011 2:03 pm  

  • "Sergio Parisse is a God amongst men, I don't see how anyone can fault a man who puts 110% into each and every game, and is clinically one of the top No.8's in the game, if not the best. "

    That's what I think, too. He may not be the most threatening number 8 in the world, but he does almost everything right, almost every single game for Italy. And almost every single game, he'll do something outstanding. His performance is consistent, and I think that's what makes him possibly the best no. 8 out there...

    By Anonymous Jonah, at February 06, 2011 3:10 pm  

  • That was very frustrating to watch as an Ireland fan. We know we do not have a divine right to turn up and beat other teams and - as with Scotland last year - I would have had no complaints if they beat us.

    In mitigation, I think that Roman Poite was doing bizarre stuff at scrum time - every single scrum that collapsed was a penalty for Italy, and the Italians quickly realised it. A lot of collapses ensued. Referees usually stand on the side where the ball is put in, but Poite spent most of the match standing on the other side looking for a chance to penalise Cian Healy, apparently not even noticing when the Italian loose head was flat on his face several times on the opposite side to him. Cue the comical sight of Leamy yelling and pointing at the linesman on the open side to do something about it.

    Anyway, hard luck Italy. If they play like that for the rest of the tournament they will give anybody a game. And if we play like that for the rest of the tournament, we are in big trouble.

    By Anonymous Mike, at February 06, 2011 3:35 pm  

  • ireland played terrible.
    the table is going to end like this

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 06, 2011 3:47 pm  

  • Eh? Scotland played pretty well. France were just brilliant (in attack anyway).

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 06, 2011 3:58 pm  

  • @Mike/KG

    I found you very harsh with Poite performance...specially at the scrummage. Even if I tend to agree that some of his decision in the second half were dubious or could be seen as.

    Castrogovianni made a meal of his opponent and clearly you could see Italy had the upper end in the first half on the scrummage.

    For instance Rolland, was inexistant on enforcing the law of releasing the tacklers (on both Welsh/English side). And everytime, the English scrum did not enter properly, one of their props collapsed immediatley before the ball could be entered to reset the scrummage. Good play from the English but Rolland was totally outplayed.

    Still about the Italy/Ireland game, Italy was a bit unlucky as they played effectively with their strenghts (the forwards) but Ireland did have most of the initiatives and could have finished this game earlier if they did not have so much handling errors (and to be fair Italy defended very well).

    By Anonymous Flipje, at February 06, 2011 4:43 pm  

  • Flipje -

    I agree with you that Rolland (who I usually think is pretty good) did not have a good game in Wales v England. But at least he refereed the same for both teams. Did you see how many times the Italian loose head collapsed to the floor, but Poite didn't even notice because he was standing on the wrong side looking at Healy and Castrogiovanni? I think it happened 3 times. Crazy.

    By Anonymous Mike, at February 06, 2011 5:02 pm  

  • @anonymous. Im assuming you didnt watch the France/Scotland match and you are English. As Scotland were actually more impressive looking than Wales Ireland Italy and England... If it wasnt for a dodgy penalty try and a few other dodgy events and descisions... Scotland would have won.
    Actually its not useful to say things like that and its not fair to accuse you of being English, you could be pretty much any nationality! It always seems Scotland have to do TWICE as much as any other team to be taken seriously by common or garden rugby fan(ny).
    But whatever... you all have to live through every day of your tedious existences with the depressing knowledge that you are NOT Scottish. I can understand there might be some hard feelings ;)

    By Anonymous dr, at February 06, 2011 5:40 pm  

  • always thought gonazlo garcia was a very talented guy

    By Anonymous Stinger, at February 06, 2011 6:05 pm  

  • @ Anonymous

    You are clearly delusional if you think Scotland will finish 6th. WHat a joke.

    Based on the weekends performances, the title will be a 3 horse race between France, England and Scotland.

    Englands games against the other two being key.

    If France beat England, they will win the Grand Slam.

    If England beat France and Scotland, they will probably win the Grand Slam.

    If England Beat France but lose to Scotland, then any one of the 3 could win it!

    Unless they improve markedly, neither Ireland or Wales will come close to beating those 3, and one or both of them could well find themselves below Italy this year.

    Italy deserved to win yesterday, and I would tip them to turn over Wales in Rome.

    An unbiased prediction for the tournament based on the weekend performances would be:

    England (only because they have Scotland at home)

    By Anonymous Believer, at February 06, 2011 6:40 pm  

  • oleary would want to go for a pint with redden and stringer, learn how to pass and leave his zimmer frame at home, dog slow,
    darcy would want to stay out of the boozer, was he pissed?
    at least fitzgerald seems to be hitting form again.
    fair play to rog getting us out of that mess but sexy played well considering oleary wasnt willing to dig out one ball for a quick attack.
    big improvement needed lads.....

    By Blogger Ronan, at February 06, 2011 7:03 pm  

  • I have to say that I kind of admire the fighting talk from the Scottish fans - when Scotland have for the last decade been the joke of European rugby. I'm not sure it's fair to be claiming that they are contenders for the 6 nations based on a good showing in losing to France though.

    On the other hand, it's good to see Scotland gaining strength again and long may it continue.

    By Anonymous Gavin, at February 06, 2011 7:19 pm  

  • Gavin, Scotland have proved to have a consistently strong defence for many years. I'm not sure Scotland are the joke of European rugby. If anything at least they have been consistently playing reasonable rugby for 60 odd mins but losing, whereas England Ireland Wales etc seem to make an embarrassment out of themselves on many an occasion. Scotland are not the no.1 team, however the autumn series bar NZ showed scotland as probably the most promising team.

    Anyway onto THIS game. I am actually shocked to see Ireland doing so poorly. Take nothing from Italy but their relative inexperience in the tournament and in rugby history in general makes them the on-paper losers of games against Ireland etc, and in theory the Ireland we expect to see should have closed any game against Italy down by half time. I'm sure ireland have the ability. Sexton is young but seems to be carrying himself most of the time. Their pack 'should' be good, but nothing seems to go their way...

    Which in some ways reminds me of the Scotland of a couple years ago where they had a team of ambitious talented players yet they couldn't seem to produce many/any tries nor a win. I wonder if Ireland need the belief?

    Or could we right it off as: 'ireland went into that game all relaxed thinking it was an easy opener and nearly got their pants pulled down' ?

    By Anonymous (u-p)rick, at February 06, 2011 9:11 pm  

  • It's great that Kidney got us the Grand Slam in 09, but he was able to do so well because he had the Munster players to play Munster style rugby. This year, he has Leinster players at peak form playing fantastic fast paced, running rugby yet he still imposes the Munster style upon them. How did he not let Reddan and Sexton play together? How was Leamy chosen over the other back rows and how was he left on the pitch?

    He had his chance to make poor decisions during the Autumn Tests and he made them (leaving out Ross and O' Brien for example). Why does he continue to do so? The Irish can no longer rely on the Munster style of play and Kidney has to adopt the Leinster style which is working so well, and if he doesn't, the fans might soon turn against him, which would be a shame considering he is a great man and he seemed to be a great coach.

    By Anonymous TheAnonymousOne, at February 06, 2011 9:41 pm  

  • (u)prick -

    I think Ireland are low on confidence at the moment. We were pretty poor in the Autumn against the SH sides, and there are some big problem areas in the team right now - especially in the front row and at scrum half.

    In this game, there were at least 3 tries that were literally thrown away by Ireland, whereas Italy scored on their one good attack. If we had scored the tries that were wasted, Ireland would have won comfortably, but I think that would just have been 'painting over the cracks' - hiding the deeper problems that the team has.

    The question now is, can Ireland sort out or mitigate these problems before being crucified by France next week?

    By the way, the 6 Nations all-time table (starting 2000 when Italy joined) looks like this:

    France 82
    Ireland 78
    England 71
    Wales 52
    Scotland 32
    Italy 15

    By Anonymous Gavin, at February 06, 2011 9:45 pm  

  • Well Folks,
    I put Italy in my short list of SN winners.
    Yes, I am a "faithful" Italian fan....
    Let's see ....

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 06, 2011 10:53 pm  

  • Gavin I had no issues with your comments about ireland merely your comments aimed at scotland....

    ...i dont understand how an irish supporter can be calling other teams 'the joke of european rugby'...

    ..scotland like i said have played fairly consistantly, winning the odd game and losing the rest...

    ireland on the other hand get some big steam roller concept, take a trip somewhere and get smashed over and over on the pitch then have the audacity to blame it on someone else...they seem to have gained the ability to play for the full 80 minutes but have lost the great players they used to have...ROG is a super sub now, along with stringer...keith wood long gone, etc etc...

    England, they win a world cup in 2003, get dicked nearly every game up to 2007 then ruin Australia's chances, then from 07-11 they have been pretty dire, im assuming the team we saw in the autumn has progressed and what we saw against wales is the result which will hopefully for their sake continue until the world cup...

    Italy have been slowly improving but lack experience....and the players of old which carried the team have since moved on leaving them with a gap between scrum half and wing...(which i noted has been closed somewhat...)

    Wales...are just wales...go big or go home is probably their motto...

    France are just killers...one slip by the opposition and they'll take it and the 7 points that come with it...so not much to say about them, other than the fact they can follow irish footsteps by sleeping through most of the game every now and again...

    By Anonymous (u-p)rick, at February 07, 2011 12:47 am  

  • Keith Earls is really overrated, he never produces.

    Healy looked good in the loose, he should switch to hook perhaps as he's too small to scrum.

    Gawd d'arcy was shite, should have been pulled much earlier.

    Italy deserved this one

    By Anonymous Canadian Content, at February 07, 2011 5:50 am  

  • @ (u-p)rick:
    Scotland have improved over the last year, they now have 2 serious second rows in Gray (who is going to be next lion) and Hines, have a very good backrow, but do not have much creativity apart from Evans. The likes of de luca and Southwell, Blair and co. simply do not cut it at international level, what Scotland have done is evolved from the 10 man rugby relying on Patterson to kick the goals and scoring no tries to being able to counter attack and keep ball in hand. Are they world beaters? No.

    To be fair while I admire Scottish rugby and its history they have been a joke for the last 10 years when you consider the players to have played for Scotland and the great teams in the past. Have they finished third in any of the years since Italy joined the 6 nations? Has any Scottish provincial team ever made the quarter finals of the Heineken cup in the last 10 years? Im struggling to remember. How many Scottish players made the 2005 and 2009 lions squad?! In fact they have lost to Italy (when Italy were the whipping boys of the 6 nations) 3 times if not 4.
    Scotland are at the stage Ireland were at in 2004, there might be good results ahead for Scotland but you cannot deny they have been by their own account shocking, in fact the best thing Scotland have produced in the 6 nations in the last year is a passionate national anthem against england!

    Back to Ireland, the 15 players on the pitch are not going out to frustrate the fans! That is not the gameplan! It just so happens they are, We will get a response this weekend Im sure of it.

    And finally to change subject, its getting to a time where you can start seeing potential Lions for 2013. From England the likes of Ashton, Foden, Youngs, Lawes, From Ireland the likes of O brien, Fitzgerald, Earls, Bowe, From Scotland Gray and the 3 backrow. It couls be a very good squad potentially!

    By Blogger Paul Gormley, at February 07, 2011 10:26 am  

  • People calling for Reddan to start the game against France need to wake up a small bit. He's the worst scrum half in Ireland. Stringer is the form scrum half and has a track record against the frogs. Reddan is a non-trick pony. I'd rather see Boss starting.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 07, 2011 1:20 pm  

  • Paul gormless... Shut up with your drivel...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 07, 2011 1:22 pm  

  • i've just read in the irish times that kidney and RFU have doubts on the partiallity of R.Poite, talking about a plot or pressure by nick mallet...

    sour grapes, if ireland had scored their actions, they would not even talk about this polemic.

    if france are sometimes paranoid, irish seem to be good challengers

    By Anonymous Pat, at February 07, 2011 4:00 pm  

  • earls is a fullback as far as i'm concerned. he said as much in the paper before the match. he even said it was nice to be put on the wing, most likely because he isn't and never will be a centre. why fitz is in fullback when he should be at centre and groomed to replace bod is beyond me. yea have bod there for the big games but against weaker nations have fitz there. i did say wallace should have started before d'arcy but i'd have loved to have been proved wrong..i really wasn't. sexton has to start using his brain a bit better. not up to the level yet as far as i'm concerned

    By Anonymous DJ, at February 07, 2011 11:42 pm  

  • What a terrible match.
    Neither of these teams will be any threat come the world cup.
    Except maybe to each other. And possibly to the game of rugby itself.

    By Anonymous Tom, at February 08, 2011 4:12 am  

  • Well said Tom

    This running rugby the Irish coaches and players have been spouting for the best part of a year is delusional at best. Only once, against a poor Wales and possibly in bits verses Eng have Ire backs played well.

    Spring in Rome and they looked pathetic. Sexton may look busy and the wrap arounds look pretty, but, he essentially does jack all. The wraps don't work against the SH teams as witnessed against Australia last June when Pocock ate Sexton up on every one. He also can't kick from hand well and his restarts don't give the pack a chance to challenge. Overall, his defense is his only saving grace over ROG and even ROG put in 1/2 tackles when he came on.

    Game management; Rog.
    Kicking (hand); ROG.
    Kicking (placed); Even.
    Passing; Rog (slightly).
    Defense; Sexton.
    Leadership (crucial for Ire); ROG.

    Probably picking and choosing, what did I miss, oh yeah

    Wraparounds; Sexton (the only god damned move he knows).

    By Anonymous WOWWWWW, at February 08, 2011 5:53 pm  

  • Video down...

    Jesus, you'd think "Six Nations Rugby, Ltd" didn't want to expand its viewing audience. The more people who are exposed to rugby, the more people they'll have paying for subscriptions and buying tickets to matches.

    In the States, we don't get rugby on television without paying extortionist fees, and most people won't pay them if they aren't at least familiar with rugby in the first place....

    If the site were offering pirated videos of entire matches, that would be one thing, but simply offering highlights or a few minutes of video is nothing to get up in arms about...

    By Anonymous good grief, at February 08, 2011 8:51 pm  

  • I think I tend to agree, WOWWWWW....

    You're at least right about Sexton loving the wrap-around plays...and the fact that they almost never seem to work.

    It's a bit sobering when you put it the way you did....I've always hoped they'd get the ball out to the backs (because forwards always seem to do nothing but fuck it up once they get to the try line), but maybe in open play, that's not the answer...I really don't know...

    Maybe that's why Brian O'Driscoll has been such a mythological player - he's one of the few Irish that seem to find ways to break the line when no one else seems to be able to...

    What to do...what to do...

    By Anonymous good grief, at February 08, 2011 8:55 pm  

  • They've not got the basic skills it seems.
    Wrap arounds were a good move in the eighties and some of the nineties, these days it's almost an anachronism.
    To get a good backline going you need to stagger them deep and you need at least one, preferably several playmakers, who know how to play flat and on the gain line.
    Passes need to be held to the last second to creat gaps, and the catch and pass skills need to be of a high standard, they have to be real quick too.

    By Anonymous Tom, at February 08, 2011 10:51 pm  

  • England just destroyed italy and it proved how shit ireland played last week and now england will win the grand slam

    By Anonymous Daniel, at February 12, 2011 5:21 pm  

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