80+ column : Kleyn yellow, November squad, Women’s AIL

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


Obviously I was very happy with that rugby weekend, Leinster v Munster is always a great occasion and although the match didn’t always look like it would end up in a BP win, I certainly didn’t feel like we were lucky once we clinched it.

The wrap pod gave us plenty to harp on, Keego and Tom did a top drawer job going through what happened.  Below you’ll see a bonus clip of our chat over the Kleyn incident – only Keego’s initial take made the pod but we did some back and forth as I disagreed with the notion that a red card would have been harsh, and for topics like this it’s always good that there’s disagreement.

Just to clarify my position, it’s important not to be too black and white about these things – I’m sure many would assume since I suggest Kleyn could have seen red it means I’m only watching with blue goggles.  In fact I certainly don’t feel it’s a slam dunk red, but that it is definitely worth a conversation as I say in the clip.  That’s not to say I feel nobody should ever try to block a kick, far from it, but only go for it if you know you have a decent chance of actually doing it otherwise you, or indeed your opponent, could suffer the consequences.  Contact to the head should ALWAYS put a red card in play in my book and since Kleyn’s jump was nowhere near the ball, let’s just say it mitigates any mitigation.

Anyway, you can judge for yourselves, here’s how the chat went (why not subscribe to our new YouTube channel while you’re at it, it’s the best way to catch our preview show each week)…


Look – I’m just as disillusioned with the rankings as the next guy but that said, when you’re number one why not at least acknowledge it?  Not a bad little bonus for our amazing achievements down in NZ and it really sets up the visit of the reigning World Champions nicely.

For me personally, I’d want to reward as many of those Wellington warriors as I possibly could so here’s my (call it a “fantasy”) 23 for the Boks from the named squad, with alternatives in brackets for injury worries…

Keenan (Carbery), Hansen, Ringrose, Henshaw, Balacoune, Sexton, JGP (Murray).

Porter, Sheehan, Furlong (Bealham), Beirne (Treadwell), Ryan, O’Mahony, JVDF, Doris.

Herring, Healy, Bealham (O’Toole), Treadwell (McCarthy), Conan, Murray (Casey), Carbery (Frawley), Frawley (O’Brien).

As you can probably tell, I’m deliberately ignoring form and a Bok-specific gameplan but like I say that squad is purely meant to be a nod to what we achieved over the summer since nobody seems to be talking about it anymore even when the panel was named.

We not only won a series in NZL, but we won it convincingly.  Of course we have to build on it, of course it guarantees nothing for RWC2023 but until we have another performance to harp on, I for one don’t mind still finding satisfaction from that sentence.


You may recall over the summer there was a pretty intense discussion over transgender participation in rugby.  My position was, well, let’s just say, complicated, and I struggled to explain it the way I wanted to in the ruggersphere.  

What I was trying to say was that as much as we want to leave politics out of sport, in areas like this we have to acknowledge the wider topic because it can often lead to abuse from verbal all the way to physical.  

Essentially the argument of needing an outright ban simply because we’re imagining a grown man posing as a woman just to play rugby and the dangers that entails falls way short of the conversation that needs to be had on the matter.

Thankfully John Oliver did a decent job laying out the wider issue IMO so here’s his recent (NSFW) piece on it…


Been meaning to harp on this for a while – I’m very picky (nerdy?) when it comes to graphics being used by TV networks for rugby matches and there are things that should be standard across all networks that simply aren’t.  Phase counters that appear instantly once there have been 5 would be one.

Another is a timer for yellow cards, and as much as I’m mostly positive about the URC, this is a negative, albeit a tiny one.  But on South African TV, they have gone that extra step further again, by placing a number of the sin-binned player alongside the time, really nice touch and again, I’d hope they would all do this.

Trust me, I get the whole “why make things easier for the guy sitting at home” argument for these things but for one thing, a lot of those guys can’t actually make it to the game and for another, the game needs that market so any sensible way they can make the experience easier has to be a good thing. Below you see an example from the recent Cheetahs v Emerging Ireland clash while Cian Prendergast was on the naughty step.


Obvs the Furlong situation is a concern but good to see Keenan, Josh & Whiskey on the right track with November around the corner.


Luke McGrath: came through the game at the weekend with no issues following his return from the Graduated Return to Play Protocols

Rhys Ruddock: will train this week following his return from the Graduated Return to Play Protocols

Ryan Baird: will be available to train this week with the IRFU squad following his return from the Graduated Return to Play Protocols


Tadhg Furlong: was withdrawn as a precaution from the starting XV against Munster Rugby having rolled his ankle at training last week. Will be further assessed by the IRFU medical team this week

Josh van der Flier, Hugo Keenan & Jamison Gibson-Park: will step up their rehabilitation this week as they return from injury and will be further assessed by the IRFU medical team


Jamie Osborne: was withdrawn for a Head Injury Assessment against Munster Rugby and has now entered the Graduated Return to Play Protocols

There are no further updates on:

Jordan Larmour (foot), Will Connors (bicep), Rónan Kelleher (hamstring), Harry Byrne (hamstring), James Lowe (calf), James Tracy (neck), Charlie Ryan (knee) and Tommy O’Brien (knee)


Just a reminder on the quality of the Women’s AIL, of the XV which started Ireland’s last test v Japan, ALL of the backline were in action for their clubs over the weekend just gone.  And to give this fact a little Leinster twist, they all hailed from three clubs, Railway Union, Blackrock College and Old Belvedere.

After 6 rounds those three have opened a gap at the top of the table, with only Belvo having lost a game and while they are all off this coming weekend, they return the following Saturday with the big contest clearly being Railway Union v Belvo at Park Avenue.  

Have to say 5pm is a curious kickoff time though.  You can almost see the DART which will be bringing fans to the Ireland v Springboks match at the Aviva from the Railway Union pitch, and that kicks off at 5:30pm the same day.

Anyway, over in the Men’s 1A division they took a weekend off and will return next Saturday Oct 29, with all 3 teams with 100% records Terenure, Trinity & Tarf all avoiding each other again playing Shannon, Hinch & UCD respectively.


I’m starting to think it’s my duty to inform rugby fans of my Superbru pick for the Ospreys every week, or maybe instead of “inform” I should be using the word “warn”.

As I said on the pod, they seem determined to do the opposite of what I say.  Had I aa time machine I’d prove it to you by going back and switching my pick from Round 6 to be a Dragons win, trust me that would have ended well for fans of Those Pesky Birds.

Seriously though, there was no change at the top of the Harpin League, though at the bottom where the real “prize” is to be “awarded”, it was a great round for Mr Kristian Ross who not only got Leinster v Munster spot on but he created something of a gap between himself and Keego in the wooden spoon position.


Leinster travel to Llanelli on Friday night to round off this early season block of URC matches…no bonus pod this week but everything else is as normal with The Preview Show on Friday, the usual wrapup recorded on Sunday evening and of course all the regular features during the week, stay tuned to any or all of our social media platforms.  In the meantime, be sure to enjoy your rugby wherever you are.  JLP

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