RWC2011 – Ireland’s host towns and training bases

30 08 2011

Ireland depart for New Zealand today for the Rugby World Cup. If you are traveling to watch them, you might be interested in the below schedule of their host cities and training facilities they will be using.

Ireland hold an open training session in Queenstown Events Centre Sept 4th from 1:30pm, keep an eye on this page in the next week or two for details of more..

Ireland’s Host Town and Training Centres

RWC2011: Get the apps: Android

30 08 2011

RWC2011 Android Apps review

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With the Rugby World Cup only around the corner, we are going to review the best free apps available for your smartphone, today it’s Android’s turn, will follow up with a post on iOS apps shortly!

Official Rugby World Cup 2011

– Access the Match Center for live match coverage, including live commentary, stats and video highlights.
– Get the latest news and keep up to date with the RWC Daily video.
– In New Zealand and want to know what to do? Go to the Fan Zone section to find out what events are on near where you are right now.
– Going to the match? Check out stadium locations, seating plans and facilities.

Our Verdict: Polished and packed full of info, would be handy if match times were localized.
Our Rating: *****
Marketplace Link

Rugby World Cup 2011 Tracker

– Live match updates
– Summary of the most recent match results
– All upcoming matches
– All match fixtures including stadium and referee info
– Group tables
– Knockout stage
– Team Information
– Localized match times
– News
– Background results updates and match summaries
– Reminders for upcoming matches
– Add a match to your calendar

Our Verdict:  Not as polished as the official app but a quality product none the less, we love the localised kickoff times!
Our Rating: ****
Marketplace Link

Rugby World Cup 2011 Free

– Live score updates
– top scorers
– fixtures and group standings
– squad lists and player records
– historical data
– all the results from every tournament starting from the first in 1987
– collated tables, see who has the best overall win loss record in world cup history
– head to head, see how your country stacks up against other teams in past tournaments
– see who the all time top points scorers are

Our Verdict:  Again, not as polished as the official app, Love the historical data from every RWC, will settle a few pub arguments no doubt!
Our Rating: ***
Marketplace Link

France v Ireland – Ireland player ratings

15 08 2011

France v Ireland – Ireland player ratings

Rob Kearney – 6.5
Decent shift put in from the Leinster fullback, made a few searing runs from deep, never easy to bring down in the tackle.
Andrew Trimble – 7
Another good performance from Trimble, Looks to have his wing spot almost nailed down. Looked busy and put in a quality physical performance.
Keith Earls – 6.5
Provided some creativity in the center, defensively good, unlucky not to score from a chip and chase in the second half.
Paddy Wallace – 4
Not at the races again, only positive I can see with having him on the field is he provides a decent kicking option that you don’t normally have at 12.
Luke Fitzgerald – 5.5
Not a fantastic game by his standards, conceded 4 turnovers and only made 8 meter running gains. Will need to improve to keep Tommy Bowe out of the 11 jersey.
Ronan O’Gara – 7
Kicked all of Ireland’s 12 points, strange decision by him and Paul O’Connell to kick for 3 points when they had France on the rack in the 2nd half rather then pin the French on their own 5M line.
Eoin Reddan – 5.5
Had a pretty physical game but like Tomas O’Leary last week, labored his pass. O’Leary, Reddan and Boss should be very worried about Conor Murray.
Cian Healy – 6.5
Fantastic to watch in the loose, put in a great defensive performance also, Definite starter for the World Cup.
Rory Best – 4.5
Poor show in the lineout, too many throws going astray, not completely to blame for Ireland’s lineout woes, but contributed.
Mike Ross – 5.5
Decent show in the scrum despite conceding a couple of penalties, Kidney must be having nightmares about Ross getting injured, there is no alternative.
Donncha O’Callaghan – 5.5
Isn’t the same player without Paul O’Connell beside him. Wasn’t used enough in the short, Massive game defensively, made more tackles than any other player.
Leo Cullen (c) – 5
By his standards a poor performance, was calling the lineout which was in disarray in the first half. Didn’t carry the ball at all while on the field.
Donnacha Ryan – 5.5
Big defence from Ryan but needs to carry the ball more, his flexibility in playing lock and backrow may get him onto the plane.
Sean O’Brien – 7
Great to see O’Brien with ball-in-hand, delight to watch. Huge carries and defensive performance.
Denis Leamy – 6
Put in a decent performance, popped up all over the field and made some counting tackles.

Jerry Flannery – 6.5
Made twice the amount of tackles in 20mins than Best made in in 60. Lineout throws were perfect, found their target each time. Has to start next week.
Tony Buckley – 4
Taking alot of flack for the scrum performance, some blame has to lie at Kidneys feet, playing Buckley out of position at loosehead at a crucial part of the game did him no favors.
Paul O’Connell – 6.5
As soon as he steps on the field the collective performances of his teammates improved, Was the target in the lineout and salvaged what was a poor lineout performance.
Jamie Heaslip – 6.5
Like O’Connell, the effect of his introduction was immediate.
Conor Murray – 7
Would love to see him get 60 minutes next weekend, is a wonderful, natural passer of the ball, offers more in attack than any of his competition for the 9 jersey.
Fergus McFadden – 6
Couple of decent carries, not really on long enough to make a decent impression.
Felix Jones – 6.5
Showed plenty of confidence and class when he came on, didn’t look out of place at this level, needs more gametime.

Original article written for

Ireland v NZ player ratings

23 11 2010
New Zealand national rugby union team

Image via Wikipedia

Healy – 6
Big game from Healy, much improved in the scrum, Ireland managed parity 100% success on our own put-in at scrum time.
Best – 6
Made himself incredibly busy for the opening 20mins, fierce defensive display. Court – 5
Was under severe pressure early on in the scrum, popped up out of multiple scrums.
O’Callaghan – 7
Had a great performance, you could see how pumped he was early on, displayed some ‘manic aggression’ as POC would put it.
M O’Driscoll – 6
Certainly can’t complain about his work rate, Called the lineout well in the 1st half. Restarts need allot of work.
Ferris – 8
Massive performance from Ferris, his work rate was through the roof.
Wallace – 6
Questions remain on Wallace’s match-fitness, Not the greatest day at the office for him.
Heaslip – 8
Superb performance, some huge carries. Really had his hands full containing the All-Blacks backrow.
Kearney – 5
Poor game again from Kearney, didn’t threaten at all with ball in hand. ELV’s are not suiting his style of play.
Bowe – 7
Consistently good displays from Bowe, surely one of the finest wingers in world rugby at the moment.
B O’Driscoll – 8
Much improved on recent performances, threw himself into every tackle, defense was superb and that try was a reminder for everyone of the magic BOD can produce.
D’Arcy – 7
Huge work rate in defence, his distribution could improve.
Fitzgerald – 5
Poor game by his standards, didn’t threaten at all during the game.
Sexton – 8
Quality performance, defended well, which has been an issue with ROG at 10 in previous encounters with New Zealand. That door was firmly closed on Saturday.
Reddan – 6
Mixed some brilliance with some madness, Poor decision making may have cost us a try in the first half. His passing left allot to be desired. Defensively poor, 4 missed tackles.

Replacements :
Cronin- 7
Excellent display from the young hooker, introduced after 22mins. Despite one crooked throw which could be chalked down to nerves, he went on to put in a solid performance.
Earls -6
Probably should have been able to ground the ball for his try or put it back inside.
Toner – 7
Excellent in the lineout, he did the job he was brought in for.
Hayes -6
Hit some rucks pretty hard on Saturday, decent performance.
Leamy -7
Played well when introduced for Wallace, possibly looking for his first start of the Autumn series next weekend?
Stringer -7
The tempo of the game immediately changed with his introduction, feel he should have come on earlier.O’Gara – Introduced after 76mins, not on long enough for a rating.

Original article written for

Ireland v All-Blacks preview

19 11 2010

Ireland v New Zealand

Saturday 20th November, Lansdowne Road, Kick Off 17:30

Declan Kidney’s team selection for the All-Blacks game on Saturday has face some fierce criticism since it was announced yesterday. The controversial selection of Eoin Reddan, Mick O’Driscoll and John Hayes on the bench raised some eyebrows due to their recent poor form.

Cian Healy, Rory Best and Tom Court make up the Irish front row that will surely be tested, John Hayes manages to keep a spot on the bench surprisingly after his poor performance in the Samoa game and many have been calling for Mike Ross to get a chance to prove himself at this level, it is obvious that he is not featuring in Kidneys current plans.

Ireland’s game plan has depended heavily on the set piece, We need parity in the scrum and lineout to secure territory. Mick O’Driscoll struggled in the South African game against one of the most experienced and best lineouts in world rugby. The All-Blacks do not have same experience at hooker or 2nd row that South Africa have and we should be much more competitive. Devin Toner secured 100% of lineout ball against Samoa last week and he rightly can feel hard-done-by for not getting a starting place this weekend.
There was some better news for the Irish lineout with the withdrawal of Kiwi lock Brad Thorn who has been ruled out of playing on Saturday after failing to recover from a hamstring strain. He has been replaced in the starting XV by Anthony Boric with Samuel Whitelock coming onto the replacements bench.

David Wallace will have his hands full contending with Richie McCaw, no surprises in the selection of his backrow partners Ferris and Heaslip. Jamie Heaslip will have a huge point to prove against the All-Blacks after his early exit in the Summer game in New Plymouth. He will need no motivation for a big performance, he owes it to his team-mates.

The selection of Eoin Reddan at scrum half has Irish rugby fans scratching their heads. He had a truly awful game against South Africa. New Zealand are lethal on the deck and at ruck time, there will be no time for Reddan’s slow ponderous passes, I promise you something, he will be turned-over repeatedly by the Kiwi backrow. We can only hop that Kidney will makes the changes early on if this happens and not to leave it with 20 minutes to go. In my mind Declan Kidney missed a real opportunity in the Samoan game not to start Peter Stringer with Jonny Sexton, as this would be my starting half-backs going into the 6 Nations and World Cup next year.
Ronan O’Gara can feel a little aggrieved not to be starting, but I think that Kidney has made the right choice at out-half. Sexton is the future, he is going to be the first choice 10 going into next year. Having a player of O’Gara’s vast experience on the bench is like having a massive insurance policy, if it’s not working out for Sexton on the day, Ireland know that O’Gara can come off the bench cold and close a game out.

The centre partnership of D’arcey and O’Driscoll are going to have to vastly improve on their recent performances. Their defensive abilities will be truly tested when facing the onslaught of Conrad Smith an Ma’a Nonu. And with Sonny Bill Williams waiting for his chance to spring from the bench, O’Driscoll and D’arcey will have no respite for the full game. The ever dependable Tommy Bowe and Luke Fitzgerlad will provide support out wide. Rob Kearney returns from injury to take his fullback jersey from Fitzgerald who filled in admirably for him last week.

The Irish pack will have to turn in a huge performance to compete with the Kiwi’s, the lineout will be more competitive, in the backrow we may have a slight edge. Reddan is the real weak-link in this team, Hopefully, if it isn’t working out Kidney makes changes early. We’ll need huge performances from O’Driscoll and D’arcey to stay in the game.

Realistically, The weather is the only thing that will save Ireland now, current weather forecast for Saturday is showers, the forecast for Ireland’s chances against the All-Blacks is equally gloomy.
Prediction: New Zealand by 15+

Ireland team (v New Zealand): C Healy, R Best, T Court, D O’Callaghan, M O’Driscoll, S Ferris, D Wallace, J Heaslip, R Kearney, T Bowe, B O’Driscoll (C), G D’Arcy, L Fitzgerald, J Sexton, E Reddan. Replacements : S Cronin, J Hayes, D Toner, D Leamy, P Stringer, R O’Gara, K Earls.

New Zealand team (v Ireland): M Muliaina, C Jane, C Smith, M Nonu, H Gear, D Carter, A Ellis; K Read, R McCaw (C), J Kaino, T Donnelly, A Boric, O Franks, H Elliot, T Woodcock. Replacements : A Hore, J Afoa, S Whitelock, L Messam, A Mathewson, S Donald, S Bill Williams

Original article written for

My Ireland starting XV

26 10 2010

Article originally written for
Ireland have an attractive fixture list this Autumn, facing Springboks on Saturday week, followed by tests against Samoa, New Zealand and Argentina.  I have compiled what I think is the strongest starting XV, Welcome any feedback in the comments.

Back Three
The fullback jersey stays with Leinster’s Rob Kearney, Geordan Murphy is set join the squad after the South African test, but don’t see him getting the nod ahead of Kearney in the big test games against South Africa and New Zealand.  Tommy Bowe and Keith Earls fill the wing spots. Luke Fitzgerald returns to the squad after hip and rib injuries, he should make an appearance from the bench for the South African game.

Tried and tested combination of Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy.Nothing to see here!

This possibly the biggest headache for Declan Kidney, Ronan O’Gara and Johnny Sexton likely to get pretty even game-time across the 4 tests, I reckon O’Gara will probably start the opening game against the Springboks. Since Tomas O’Leary is out with a thumb injury, Peter Stringer has stepped back into the frame with some great performances for Munster, however, in-form Leinster scrumhalf, Isaac Boss will probably get the nod ahead of Stringer.

Kidney will go for the combination of Ferris, Wallace and Heaslip for the South Africa and New Zealand tests. Connacht’s John Muldoon likely get a start in the Samoa or Argentina game.

2nd Row
Likely to be the Munster combination of Donnacha O’Callaghan and Mick O’Driscoll with Leinster’s Devin Toner starting the Samoa/Argentina test.

Front Row
Tony Buckley has finally usurped John Hayes in the front-row, Cian Healy will take the loosehead spot. Due to Jerry Flannery being injured, Rory Best will start at hooker, Keep an eye out for Sean Cronin in the Samoan/Argentina game, his recent form for Connacht has been outstanding, check out the video below for an example of his pace from their recent match against Bayonne in the Amlin Challenge cup:

15. Rob Kearney
14. Tommy Bowe
13. Brian O’Driscoll
12. Gordon D’Arcy
11. Keith Earls
10. Ronan O’Gara
9. Isaac Boss
8. Jamie Heaslip
7. David Wallace
6. Stephen Ferris
5. Mick O’Driscoll
4. Donnacha O’Callaghan
3. Tony Buckley
2. Rory Best
1. Cian Healy

Last man standing- Ireland’s injury list grows

5 06 2010

[tweetmeme source=”22dropout” only_single=false]

Even before a ball was kicked last night Johnny Sexton and Shane Horgan pulled out of the Irish touring squad (gum infection and stomach-bug) Hopefully both of these guys make a full recovery and will join up with the squad later in the week.

Fergus McFadden broke his jaw in the game last night, Jerry Flannery was subbed off after a brief appearance, nursing his troublesome calf muscle. Damien Varley has been called up to take his place. Of course during the week Keith Earls had been withdrawn due to an ongoing groin injury, Paul O’Connell hasn’t played since the 6-Nations with a groin injury also. Stephen Ferris will not be traveling down under due to a broken cheekbone, Luke Fitzgerald and Denis Leamy will not be making a return from injury until next season. Rory Best is suffering from an ankle injury and  Kevin MCLaughlin (knee).

As @WhatYouLookinAt put it this morning on Twitter:

“Healy, Best, Cullen, O’Connell, McLaughlin, Leamy, O’Brien, Sexton, Fitzgerald, McFadden, Earls, Horgan…add a tight head, a scrum half and a full back and it wouldn’t be a bad team only that they’re all crocked! …and that team would still have Ferris and Flannery on the bench! Southern hemisphere tour from hell coming up I fear :-(“

Have to agree with all of that!

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