80+ column : 6N on-pitch anticipation, off-pitch frustration

Welcome to my 80+ column, a weekly post featuring final thoughts from the week of rugby just gone.  

SIX NATIONS COMPETITION

The countdown to “6Mas” gets closer to zero and this year we’re launching a prediction league in conjunction with the Fanzo app, if we get good engagement we’ll offer some prizes for the best players so you’ll really help us out by joining and/or sharing the above graphic with your rugby loving pals.

Here at Harpin Manor we’re running a separate league among our squad of Six Nations podsters, namely myself, Keego, Mark Jackson, Tom Coleman, Conor Cronin, Rich Mifsud & RugbyKino.  And don’t tell them I said this but none of them think any of you have a hope of beating them when it comes to forecasting so I guess you’ll just have to prove ‘em wrong won’t you 😜


WRAP OF A WRAP

Unfortunately Rich Mifsud had to sit our our wrap pod at the weekend due to illness and we hope we returns to fitness in time for next Sunday.  Thankfully RugbyKino was able to answer the call and along with Conor we got an excellent summary of what was expected to be a much closer contest at the RDS.

If you missed it, check it out here or on most major platforms.


HARPIN’ ON…LEINSTER’S TAP N GO TRIES

For the pod I try to even out the portions of the match I get my guests to cover as best as I can, yet sadly I didn’t realise Kino had done a lot of preparation on Leinster’s success rate with short tap n go penalty options when I allocated our two tries against Cardiff to Conor.  But when we finished recording the main pod Kino still shared the information and unbeknownst to him the mic was still “hot” so I got it all and made it into a bonus clip for YouTube which you see below.

If you’re playing the clip above maybe pop over and subscribe to the channel too?  That’s where we post our Preview Show as well as other content throughout the week.


HARRY BYRNE TIK TOK

This week the TikTok spotlight turned to Harry Byrne, this was an important start for him and we thought he did realy well.

@harpinonrugby

Our #LEIvCAR wrap pod is now live at anchor.fm/harpinonrugby and most major platforms

♬ original sound – Harpinonrugby.com – Harpinonrugby.com

SIX NATIONS GOVERNANCE

Folks, what the hell is going on here???

I’m doing my best to keep myself from donning the tinfoil hat but it would appear that unions from all Six Nations are experiencing varying forms of governance issues in the weeks leading up to the game’s greatest championship kicking off, almost as if (a) we’d have difficulty focusing on everything at once and (b) once the rugby starts we’re expected to forget it anyway.

None of it is pretty, and yes I do mean all unions are involved. 

Recently we had the terrible allegations of systemic misogyny made against the WRU in a documentary, which of course simply sits atop a whole host of other issues there.   

Also last week there was further development in Bernard Laporte’s saga which doesn’t look like straying too far from the news cycle, something the FFR could do without in a RWC year.  

Although what happened in Italian rugby, namely the disgusting “secret Santa” present, was confined to one club, it was their biggest and surely warranted involvement by the union and the response has been extremely insufficient.  

Meanwhile in Scotland the SRU has fallen well short addressing the tragic death of Siobhan Cattigan.  

Then there was the RFU making an absolute hames of introducing new tackle laws at lower levels (in every sense), a problem with communication that by all accounts is nothing new over there.

As for Irish rugby?  Well perhaps on the surface there’s nothing in the front line news, yet while steps are being taken to improve the Women’s game with professional contracts and new competitions being announced, there is information being put out there by a particular twitter account that suggests a lot more needs to be done.

Each issue is vast and extremely difficult to summarize in an article like this one, but the reason I had a stab at it was to present the overall view from just outside the 6N bubble.

We love rugby on the pitch; I’m writing this article and you’re reading it so that goes without saying.  But knowing so much negativity is going on behind the scenes is certainly not acceptable, especially when the governance issues are so widespread.  No organisation is ever going to have everything perfect all the time, but what does seem to be a common thread in the above stories is that the failures are in areas where you’d expect to have set standards throughout the sport, something I would have thought a body like World Rugby was there to fix.


SEVENS

Another strong showing by the Irish women, this time reaching another semifinal after an impressive quarterfinal win over Fiji which put some distance between us and them in the overall series standings and keeps us within reach of the top four.

Meanwhile the men also reached the last eight but a couple of early mistakes against the Blitzbokke made a fightback impossible so we are continuing to struggle to match the excellent silver medal in Dubai.

Next on the circuit is Los Angeles for the men at the end of February, while both they and the women join them in Vancouver the following weekend.  Without researching I just have to say on the surface it does seem odd that LA can’t provide for a women’s leg in the series.

But that just brings me to the point I always like making when discussing the World Sevens Series…


AIL UPDATE

Before I harp on the Men’s AIL, a quick shout out to the Women’s Combined Provinces XV – clunky name I know,  but apparently it’s just for the one season as the new Celtic Challenge tournament is meant to expand from one team per nation to two next season.  Anyway – they opened their campaign with a 27-26 win away to their Welsh counterparts in the opening match.

Now to Division 1A and in Round 12 there was so much going on at both ends of the table it’s hard to know where to start.  I guess it’s best to “take it from the top” as league leaders Terenure suffered only their second defeat of the season, this one at home to rivals Clontarf and with Cork Con also winning, it means just three point separate the top three. Then there’s the race for that fourth semifinal berth as Young Munster scored a home win over Trinity to leap frog them.

But arguably the biggest result of the round was Garryowen finally kicking the duck egg out of their win column by beating Lansdowne, who in turn got dragged back into the relegation battle as UCD also did some leap-frogging, sneaking out of the bottom two at Shannon’s expense.

The clubs now get a couple of weekend’s off to let punters catch the Six Nations in their bars (seriously, if you can, do get down to your local clubs to watch if you can, it really helps them out) and they return to action with some big matchups as you can see below.

Men’s AIL

Cork Con 14-3 Ballynahinch

Garryowen 21-17 Lansdowne

UCD 22-19 Shannon

Young Munster 17-10 Dublin Univ

Terenure 24-29 Clontarf



Sat Feb 18

Ballynahinch v Terenure

Clontarf v Young Munster

Lansdowne v Cork Con

Shannon v Dublin University

UCD v Garryowen


THE NEXT BATCH OF HARPIN’

I’d like to say here “from now on we’re switching into FULL SIX NATIONS MODE for the next couple of months”, but of course I can’t say that because there’s a bit of URC thrown in there plus I have another couple of pods lined up on other topics for good measure.

But still, obvs the bulk of the coverage is going to be on the 6N starting with an overview pod which will record Wednesday evening, then the tournament opener in Cardiff will be getting the usual Harpin treatment with a preview Friday, wrap on Sunday plus a whole lot of other features in between.

In the meantime, be sure to enjoy your rugby wherever you are.  JLP


215 : Leinster v Cardiff wrap

28 January 2023; A general view of a scrum during the United Rugby Championship match between Leinster and Cardiff at RDS Arena in Dublin. Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

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SIX NATIONS GUINNESS PINT PREDICTOR LEAGUE


THIS WEEK’S GUESTS

CONOR CRONIN & CIAN O’MUILLEOIR


FULL TIME TAKES

FACEBOOK

Gavin Hegarty

We beat a Cardiff team with our thirds. We had the bp quick enough and took the foot off the gas in the second half to allow them two tries back.

Delight to have chopper Connors back and to see him doing what he does best.

Great to see the debutants, Leinster are going to be a force for years to come.

Brian Corr

Feel Cardiff came thinking they were going to have an easy game with so many Leinster players on Ireland duty, they realised their mistake too late.

It’s great to see Deegan playing so well and even better to see Connors back.

It’s a great testament to Cullen and his coaches that they have the back up squad so tuned in and able to step up when needed, even if Cardiff were not really at the races.

Tector getting his first points, Turner with another great try.

Great outcome for Leinster, especially racking up the points for home games in the knockouts.

Karen Brennan

Well done to new young players getting their first cap,a great occasion for them,especially Balbriggan rugby clubs Aitzol King👍🏻

TWITTER

MASTODON

RichardMifsud I always love watching @leinsterrugby play but I particularly love it when the young guns get a run out. TBH I was expecting a tougher game but Cardiff disappointed Deegs very worthy POTM Good outings from Milne Brownlee Turner as well as our starting back row and halfbacks Disappointing 10 minutes in the final quarter but that’s great learning for the kids 

Andrew Byrne Harry Byrne’s kicking out of hand was very good, amazing the difference a bit of game time makes. We got a bit sloppy in the final quarter but to be expected with so many changes. Cardiff’s coaches must be pulling their hair out, their team was outclassed by an inexperienced Leinster team.


FRONT FIVE ARTICLES

  1. RFU Apologise After Severe Criticism Over Controversial New Tackle Laws | Balls.ie [Colman Stanley]
  2. Bernard Laporte resigns from FFR president role after corruption conviction (talkingrugbyunion.co.uk)
  3. Ulster sink Stormers with home success | Belfast News Letter [Ciaran Donaghy]
  4. Six-try Munster bank bonus in Treviso thriller (irishexaminer.com) [Kevin Fallon]
  5. Jack Carty becomes Connacht’s all-time top points scorer as Lions tamed at Sportsground – The Irish Times [Linley MacKenzie]

URC ROUND 13 WRAP

ROUND 13

ULS 35-5 STO

SCA 37-28 BUL

BEN 30-40 MUN

DRA 28-42 GLA

LEI 38-14 CAR

EDI 19-22 SHA

CON 43-24 LIO

ZEB 24-28 OSP



Feb 4 (Round 1)

SHA v STO

Round 14

Feb 17

MUN V OSP

GLA V ULS

Feb 18

LIO V SHA

BUL V STO

ZEB V CON

SCA V EDI

CAR V BEN

LEI V DRA


HARPIN’ MATCH WRAPS ARE

BROUGHT TO YOU BY

THE IRISH RUGBY STORE

214 : Harpin Preview Show #LEIvCAR



OUR GUEST : MARK JACKSON


Leinster: 15. Chris Cosgrave 14. Max O’Reilly 13. Liam Turner 12. Ben Brownlee 11. Dave Kearney 10. Harry Byrne 9. Luke McGrath

1. Michael Milne 2. John McKee 3. Michael Ala’alatoa 4. Ross Molony 5. Brian Deeny 6. Rhys Ruddock  CAPTAIN 7. Scott Penny 8. Max Deegan

16. Tadgh McElroy 17. Marcus Hanan 18. Thomas Clarkson 19. James Culhane 20. Will Connors 21. Nick McCarthy 22. Charlie Tector 23. Aitzol King


Cardiff: 15 R Priestland 14 O Lane 13 R Lee-Lo 12 B Thomas 11 J Harries 10 J Evans 9 L Williams

1 B Thyer 2 K Myhill 3 Keiron Assiratti 4 L Timani 5 S Davies 6 J Turnbull (capt.) 7 J Botham 8 J Ratti

16 K Dacey 17 C Domachowski 18 W Davies-King 19 R Thornton 20 S Lewis-Hughes 21 E Bevan 22 A Summerhill 23 M Morgan


BKT United Rugby Championship 22/23

Round 13

Sat Jan 28  KO 5pm

RDS Arena


Referee: Jaco Peyper (SARU)

AR 1: Joy Neville (IRFU) 

AR 2: Andrew Fogarty (IRFU)

TMO: Marius Jonker (SARU)

Live on: RTÉ, S4C, Viaplay, Premier Sports, SuperSport, Discovery + & URC.tv


213 : Opposition view – Cardiff & Wales

For our first Opposition View pod of 2023 I was delighted to speak to Lee & Rhys from the excellent WRRAP pod about the regions’ season so far plus the Welsh Six Nations squad.

Our guests…

LEE GRIFFITH &

RHYS JOHN

Their pod on the Welsh 6N squad > https://anchor.fm/wrrap/episodes/Bonus-pod—The-Wales-squad-e1tl9ph/a-a8qnq0j

Throwback Thursday : Leo Cullen, Lengthy Contracts & Leinster Culture (July 2015)

To commemorate the news of Leo Cullen staying on at Leinster’s helm for another two years, I’m posting this article I wrote back in July 2015 just before it was officially announced he was taking on the role.


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I have put off writing this post for long enough…although nothing has been formally announced, there have certainly been enough rumblings around the media to suggest that Leo Cullen is to be the new head coach for Leinster, so I suppose it’s about time I gave some thoughts on it.

Of course to anyone who knows the game, the move would be considered a risk.  Though I find some of the comparisons being made to appointments in the past to be very baffling.  Steve Staunton?  Eh, no.  Chalk and cheese, mate. 

Sure, Stan made a bucketload of appearances for and was a part of the successful times for the team he was taking over, but his involvement with the Republic of Ireland consisted of about a dozen or so appearances per season while the rest of the time he was with his club of the day.

In Leo’s case, we are not only talking about a club with which he has spent the bulk of his professional career, however unfortunate or indeed unfair his limited Ireland caps total may be, it means he has probably clocked more working hours around the provincial set-up since the start of our “glory days” than any other.

Or to put it another way…if we were to confer the title “Mr. Leinster Rugby” on any individual, I can think of no better man to receive it. 

So when it comes to stepping into this role, one big advantage he has over Staunton is a near perfect knowledge of virtually every aspect of the organisation surrounding the head coach’s chair without ever actually having sat in it.

If we must compare this appointment to an iffy decision from history, I’d be more inclined to go for Martin Johnson’s for  England (yes, that actually did happen, as much as the press across the water tries to airbrush it out of history).  I mean the similarities are very easy to find…legendary lock/skipper who led the side to the highest honour his team could achieve. 

But even that comparison has flaws – I mean, for one thing, I doubt we’ll be hearing stories of dwarves being tossed around Krystle night club any time soon!!!  Joking aside…the assumption around the RFU’s decision with Johnson seemed to be that he’d be an instant success.  That the spirit of 2003 was one that could be bottled and spread to future generations of players.

I think it’s pretty widely known that Leo was never the first choice for the job, and we have all heard the Who’s Who of Rugby Coaches that has been linked with the post.  And given his personality I’m sure he will approach the position with an air of pragmatism as opposed to the air of arrogance that went with Johnson.

So that brings us to the next area we need to consider…how the decision of who gets the job is actually made.

With the success of Leinster and Munster in Europe since 2006, the two provinces are quite rightly considered up alongside the great outfits in European rugby like Toulouse, Leicester Tigers, Wasps and of course most recently Toulon.  And it’s hard not to cross-over to the round ball game and draw comparisons to Champions League greats like Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Manchester United.

There is absolutely no doubt that the head coach role at any of those institutions is one of an importance near to (if not more so in soccer’s case) international equivalents, and whenever those positions go on offer, the debate over who will fill them is extensive.

But here is where we must draw attention to one very important distinction.  Toulouse, Wasps and Man Utd are CLUBS.  The Irish provincial teams are not, at least not in the traditional sense.  They are branches of the national rugby union.  Many soccer clubs answer to shareholders alright but never to their football association.

At Leinster, Mick Dawson as CEO leads an extensive organization that has a mountain of work to get through from spreading the sport around the 12 counties to organizing match days to putting plans in place for improvements to the RDS Arena.

But when a big decision like a head coach appointment comes around, while I certainly wouldn’t say it’s “out of their hands”, it does need to be looked at through an IRFU-wide lens rather than simply a Leinster one.

The reason I was reluctant to do this post was that I had hoped that my last one on Matt O’Connor meant I could put the matter in a box and file it away in the HoR archives to gather dust but here is where I must drag it up again if only briefly.  As far as its head coaching position is concerned, Leinster Rugby together with the Leinster Professional Games Board and the IRFU had a plan already in place for this coming season…namely the last year of O’Connor’s 3-year contract.

And putting the disgruntled Leinster supporters aside just for a moment, this arrangement seemed to be one that suited everyone, given that right now, in the summer of 2015, the Prime Directive of Irish Rugby has to be preparation for our assault on the Rugby World Cup – and I sincerely hope nobody has any argument with  that!

Yet now we must bring the supporters back into the equation.  We can look at them two ways…the reality is that over the past 12 months there have been extremely varying opinions on Matt O’Connor’s tenure at Leinster and these have all been expressed on this site by several different contributors.  Then there’s the perception that the Leinster fan base is all of one mind and never wanted O’Connor in the first place.

That external perception would still seem to hold to this day, and to be fair, when Leinster had their worst dip in form of the season during the Six Nations, more and more fans were warming to the idea that change was needed and even coming within the width of a goalpost of defeating Toulon and reaching another European final wasn’t enough to claw it back.

Given that wave of what I called “Anti-Matter” opinion, the Leinster management could well be entitled to raise an eyebrow when those same fans have qualms about anyone who assumes the role. (“Leo Nay-Sayers”?)

Say you’ve been waiting for a table at a busy restaurant and they offer you one but you don’t want to sit there because it’s too near the kitchen, so the maître d goes out of his way to find you another one, only for you to complain about that for a different reason.

Given it’s a World Cup year, the coaches with CVs worthy of a 3-time European champion outfit are all either in contracts or at least are on career paths that revolve around the four-year World Cup cycle…meaning the summer just before one is a marketplace similar to the busy restaurant I mention above.  And I suspect those involved in the Leinster decision were well aware of this when they installed the word “interim” in Leo’s title, just in case.  It would appear the “in case” has happened.

If we like, we can convince ourselves that we have been “stuck” with Leo.  We can doom his tenure to failure before it even begins.

Or…we could pay attention to someone like Bernard Jackman, himself a table in that restaurant that is already taken.  I strongly recommend you listen to his contribution on Second Captains’ Monday edition but here are some of the things he had to say in Leo’s favour…

“Leo Cullen’s great strength is in powering others”

“Culture is what wins you championships and Leo Cullen is very clued into that”

“His skill set probably suits being a head coach more than being a unit coach”

I also suggest you read this post from Big Joe Shep here on this site looking at the new Leinster coaching ticket more as a “collective”.  With hopefully a quality backs coach appointment on the horizon (preferably from the outside) to finish it off, it actually is quite a decent mix of talent and with someone who both “gets” the Leinster culture and has been heavily involved in making it work within the Irish framework at the helm, I definitely cannot classify the move as a “disaster” as some suggest.

On the point that he was part of the coaching staff responsible for the disappointing effort last season, it’s hard not to concede that as a negative but a bit like the point Berch makes, if we’re going to tag Leo with the ills of our pack last season then this new set-up has given responsibility to someone else so we’ve every reason to expect an improvement.

And talk of a 2- to 3- year deal also seems baffling when hearing it first, but once more we have to consider all the angles…Leinster will want the matter decided sooner rather than later, and no doubt Leo’s representatives in the negotiations will do what they can to get the most security out of the deal.  It’s simply how the modern game works.

Finally as fans we have to look at our expectations for the future in general, and this coming season in particular.  Are they the same as they have been in recent years?  Is it really silverware or bust for us in the 2015/16 campaign?  I’m not so sure.

And given all the variables surrounding the province this season…so much talent being away for the first couple of months,  the possibility of some getting injured at the World Cup, the absolute stinker of a Rugby Champions Cup pool, the likelihood of limited integration time before it kicks off, the necessity of blooding a raft of promising youngsters into the senior squad…I’m not sure there’s a head coach out there who could walk fresh into the job and make it an instant success – and yes, I’m including Joe Schmidt in that list.

If I had to set a minimum target on the results front, I would go with a return to the final four of the Pro12 and at very least a decent effort to get out of that Euro pool.  Does this mean Leo should lose his job if we don’t make that goal?  Absolutely not.  There are several other factors like the style of rugby we play and the type of team selection decisions we make to consider, but it would certainly be nice to have more than one match in May again.

So before we look away from these Leinster headlines and back towards the World Cup ones (which is absolutely what I will be doing after this post!), my advice to fellow fans would be to consider the big picture for Irish rugby at this particular time and get behind our teams both blue and green in every way we can.

Not so much a “wait and see” approach, rather a much more interactive and constructive “Come On You Boys In Blue” one.  JLP


#COYBIB

Rugby on TV : Jan 27-Feb 1

FULL LIST

(all times Irish)

NOTE : PREMIER SPORTS IS NOW ALSO KNOWN AS VIAPLAY

FRIDAY, JANUARY 27

2:28AM – IRELAND WOMEN V SPAIN – SYDNEY 7S – WORLD.RUGBY

3:22AM – IRELAND MEN V SAMOA – SYDNEY 7S – WORLD.RUGBY

8:35AM – IRELAND WOMEN V BRAZIL – SYDNEY 7S – WORLD.RUGBY

7:35PM – ULSTER V STORMERS – URC – RTÉ TWO, VIAPLAY 1, URC.TV*

7:35PM – SCARLETS V BULLS – URC – BBC2 WALES, VIAPLAY 2, URC.TV*

7:45PM – SALE SHARKS V BATH – PREMIERSHIP – BT SPORT 1

10PM – IRELAND MEN V SPAIN – SYDNEY 7S – WORLD.RUGBY

10:30PM – SCARLETS V BULLS (REPEAT) – URC – PREMIER SPORTS 2

SATURDAY, JANUARY 28

2:56AM – IRELAND WOMEN V AUSTRALIA – SYDNEY 7S – WORLD.RUGBY

4:05AM – IRELAND MEN V USA – SYDNEY 7S – WORLD.RUGBY

6:64AM – WOMEN’S PLAYOFFS BEGIN – SYDNEY 7S – WORLD.RUGBY

8:37AM – MEN’S PLAYOFFS BEGIN – SYDNEY 7S – WORLD.RUGBY

12:30PM – BRISTOL BEARS V SARACENS – WOMEN’S PREMIER 15S – PREMIER15S.COM

2PM – LEICESTER TIGERS V NORTHAMPTON – PREMIERSHIP – BT SPORT 2

2:30PM – BENETTON V MUNSTER – URC – TG4, VIAPLAY 2, URC.TV*

3PM – DRAGONS V GLASGOW WARRIORS – URC – VIAPLAY 1, URC.TV*

3PM – SARACENS V BRISTOL BEARS – PREMIERSHIP – PR.TV*

3PM – WORCESTER V LOUGHBOROUGH – WOMEN’S PREMIER 15S – PREMIER15S.COM*

4:30PM – EXETER V GLOUCESTER – PREMIERSHIP – BT SPORT 2

5PM – LEINSTER V CARDIFF – URC – RTÉ TWO, VIAPLAY 1, S4C, URC.TV*

5:15PM – EDINBURGH V SHARKS – URC – VIAPLAY 2, URC.TV*

7:35PM – CONNACHT V LIONS – URC – TG4, VIAPLAY 1, URC.TV*

10:45PM – LEINSTER V CARDIFF (REPEAT) – URC – PREMIER SPORTS 1

11:15PM – RACING 92 V LA ROCHELLE (TAPE DELAY) – 🔝🐱🐴 – PREMIER SPORTS 2

12:30AM (SUNDAY) – BENETTON V MUNSTER (REPEAT) – URC- PREMIER SPORTS 1

SUNDAY, JANUARY 29

3PM – ST MICHAEL’S V BELVEDERE – LEINSTER SCHOOLS CUP – IRISHRUGBYLIVE.IE*

3PM – ZEBRE V OSPREYS – URC – S4C, VIAPLAY 2, URC.TV*

3PM – LONDON IRISH V HARLEQUINS – PREMIERSHIP – BT SPORT 1

8PM – TOULOUSE V MONTPELLIER – 🔝🐱🐴 – VIAPLAY 2

MONDAY, JANUARY 30

3PM – BLACKROCK COLLEGE V PRES BRAY – LEINSTER SCHOOLS CUP – PREMIER SPORTS

8PM – AGAINST THE HEAD – RTÉ TWO

TUESDAY, JANUARY 31

3PM – NEWBRIDGE V KILKENNY – LEINSTER SCHOOLS CUP – IRISHRUGBYLIVE.IE*

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1

3PM – TERENURE V CLONGOWES – LEINSTER SCHOOLS CUP – IRISHRUGBYLIVE.IE*

* paid streaming service


RUGBY ON TV 

IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY

THE IRISH RUGBY 

YOUTUBE CHANNEL

#205F27

80+ column : Irish Squad, tackle height, Schools Cup

Welcome to my 80+ column, a weekly post featuring final thoughts from the week of rugby just gone.  

WRAP OF A WRAP

Now I’m glad I didn’t bore you every other week in this column with my disaster stories travelling to and from the RDS/Aviva for home Leinster matches because last Saturday everything went absolutely swimmingly.  Short wait time for buses in both direction, no getting lost in the lower reaches of the Stadium which made me go the looooong way round to my seat because I turned left not right, no hitches of any sort which I thought wasn’t possible.  

Oh, and Leinster also won on top of it all, maybe with a hitch or two, but still with some cracking scores along the way.  And all of the last bit was brilliantly summed up by both Tom and Nathan on Sunday night’s pod.  If you missed it, check it out here or on most major platforms.


HARPIN’ ON…GARRY RINGROSE : LEADERSHIP & FORM

For our extended clip this week I thought it was the perfect opportunity to harp on Garry Ringrose who has really grown into the captaincy role this season and it definitely looks like one he could be taking over once Johnny Sexton hangs up the boots.

If you’re playing the clip above maybe pop over and subscribe to the channel too?  That’s where we post our Preview Show as well as other content throughout the week.


JASON JENKINS TIK TOK

We have a core team of Sunday podsters but I’me very grateful to Nathan Johns for being able to step in the odd Sunday, he works for the Irish Times and covers a lot of Irish cricket including the recent T20 World Cup but as you can see in the TikTok below he also provides great rugby insight like this point about Leinster’s defensive maul.


THE OTHER PROVINCES

“All four provinces into the knockout phase” is the most important takeaway.  Sure there were some disappointing results along the way, and it’s not ideal that three must play away and also two of us have to play each other in the round of 16, but still progression is a major goal when the process starts and should be applauded.  I’m skirting close to the format debate here so I’ll save that for a later point.


IRISH SQUAD

I have to be honest, squad announcements are actually starting to get boring, if only because the reactions are so predictable.  With the list being announced during a pair of HCC weekends it’s not easy to remove the provincial goggles I suppose, but I’m not sure they’d be taken off under any circumstances.

Even when a coach has a record that suggests his choices can be trusted for the immediate future, still the accusations of bias over form get bandied about.  Really, really, boring.

Did the Carbery omission raise an eyebrow?  Of course it did, although with Ben Healy’s decision they did have to take Munster’s current situation into account – still not guaranteed HCC qualification for next season so the mid 6N URC matches will be vital – and also if it was down to himself and Crowley I dare say the latter would certainly benefit more from time with the test squad while Carbery can easily slot in later in the comp if required.


MY FINAL DEVIL’S ADVOCACY OF THE HCC FORMAT…

Yes, yes, I know I’ve harped on this a lot in recent weeks, but in my defence, so have most people on social media before during and after each of the four pool rounds so I reckon I’m entitled to another swing at pushing back just a bit.

Once again, to be clear…this is NOT my ideal format.  However, the things many people are complaining about seem to be things that won’t be necessarily solved by returning to 5 or 6 pools of four.

“You can win just one match and still qualify for the knockouts”

First, can we please all be clear that “knockouts” means something different in the two formats?  Here it’s getting you into the last 16, while “the old way” it was into the last 8.  And under that regime, I clearly remember teams going through having won just 3 of their 6 matches while others got nowhere despite having won 4.  And under this current system, sure, you can win 1 and progress like Ulster did however (a) they needed bonus points, all of which were hard earned, to just about get them into 8th spot, and (b), look at the task ahead of them in the Last 16.

Another mark against the old way of knockouts was that I hated the way you could meet a team in the quarterfinals that you already played twice in the pool phase.  Seems strange that everyone is going wild about the quirks about this current format while forgetting those from the last one.

Overall I still contend that simply switching back won’t make all things fine and dandy…if you really want to give the competition the elevated status it deserves then we can carve out a block of the season and play it in successive weeks so that all the coaches can have full access to all their squads from start to finish, which I always feel is the best way to run tournaments for our wonderful sport.

Right, that should be that when it comes to me going on about formats.  Until the draw for next year’s comp, of course…


TACKLE HEIGHT IN ENGLISH LOWER TIERS

And as the format debate recedes, another one takes its place.  This has mostly been on English social media of course given it’s an RFU ruling, but the change is bound to be observed by all other unions as well and besides, Johnny Sexton weighing in at the Six Nations Launch certainly got the Irish rugby world involved.

Like I always say about this issue of concussion and tackle height, the most important thing is the discussion.  First that there is one, but more importantly that it is being conducted by people acting in good faith.  Unfortunately I feel this RFU ruling for lower tier grades might be a few steps too far in the other direction, which gives the “ruining the game” brigade the opportunity to opine without the need for ridiculous superlatives like they usually do over this matter (although I have heard that some are saying they’ll quit the game altogether over this, which seems absurd).

One element of the pushback against this announcement that is concerning is that it appears the RFU didn’t do a whole lot of consultation with grass roots clubs before reaching this decision, which could mean they were more about preventing further litigation than they were actually helping the game.

But overall I feel we have to be ready to accept some changes to the laws that will make the game safer.  Yes, I get that tackling low can still lead to a head knock, but the guidelines also state that the player carrying is meant to stay upright so, at least in theory, it’s possible just as many penalties will go the other way.  The only way to know for sure is to test it in actual matches, although maybe running the test across the vast majority of clubs in England was a bit hasty.


DOWNLOAD THE FANZO APP

6Mas Day is just around the corner, and this year we’re partnering with the Fanzo App to run a prediction league throughout the Six Nations where you can win a free pint for yourself (regardless how others do, more info to come later).

Basically we’re offering a prize ourselves for the best predictors over the five weeks of the Six Nations, but also you can help us out here at Harpin Manor just by joining the league.  We’ll post more details on the site over the next week or so but feel free to join know if you like, just download the Fanzo app, click “Let’s Go” in the “Guinness Pint Predictor” tab, tap “Leagues”, then “Join or Create a League” and finally the code is “Harpin”.


WOMEN’S INTERPROS

Congrats to Munster on their title, and also to all in the Leinster squad for bouncing back from last week’s disappointment to post a convincing win in the final match against Ulster.  Again, it’s a shame they didn’t at least have a home and away schedule, something Tania Rosser herself pointed out on Twitter, especially when you consider that it’s conceivable that the senior Leinster Women’s team may not take to the field again until 2024!

But there is still a lot of top level rugby to look forward to, starting with this new Celtic Challenge competition, where Ireland Scotland and Wales each have one team for now but probably two next season and maybe eventually this can become something of a URC in its own right.  We named our squad for the competition and hopefully there will be some kind of broadcast coverage to see how they’re getting on ahead of the Women’s Six Nations.


SEVENS UPDATE

Both squads were involved in the Hamilton 7s last weekend, with the women faring best as their fourth place finish after a quarterfinal win over France means we remain in the top 4 on the overall standings.

Meanwhile the men also got out of their pool only to run smack back into the hosts New Zealand but a win in the placings playoffs scored a few axtra series points with a 6th placed finish leaving us 9th overall on the ladder, with a good bit of daylight between us and 10th meaning we can hopefully move our way up in the remaining rounds.

Next on the circuit is Sydney next weekend, I don’t see a schedule as I type this column so maybe check back in later in the week.


INJURY REPORT

“No new injury news” is always good news, although it would still be nice to see names moving out of that list down at the bottom.  Not easy to tell what kind of team we’ll have for the visit of Cardiff this coming weekend, although I’m thinking one or two might still be available despite being named to the Irish squad.

Cosgrove, Russell, Turner, Osborne, Kearney, H Byrne, McGrath.

Milne, McKee, Ala’alatoa, Molony, Deeny, Ruddock, Penny, Deegan.

Bench : Kelleher, Hanan, Clarkson, J McCarthy, Connors, Foley, R Byrne,  Brownlee

(note – the above team is purely from my imagination, it’s not one of those Thornley teams which is always 22 out of 23 correct)

INJURY UPDATE – AVAILABLE FOR SELECTION:

Caelan Doris: rolled his ankle in the second half of the game against Racing 92 but is expected to join the Irish Rugby squad as planned this week

Josh van der Flier: suffered a dead leg in the second half against Racing 92 but is expected to join the Irish Rugby squad as planned this week

Joe McCarthy: came through the game against Racing 92 with no issues following his return from an ankle injury

Luke McGrath: came through the game against Racing 92 with no issues following his return from an ankle injury

INJURY UPDATE – UNAVAILABLE FOR SELECTION:

There was no new injury news from the game against Racing 92 at the weekend

There are no further updates on:

Johnny Sexton (cheek bone), Tadhg Furlong (calf), Charlie Ngatai (hamstring), Ed Byrne (knee), Jason Jenkins (hamstring), Robbie Henshaw (wrist), Martin Moloney (knee), Ciarán Frawley (knee) and Tommy O’Brien (knee)


AIL UPDATE

Some big matches in Round 11 of Division 1A which had some big results that left some big consequences.  Cork Con’s win at Tarf meant Nure extended their lead at the top to 6pts after beating Trinity, which in turn meant Ballynahinch have moved themselves to just two points off the top four.  Down at the bottom it looks like Garryowen are close to the trap door while Shannon and UCD are close for the second spot, which makes their meeting on Saturday a critical one.  Nure have another top four battle to come when they host Tarf at Lakelands which Cork Con will try to keep the pressure on although Hinch won’t make things easy for them.

Men’s AIL

Lansdowne 23-20 UCD

Clontarf 12-24 Cork Con

Trinity 7-12 Terenure

Hinch 24-7 Garryowen

Cookies 31-27 Shannon



Sat Jan 28

Cork Con v Ballynahinch

Garryowen v Lansdowne

UCD v Shannon

Young Munster v Dublin Univ

Terenure v Clontarf


SCHOOLS CUP TIME

It’s that time of year again with the kick off of the Leinster Schools Senior Cup where we get to watch the future stars of the game in action.  As I type I have received word of broadcast coverage of the first round so here are the details…

(everything in italics below is from Leinster Rugby)

Bank of Ireland Leinster Rugby Schools Senior Cup, First Round:

Sunday, 29 January

St Michael’s College v Belvedere College at 3pm in Energia Park (Streaming Available)

Monday, 30 January

Blackrock College v Presentation College, Bray at 3pm in Energia Park (Live on Premier Sports)

Tuesday, 31 January

Newbridge College v Kilkenny College at 3pm in Energia Park (Streaming Available)

Wednesday, 1 February

Terenure College v Clongowes Wood College at 3pm in Energia Park (Streaming Available)

Thursday, 2 February

St Mary’s College v Wesley College at 3pm in Energia Park (Streaming Available)

The streaming will be available on a subscription basis with each game costing €7.99 for the live and €8.99 for the VOD (video on demand) option.

There is also a five match bundle that can be purchased for €35.00 and the subscription can be purchased through the Videos on the Net platform, www.irishrugbylive.ie

Leinster Rugby can also confirm that similar to last season there will be no cash accepted at the turnstiles for games played at Energia Park.

All tickets can be purchased online at the following link HERE, with student and OAP tickets costing €6, and adult tickets costing €11.


THE NEXT BATCH OF HARPIN’

Next up it’s Cardiff Rugby…we’re planning a bonus pod recording for Wednesday where we’ll be chatting to hosts of a Welsh pod to get an “opposition view” not just for Saturday but also for the Six Nations opener, then it’s all the usual features like Rugby on TV, preview, wrap pod, etc, you know the drill.

Follow us and/or subscribe to all our social media channels to keep in touch and get involved in the conversation when the mood takes you.

In the meantime, be sure to enjoy your rugby wherever you are.  JLP

212 : Leinster v Racing 92 wrap

21 January 2023; Garry Ringrose of Leinster scores his side’s sixth try despite the attentions of Christian Wade and Kitione Kamikamica of Racing 92 during the Heineken Champions Cup Pool A Round 4 match between Leinster and Racing 92 at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

212 : Leinster v Racing 92 wrap Harpin' On Rugby

🏉 Irish squad 🏉 Other provinces in Europe 🏉 Garry Ringrose 🏉 Leinster’s Maul D 🏉 Pool phase positives Harpin’ On Rugby match wraps are brought to you by The Irish Rugby Store Our guests… TOM COLEMAN https://twitter.com/LeinsterRoyalty NATHAN JOHNS https://twitter.com/nathanrjohns FRONT FIVE ARTICLES Ireland squad for Six Nations announced with Joey Carbery the major omission – Pundit Arena [James Fenton] Munster retain Women’s Interprovincial Championship title after win over Connacht – The Irish Times Bealham hat-trick not enough to stop Connacht losing away to Newcastle (the42.ie) [John Fallon] Ulster v Sale Sharks LIVE: Rob Lyttle try the difference at half-time as province edge towards European knockouts – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk [Jonathan Bradley] Frustrated Munster face away day in Champions Cup Round of 16 (irishexaminer.com) [Simon Lewis] Where to find Harpin’ On Rugby Website > https://harpinonrugby.com/ Mastodon > @HarpinOnRugby@mastodon.ie Twitter > https://twitter.com/HarpinOnRugby Facebook > https://www.facebook.com/HarpinOnRugby Instagram > https://www.instagram.com/harpinonrugby/ TikTok > https://www.tiktok.com/@harpinonrugby YouTube > https://youtube.com/@HarpinPreviewShow — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/harpinonrugby/message

THIS WEEK’S GUESTS


FULL TIME TAKES

FACEBOOK

Conor Cronin The number of penalties is a concern. A strong win, and some great individual performances weren’t. We’d a strong first and last 20, needed to be more conscious of the ruck in the middle 40, that’s where we lost our most to Racing. I found a group of Racing fans after the game and brought them to the pub, great group, great fans who really love the game and are very passionate about good rugby, I’m really glad we could meet up expectation, particular the O’Brien try

Gavin Hegarty I actually enjoyed how they challenged us. They clearly did their homework. But still, the good will out. Yes we were not at the level we were last week, but class is permanent. Highlight was ringer flick, sublime.

Richard Collumb Racing slowing the game right down caused us problems. Scrum, some sloppy passing & silly penalties will be punished in later rounds, but last 20 minutes was great. Ringrose just gets better & better.

John Hyland (reply to Richard Collumb) don’t agree re scrum. Other teams are cheating and getting away with it. Our scrum is collapsing on the loosehead side because opposition tightheads are boring in, leaving Porter / Milne nothing to push against. Refs have been clueless.


TWITTER


MASTODON


Richard Mifsud We weren’t at our best for long periods and credit R92 for parts of that but it’s an 80 minute game and when we clicked it was sublime. We need these tests to keep us honest and sharp it’s about finding a way and thus far this season we’ve been pretty good at that this season. Very satisfying BPW


Koochulainn The numbers do not lie LEINSTER 4 games 20 points (and did not concede a single losing BP) 28 tries +150 points difference #PerfectRecord


RugbyNerd Too good again! But good game for around 60 minutes and good refereeing. Very clear communication.


FRONT FIVE ARTICLES

  1. Ireland squad for Six Nations announced with Joey Carbery the major omission – Pundit Arena [James Fenton]
  2. Munster retain Women’s Interprovincial Championship title after win over Connacht – The Irish Times 
  3. Bealham hat-trick not enough to stop Connacht losing away to Newcastle (the42.ie) [John Fallon]
  4. Ulster v Sale Sharks LIVE: Rob Lyttle try the difference at half-time as province edge towards European knockouts – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk [Jonathan Bradley]
  5. Frustrated Munster face away day in Champions Cup Round of 16 (irishexaminer.com) [Simon Lewis]

HCC ROUND 4 WRAP

ROUND 4

LYN 31-7 BUL

LEIC 26-27 OSP

HAR 39-29 SHA

NOR 13-31 LAR

BOR 17-26 GLO

LEIN 36-10 R92

STO 30-16 CLE

EXE 40-3 CAS

ULS 22-11 SAL

MON 21-21 LIR

TLS 20-16 MUN

EDI 20-14 SAR



LAST 16 (weekend of Mar 31/Apr 1,2)

LEIN V ULS

LEIC V EDI

TLS V BUL

SHA V MUN

EXE V MON

STO V HAR

LAR V GLO

SAR V OSP


HARPIN’ MATCH WRAPS

ARE BROUGHT TO YOU BY

THE IRISH RUGBY STORE

211 : Harpin Preview Show #LEIvR92


211 : Harpin Preview Show #LEIvR92 Harpin' On Rugby

Preview also available on our YouTube channel Leinster: 15. Hugo Keenan 14. Jordan Larmour 13. Garry Ringrose > CAPTAIN 12. Jamie Osborne 11. Jimmy O’Brien 10. Ross Byrne 9. Jamison Gibson-Park 1. Andrew Porter 2. Rónan Kelleher 3. Michael Ala’alatoa 4. Joe McCarthy 5. James Ryan 6. Caelan Doris 7. Josh van der Flier 8. Jack Conan 16. Dan Sheehan 17. Michael Milne 18. Cian Healy 19. Ross Molony 20. Ryan Baird 21. Luke McGrath 22. Harry Byrne 23. Scott Penny. Racing 92: 15 W Gelant 14 C Wade 13 O Klemenczak 12 G Fickou (c) 11 L Dupichot 10 F Russell 9 N Le Garrec 1 E Ben Arous 2 J Tarrit 3.T Nyakane 4 B Chouzenoux 5 B Palu 6 W Lauret 7 M Coulibaly 8 K Kamikamica 16 P Narisia 17 G Gogichashvili 18 G Kharaishvili 19 A Hemery 20 M Baudonne 21 A Gibert 22 F Saili 23 M Spring Heineken Champions Cup 22/23 Round 4 Sat Jan 21  KO 3:15pm  Aviva Stadium Ref: Matthew Carley (ENG) AR1: Craig Maxwell-Keys (ENG) AR2: Gareth Holsgrove (ENG) TMO: Ian Tempest (ENG) Live on: RTÉ 2, BT Sport 2 OUR GUEST : NEIL “KEEGO” KEEGAN https://twitter.com/keegolaughs_irl http://www.keegolaughs.com Apologies Up Front on Apple Podcasts Where to find Harpin’ On Rugby Website > https://harpinonrugby.com/ Mastodon > @HarpinOnRugby@mastodon.ie Twitter > https://twitter.com/HarpinOnRugby Facebook > https://www.facebook.com/HarpinOnRugby Instagram > https://www.instagram.com/harpinonrugby/ TikTok > https://www.tiktok.com/@harpinonrugby YouTube > https://youtube.com/@HarpinPreviewShow — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/harpinonrugby/message


Leinster: 15. Hugo Keenan 14. Jordan Larmour 13. Garry Ringrose > CAPTAIN 12. Jamie Osborne 11. Jimmy O’Brien 10. Ross Byrne 9. Jamison Gibson-Park

1. Andrew Porter 2. Rónan Kelleher 3. Michael Ala’alatoa 4. Joe McCarthy 5. James Ryan 6. Caelan Doris 7. Josh van der Flier 8. Jack Conan

16. Dan Sheehan 17. Michael Milne 18. Cian Healy 19. Ross Molony 20. Ryan Baird 21. Luke McGrath 22. Harry Byrne 23. Scott Penny


Racing 92: 15 W Gelant 14 C Wade 13 O Klemenczak 12 G Fickou (c) 11 L Dupichot 10 F Russell 9 N Le Garrec 1 E Ben Arous 2 J Tarrit 3.T Nyakane 4 B Chouzenoux 5 B Palu 6 W Lauret 7 M Coulibaly 8 K Kamikamica

16 P Narisia 17 G Gogichashvili 18 G Kharaishvili 19 A Hemery 20 M Baudonne 21 A Gibert 22 F Saili 23 M Spring


Heineken Champions Cup 22/23

Round 4

Sat Jan 21  KO 3:15pm

Aviva Stadium


Ref: Matthew Carley (ENG) 

AR1: Craig Maxwell-Keys (ENG) 

AR2: Gareth Holsgrove (ENG) 

TMO: Ian Tempest (ENG)


Live on: RTÉ 2, BT Sport 2

Rugby on TV : Jan 20-23

FULL LIST

(all times Irish)

NOTE : PREMIER SPORTS IS NOW ALSO KNOWN AS VIAPLAY

FRIDAY, JANUARY 20

8PM – LEICESTER TIGERS V OSPREYS – CHAMPIONS CUP – BT SPORT 1

8PM – LYON V BULLS – CHAMPIONS CUP – BT SPORT 2

8PM – GLASGOW WARRIORS V BATH – CHALLENGE CUP – VIAPLAY 1

8PM – TOULON V ZEBRE – CHALLENGE CUP – VIAPLAY XTRA

8PM – BRISTOL BEARS V PERPIGNAN – CHALLENGE CUP – EPCRUGBY.COM

8:54PM – IRELAND MEN V URUGUAY – NZ SEVENS – WORLD.RUGBY

9:38PM – IRELAND WOMEN V USA – NZ SEVENS – WORLD.RUGBY

SATURDAY, JANUARY 21

12:44AM – IRELAND MEN V USA – NZ SEVENS – WORLD.RUGBY

1:18AM – IRELAND WOMEN V SPAIN – NZ SEVENS – WORLD.RUGBY

3:50AM – IRELAND MEN V JAPAN – NZ SEVENS – WORLD.RUGBY

4:12AM – IRELAND WOMEN V USA – NZ SEVENS – WORLD.RUGBY

1PM – CONNACHT V MUNSTER – WOMEN’S INTEPROS – TG4

1PM – HARLEQUINS V SHARKS – CHAMPIONS CUP – BT SPORT 2

1PM – NORTHAMPTON V LA ROCHELLE – CHAMPIONS CUP – BT SPORT 3, ITV 1

1PM – BAYONNE V SCARLETS – CHALLENGE CUP – S4C

3:15PM – LEINSTER V RACING 92 – CHAMPIONS CUP – RTÉ TWO, BT SPORT 2

3:15PM – BORDEAUX V GLOUCESTER – CHAMPIONS CUP – BT SPORT 3

3:15PM – BENETTON V STADE FRANCAIS – CHALLENGE CUP – EPCRUGBY.COM

8PM 3:15PM – BRIVE V CARDIFF – CHALLENGE CUP – EPCRUGBY.COM

[changed from 8pm kickoff time due to expected cold weather]

5:30PM – ULSTER V LEINSTER – WOMEN’S INTERPROS – BBC2NI/TG4 PLAYER

5:30PM – EXETER V CASTRES – CHAMPIONS CUP – BT SPORT 2

5:30PM – STORMERS V CLÉRMONT – CHAMPIONS CUP – BT SPORT XTRA

5:30PM – NEWCASTLE FALCONS V CONNACHT – CHALLENGE CUP – EPCRUGBY.COM

8PM – ULSTER V SALE SHARKS – CHAMPIONS CUP – BT SPORT 2

[FROM 8:30PM SAT EVE TO SUN MORN] – NZ SEVENS PLAYOFFS – WORLD.RUGBY

SUNDAY, JANUARY 22

1PM – MONTPELLIER V LONDON IRISH – CHAMPIONS CUP – BT SPORT 2

1PM – DRAGONS V LIONS – CHALLENGE CUP – VIAPLAY 2

2:30PM – HARLEQUINS V GLOUCESTER – PREMIER 15S – PREMIER15S.COM

2:30PM – EXETER V BRISTOL – PREMIER 15S – PREMIER15S.COM

3:15PM – TOULOUSE V MUNSTER – CHAMPIONS CUP – BT SPORT 2

3:15PM – CHEETAHS V PAU – CHALLENGE CUP – VIAPLAY 2

5:30PM – EDINBURGH V SARACENS – CHAMPIONS CUP – BT SPORT 2

MONDAY, JANUARY 23

8PM – CHAMPIONS CUP HIGHLIGHTS – BT SPORT 2


RUGBY ON TV WAS BROUGHT TO YOU BY

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