188 : Ireland v Fiji wrap

2022 Bank of Ireland Nations Series, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland 12/11/2022Ireland vs Fiji Ireland’s Nick Timoney Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Evan Treacy

188 : Ireland v Fiji wrap Harpin' On Rugby

🏉 The World Cup Final 🏉 Yet another Rassie production 🏉 Don’t mess with Mathieu 🏉 Ireland with extra player/s 🏉 Andy’s post-match comments Harpin’ On Rugby match wraps are brought to you by The Irish Rugby Store Our guests… RICHARD MIFSUD https://twitter.com/Once_in_the_job CAOLÁN SCULLY https://twitter.com/CaolanSRugby00 https://caolansrugby.wordpress.com/blog/ FRONT FIVE ARTICLES Police raid French Rugby World Cup HQ as legal probe opened · The42 [via AFP] Healy pulls strings with panache on a night of Munster history for all the right reasons (irishexaminer.com) [Maurice Brosnan] Smiling NZ stay true to themselves | Scrum Queens [Alison Donnelly] Australia loss to Italy: Wallabies star Ben Donaldson misses conversion in heartbreak Test match result | news.com.au – [news.com.au] Subtle Rassie spotlights ref again (sarugbymag.co.za) 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

RICHARD MIFSUD

CAOLÁN SCULLY


FULL-TIME TAKES

Greg Kelly

Similarly to the Ireland A game a few guys did themselves no real favours in the long run. You have to worry for Carbury as he now probably has played enough to show hes not the guy to back up Sexton.

Ted Maher

If you haven’t watched it live, well then don’t 😂😂

Josephine Boyd

A brilliant win well done you our boys in green.Roll on next week NZ❤️☘️💚👍👏💪🇮🇪

Dave Murray

Emmmmm…..roll on next week.


FRONT FIVE ARTICLES


AUTUMN NATIONS SERIES WRAP

RWC QUAL

POR 85-0 KEN

USA 49-7 HKG

**********

TON 39-10 CHI

ITA 28-27 AUS

IRE 35-17 FIJ

ENG 52-13 JPN

GEO 19-20 SAM

WAL 20-13 ARG

FRA 30-26 RSA

ROM 16-21 URU

BAR 35-31 NZ XV

SCO 23-31 NZL

Week 3

Fri Nov 18

RWC2023 Qualifiers

HKGvKEN

USAvPOR

Sat Nov 19

TONvURU

ITAvRSA

WALvGEO

ROMvSAM

SCOvARG

ENGvNZL

IREvAUS

Sun Nov 20

FRAvJPN


HARPIN’ ON RUGBY MATCH WRAPS ARE BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE IRISH RUGBY STORE

181 : Leinster v Munster wrap

Click here for a bonus clip with more on the Kleyn decision available on our YouTube channel

181 : Leinster v Munster wrap Harpin' On Rugby

Loads to harp on this week, definitely needed Keego & Tom to help me!  We look at the tries, the yellow card decisions, the atmosphere and much more. Harpin’ On Rugby match wrap ups are brought to you by The Irish Rugby Store Our guests… NEIL “KEEGO” KEEGAN https://twitter.com/keegolaughs_irl http://www.keegolaughs.com Apologies Up Front on Apple Podcasts TOM COLEMAN https://twitter.com/LeinsterRoyalty FRONT FIVE ARTICLES Andy Farrell names exciting Ireland squad for November internationals | SportsJOE.ie [Pat McCarry] Tadhg Furlong admits it breaks his heart to see Munster jerseys at his local club – Pundit Arena [Eoin Harte] Gallagher Premiership clubs struggling to reach agreement over fixture chaos | Sport | The Times [Will Kelleher, Alex Lowe] Ulster's meeting with Sharks postponed after gastro bug (rte.ie) [Neil Treacy] Connacht 36-14 Scarlets: Leigh Halfpenny pulls out as Welsh side slip to convincing defeat following disappointing second half – Wales Online [Tom Coleman] Where to find Harpin’ On Rugby Website > https://harpinonrugby.com/ 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://www.youtube.com/channel/UCafwnpGYCmC-gO5y9zGIhew — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/harpinonrugby/message

THIS WEEK’S GUESTS

NEIL “KEEGO” KEEGAN

TOM COLEMAN

FULL TIME TAKES

Conor Cronin Lots of talking points on that game, unfortunate for refereeing to be one.

Leinster inaccuracy was difficult to watch, good to see munster putting it up to us, though of course they “had nothing to lose” 🙄 It shows that with the right team selection they could really pose us a problem. Fingers crossed they continue to not select the right team.

Leinster allowed munster to set a tempo, to dictate the pace of play. I want to see much more accuracy from leinster, and for them to punish teams in the 22.

Andrew Bailey Why not neutral refs. Ireland is too small a country – no matter how hard a ref tries he has affiliation somewhere. And it works both ways – can sway in favour of one team in an effort to stay neutral. Not fair on ref or teams. Wales Scotland Italy and SA – but the big Irish games get Irish ref

Andrew Potts Leinster huffed and puffed but did not blow the house down.

Munster showed a bit of Leicester DNA pragmatism, always sort of falling on the wrong side, always sort of slowing things down.

Leinster were good except for scoring.

So many little things just upsetting a happy try. Poor return for Leinster, two fortunate yellows for Munster that could have been red. Seen both of those red recently. That question? Was force applied, was it high, any mitigation? Plus Stander was red carded against SA for the second type of offence.

Frawley is a unique player, appearing to play a number of positions very well.

He looks like an exception that proves the rule.

Luke good for MOM.

Finally, Joey in Munster is the waste of a perfectly good 10.

Chris McDonnell Andrew Potts stander ended a players career with that challenge. I thought penny was excellent. Held up over the line twice in the first half and we butchered a few line breaks, lowe, dave K or lowe would have had a try or two.

Gavin Hegarty I need to rewatch it as from the south lower it looked like brace was terrible. His advantages were only for Munster and never for Leinster.

Kleyns yellow was a red all day, jumped after the kick was made and angled his body to hit side on with an elbow to Osbourne’s head. Citing has to come.

Odd to say but we’re now 6/6 but still have been disappointing.

We dominated the first 30 but still couldn’t put the points on the board, some very unleinsterlike play and decision making. Our lineout needs huge work.

Henshaw and ringrose were outstanding throughout, Porter was great when he came on. Frawley looked comfortable @15.

We’ll need to be better soon.

I think we let a bad Munster team play, their backline had no purpose and just shipped the ball on, no lines or moves. We (and brace) made them look good.

FRONT FIVE ARTICLES

Andy Farrell names exciting Ireland squad for November internationals | SportsJOE.ie [Pat McCarry]

Tadhg Furlong admits it breaks his heart to see Munster jerseys at his local club – Pundit Arena [Eoin Harte]

Gallagher Premiership clubs struggling to reach agreement over fixture chaos | Sport | The Times [Will Kelleher, Alex Lowe] 

Ulster’s meeting with Sharks postponed after gastro bug (rte.ie) [Neil Treacy]

Connacht 36-14 Scarlets: Leigh Halfpenny pulls out as Welsh side slip to convincing defeat following disappointing second half – Wales Online [Tom Coleman]

URC ROUND 6 WRAP

ROUND 6

BEN 22-44 BUL

CON 36-14 SCA

ZEB 19-38 EDI

LIO PPD GLA

SHA PPD ULS

LEI 27-13 MUN

CAR 30-24 STO

DRA 32-25 OSP

Round 7

FRI OCT 28

GLA V BEN

SCA V LEI

SAT OCT 29

LIO V STO

DRA V ZEB

MUN V ULS

OSP V CON

SUN OCT 30

BUL V SHA

CAR V EDI

HARPIN ON RUGBY MATCH WRAPS ARE BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE IRISH RUGBY STORE

180 : #LEIvMUN preview

also available as podcast on most major platforms or on player below

180 : #LEIvMUN preview Harpin' On Rugby

[Note – Sharks v Ulster postponement was being announced as we were recording] LEINSTER  : 15 Ciarán Frawley 14 Jimmy O’Brien 13 Garry Ringrose 12 Robbie Henshaw 11 Jamie Osborne 10 Johnny Sexton > C 9 Luke McGrath 1 Cian Healy 2 Dan Sheehan 3 Tadhg Furlong 4 Jason Jenkins 5 James Ryan 6 Max Deegan 7 Scott Penny 8 Caelan Doris 16 J McKee 17 A Porter 18 M Ala’alatoa 19 R Molony 20 J Conan 21 N McCarthy 22 R Byrne 23 R Russell. Munster : 15 Jack Crowley; 14 Shane Daly, 13 Dan Goggin, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Liam Coombes; 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Conor Murray 1 Jeremy Loughman, 2 Diarmuid Barron, 3 Keynan Knox; 4 Jean Kleyn, 5 Tom Ahern; 6 Jack O’Donoghue (C), 7 John Hodnett, 8 Gavin Coombes. 16 Scott Buckley, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 James French, 19 Jack O’Sullivan, 20 Ruadhan Quinn, 21 Paddy Patterson, 22 Ben Healy, 23 Patrick Campbell. United Rugby Championship 22/23 Round 6 Saturday, October 22, 2022 Aviva Stadium Kickoff 7:35pm Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU) AR 1: Peter Martin (IRFU) AR 2: Oisin Quinn (IRFU) TMO: Marius Jonker (SARU) Live on: RTÉ2, Premier Sports1, SuperSport, Discovery + & URC.tv 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/ Twitter > https://twitter.com/HarpinOnRugby Facebook > https://www.facebook.com/HarpinOnRugby Instagram > https://www.instagram.com/harpinonrugby/ TikTok > https://www.tiktok.com/@harpinonrugby — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/harpinonrugby/message

LEINSTER v Munster : 15 Ciarán Frawley 14 Jimmy O’Brien 13 Garry Ringrose 12 Robbie Henshaw 11 Jamie Osborne 10 Johnny Sexton > C 9 Luke McGrath

1 Cian Healy 2 Dan Sheehan 3 Tadhg Furlong 4 Jason Jenkins 5 James Ryan 6 Max Deegan 7 Scott Penny 8 Caelan Doris

16 J McKee 17 A Porter 18 M Ala’alatoa 19 R Molony 20 J Conan 21 N McCarthy 22 R Byrne 23 R Russell.


Munster : 15 Jack Crowley; 14 Shane Daly, 13 Dan Goggin, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Liam Coombes; 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Conor Murray

1 Jeremy Loughman, 2 Diarmuid Barron, 3 Keynan Knox; 4 Jean Kleyn, 5 Tom Ahern; 6 Jack O’Donoghue (C), 7 John Hodnett, 8 Gavin Coombes.

16 Scott Buckley, 17 Dave Kilcoyne, 18 James French, 19 Jack O’Sullivan, 20 Ruadhan Quinn, 21 Paddy Patterson, 22 Ben Healy, 23 Patrick Campbell.


Weather forecast updated since pod was recorded

United Rugby Championship 22/23 Round 6

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Aviva Stadium

Kickoff 5:15pm 


Referee: Andrew Brace (IRFU)

AR 1: Peter Martin (IRFU) 

AR 2: Oisin Quinn (IRFU)

TMO: Marius Jonker (SARU)


Live on: RTÉ2, Premier Sports1, SuperSport, Discovery + & URC.tv

CLICK HERE FOR OUR WEEKLY LIST OF UPCOMING RUGBY ON IRISH TV

Eurowatch update – week 6

We didn’t get footage of Racing this week for a TikTok but you can see the highlights of their laboured home victory over bottom side Pau in the YouTube clip above.

It leaves them 7th in the 🔝 🙀 🐴 after 6 rounds so on the verge of the playoff places yes, but also anxiously looking over their shoulders at those behind them.

Leinster face them in our Heineken Champions Cup opener in Le Havre on Saturday December 10.

Meanwhile Gloucester, who are due at the RDS on Friday December 16, had a West Country derby last weekend, we gave that the full Eurowatch treatment see below.

@harpinonrugby

In the latest from our #Eurowatch series we look at Gloucester in the West Country derby #CapCut

♬ Furious Offroad Racing – Sansous, Morgan & Makdessi, Sham

The 80+ column : Thompson documentary, water breaks, Worcester

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

ICYMI click here for our main pod this week where Tom, Rich & I harp on Leinster v Sharks.   

This was my 8th Sunday recording since switching to this new format and I really think I’m close to getting things just how I want it.  There’s a lot to sort out with planning, equipment and what not so it might be closer to Christmas when I have the whole process fine-tuned but the progress has been steady and of course the help of all my guest contributors is very much appreciated.

FINAL #LEIvSHA THOUGHTS

On the subject of guests on the pod, it’s natural that we’re not always going to agree on things and because we had so many tries to work through from Saturday evening’s match, rather than prolong the discussion I decided to put my thoughts that differed from the panel’s here instead.

For the first one I want to be very, very careful how I word it because in this age of sporting social media opinion, if you say one little negative thing about a player it’s assumed you’re totally against them, so hopefully my readers know me well enough to realise I’m not like that at all.  

On the pod the lads gave the Sharks a lot of credit for the success their backs had against us on Saturday and it’s true they scored some amazing tries.  But I still have these niggling doubts, which go all the way back to the preseason match against Quins, about Charlie Ngatai’s positioning on strike plays.

TO BE CLEAR – in other areas he has done extremely well, getting better every week with his trademark crash ball among other things with the ball, and even without it we had that superb last ditch challenge on Aaron Sexton in Belfast.  

But when the team was named for Saturday, I raised an eyebrow wondering if we might be vulnerable and happy and all as I was with the win, it still remains raised, although I must add that I am very confident that it is something he can put right with game time, with this being the perfect part of the season for him to do it.

Next, there was the challenge on Ryan Baird, where my view also differing from the lads’.  Obviously, I hope he is back quickly but I’m afraid having seen it a few times I actually do think it was a rugby collision.  Abrahams may not have left the ground but IMO he doesn’t have to if his eyes are on the ball, which they were.  Despite Chamberlain’s brilliant catch I really don’t think he was in a good position to be going for the ball at all – and I don’t mean in a legality sense, more of a coaching one – as his teammate had a much better angle.  All of which meant the three players came together awkwardly and Baird unfortunately came off worst.

But like I say, this “offering opinions” lark would be pretty boring if we all felt the same way about everything, so I’ll leave my thoughts there and let you decide where you stand.

One thing I absolutely did agree with the boys on was their appreciation of Sexton’s standing up for his team, I even did a TikTok featuring their views check it out here.

EMERGING IRELAND

Like everyone else I had my doubts about this tour when I first heard about it, mostly because provinces would be denied a lot of the players they rely on at this stage of the season.  Obviously, the ability to use our “marquee” names went a long way towards calming those concerns, and as a Leinster & Ireland fan, I certainly can’t complain about the results for either side in that time!

The progression of matches fell absolutely perfectly for this patchwork squad, from Griquas to Pumas to Cheetahs we had a steady increase in opposition difficulty each time, yet over the 80 minutes the lads were always able to rise to the occasion.  

Player-wise there were many standouts, with possibly Jack Crowley the most impressive, and given all that is happening with his own province, he has certainly given them something to think about.

For Leinster’s part there were a lot of players we already knew could perform like Scott Penny, Max Deegan and Jamie Osborne, but for others like Joe McCarthy and James Culhane it was an invaluable experience which can only help them improve even more.

As I say on the pod the only downside to the tour was the fact that Ciaran Frawley didn’t get any game time, hopefully he will be back soon.

Finally kudos to the IRFU for donating their prize money to a local orphanage in Bloemfontein.

THOMPSON DOCUMENTARY

During the week there was a documentary on the BBC about one of England’s heroes from RWC2003, Steve Thompson, who is struggling with dementia after (have to say “allegedly” here because of an ongoing legal dispute but I make no secret of where my opinion lies) suffering from multiple concussions playing rugby over the course of his career.

Basically the programme suggests that in the transition to the professional game in the 90’s and early 00’s, the organisation of training routines was like the “wild west” and players were not only risking collisions in matches but also during the week as rugby was now their full time job, with little or no heed paid to the need for recovery time.

While I have no qualifications to offer any opinion on medical grounds or indeed the perspective of a professional rugby player, I do have concerns over the general debate being had among media and fans alike, and I know Twitter isn’t exactly an ideal source at the best of times but it still goes a long way to influence the actual top level discussions when they do happen.

My concerns are about where on the spectrum of opinion the debate is taking place.  It is often a misconception that the “sensible” way to find the right answer is to look for the mid point between the two extremes, but at the risk of straying too far down the political path, we’ve learned from things like Trump, Brexit & Anti-vax that some extremes can be stretched in a way that moves that centre point, so you have to be willing to lean in one direction if the other is looking a bit, shall we say, “less than relevant”.

And when it comes to the debate over safety in rugby, the way I see it the two extremes look like this – at one end you have parents who may not know much about rugby themselves but their kids want to play so when they see things like the Thompson documentary and hear about other life- and quality-of-life-threatening injuries, their instinct is to say “No way – play something like tennis instead”.  

Then at the other extreme we have rugby fans/supporters who have an aversion to matches lasting longer than they should.  I’m hardly wild about unnecessary time wasting myself, but it’s definitely not a hill I would die on, especially when you consider how other sports, particularly in the USA, go much, much longer.  It is usually the same Twitter accounts I see pushing back against what they perceive as over-precautious safety measures for fear of them supposedly “killing the game”.

So, if these are the extremes, does the answer have to be right smack in the middle?  Between parents with genuine concerns and impatient fans?  I think not.  For me, the real work to find proper solutions is being done by people like Peter Robinson and also the organisation “Progressive Rugby”, of which Thompson is now a member by the way, and they also recently added Carl Hayman to their ranks.

I’m not typing this because I 100% believe everything those people and organisations say, I’m typing it because I believe they are the ones we should be listening to as we make up our own minds, and also because it makes sense that they focus their efforts more towards parents who are worried for their children’s safety and less towards those (like myself) looking on from the stands or their armchairs who have to wait a minute or so longer while TMOs look at replays.

The likes of Robinson, Thompson & co are generally people who have had their lives directly and adversely affected by rugby, yet still want to be involved, still want to engage, still want the sport to thrive but just in as safe a manner as possible.  That is where the discussion should be in my view. The only thing that could really “kill the game” would be a failure to listen to what they have to say.

WORLD CUP 2021

The World Cup is here, the kickoff times are generally super awkward, but hopefully the tournament gets the attention the women’s game both needs and thoroughly deserved.  Obviously from an Irish fan’s standpoint it’s hard to avoid wondering what might have been, but at least we know things appear to be heading in the right direction here and we’ll do our best here at Harpin Manor to help give Leinster & Ireland in particular all the exposure we can over the coming season.

FROM WORCESTER TO WORSE

Just to add to all the expressions of disappointment over that which has befallen the Worcester Warriors as an organisation, their staff, their fans and the local community in recent weeks, and which may yet also happen to Wasps and possibly one or two other Premiership clubs in the near future.

But one thing really eats at me…why are we in this situation NOW, after the season has already kicked off?  Throw all the complicated business and legal mumbo jumbo at me you want, but professional rugby is a seasonal sport and has been for years, so I find it hard to believe that there doesn’t exist some date on the calendar by which a club has to prove they are financially viable to fulfil their fixtures for the following campaign, preferably BEFORE fans are asked to shell out for season tickets. Should be a formality for the vast majority of clubs, but as recent events (and some not-so-recent tbf) show something like this is needed.

Sounds like PRL didn’t only drop the ball, they actually never really had it properly in the first place.

WATER BREAKS

Unpopular opinion alert…water breaks in rugby don’t really bother me.  Sorry!  

I suppose it’s partly because of what I said in my earlier rant about Steve Thompson – IMO as fans the “why are we waiting?” card only gets us so far, and maybe a water break isn’t so bad when you consider another direction they might go; actually breaking matches up into four quarters with full stoppages after each.

However…one concern I would have about water breaks is that I hope it isn’t being brought in to prepare us for more top level rugby to be played in the likes of Qatar and Dubai…which brings me neatly to my next harpin’ point…

WORLD CORRUPT PODCAST

Forgive me for harpin’ on the round ball game for a bit, but IMO this affects all sports, and anyone watching the URC will know referees are now sporting “Qatar Airways” on their jerseys so we definitely need to be paying attention.

There’s a podcast I often listen to called “Pod Save The World” which interestS me because I am originally from the USA and this offers an American take on political matters all around the globe. They have teamed up with a football pod called “Men In Blazers” to produce a series called “World Corrupt” which looks at the 2022 Football World Cup in particular but also the concept of “sportwashing” in general and is very much worth a listen.

Not only is it important for us to know what went into the staging of the tournament in Qatar when it kicks off, but we also need to be wary of rugby’s powers that be chasing the same kind of questionable investment, or should I say more of it.

LEINSTER INJURY REPORT

Great to see Doris back, he will likely get some game time in Galway this Friday. That’s a lot of players to be going into the RTP protocols after just one match but needs must and they should be back soon.

Really wish that “No further updates” section was a whole lot lighter though…

INJURY UPDATE – AVAILABLE FOR SELECTION:

Caelan Doris: has come through the Graduated Return to Play Protocols and will be available for selection this weekend

INJURY UPDATE – FURTHER ASSESSMENT REQUIRED:

Dave Kearney: picked up an adductor injury against Ulster Rugby but is expected to return to team training this week. Will continue to be assessed this week before a final decision is made on his availability

Jack Conan: was a late withdrawal from the Leinster Rugby match day 23 with a back injury suffered in the warm-up against Cell C Sharks. Will be further assessed this week

INJURY UPDATE – UNAVAILABLE FOR SELECTION:

Rhys Ruddock: was withdrawn for a Head Injury Assessment against Cell C Sharks and has now entered the Graduated Return to Play Protocols

Luke McGrath: was withdrawn for a Head Injury Assessment against Cell C Sharks and has now entered the Graduated Return to Play Protocols

Ryan Baird: was withdrawn for a Head Injury Assessment against Cell C Sharks and has now entered the Graduated Return to Play Protocols

Jordan Larmour: was withdrawn with a foot injury in the first half against Cell C Sharks and will be unavailable this week as further tests are carried out

NO FURTHER UPDATES:

Rónan Kelleher (hamstring), Ciarán Frawley (shoulder), Hugo Keenan (abdominal & knee injury), James Lowe (calf), James Tracy (neck), Charlie Ryan (knee), Tommy O’Brien (knee)

AIL UPDATE

We briefly harped on the AIL in the pod but I also plan to offer updates in this column every week so here it is.  After two rounds Nure, Trinity, Hinch & Tarf are all 100% with the last two going head to head at Ballymacarn Park at 2:30pm next Saturday, promises to be a cracker.

It was a shame Harry Byrne had to withdraw from the lineup playing for Clontarf last weekend, hope to see him back playing soon.  A scan of the teamsheets from the five top flight matches shows a host of players on the fringes of the Leinster set up like Ben Brownlee and Chris Cosgrove all getting much needed game time and at a decent standard as well.

PREDICTION LEAGUE

source – Superbru

I still lead the Harpin League and I actually got my first yellow cap of the season this week…but do you think I’m happy?  Hell no.  I’m actually raging because I originally entered Glasgow to beat the Bulls before going back and reversing it.  

But you can be sure there’s no complacency from me despite my lofty position, far from it…there’s a pack of challengers hunting me down and I’ll have to stay on my toes to keep them from catching me.

Meanwhile at the foot of the table, where the “real prize” is to be “won” (namely having to wear the “Jersey of Doom”), Keego got rid of the wooden spoon for now, passing it on to Kristian Ross.

THE NEXT BATCH OF HARPIN’

Sharks are up next for Leinster, at the RDS on Saturday evening.  I’ll be talking to AP Cronje about their squad during the week, then on Friday I’ll have Keego with me for The Preview Show, with 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

173 : Opposition view – Cell C Sharks

173 : Opposition view – Cell C Sharks Harpin' On Rugby

In this bonus pod I spoke to AP Cronje about the Sharks ahead of their visit to the RDS, but also about how the URC is doing in SA as well as the Springboks latest form.  Our guest…  AP CRONJE  https://twitter.com/rugby_ap  Where to find Harpin’ On Rugby  Website > https://harpinonrugby.com/  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://www.youtube.com/channel/UCafwnpGYCmC-gO5y9zGIhew — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/harpinonrugby/message

Click here for AP’s previous appearance in April 2022

Rugby on TV Oct 7-10

FULL LIST

(all times Irish)

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 6

7:30PM – EBBW VALE V LLANDOVERY – WELSH PREM – S4C ONLINE

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30

8AM – NORTH HARBOUR V AUCKLAND – NPC – SKY SPORTS ARENA

7:35PM – EDINBURGH V LIONS – URC – PREMIER SPORTS 1, URC.TV

7:35PM – CONNACHT V MUNSTER – URC – TG4, PREMIER SPORTS 1, URC.TV

7:45PM – AYRSHIRE BULLS V STIRLING COUNTY – SUPER 6 – FREE SPORTS

7:45PM – BRISTOL BEARS V EXETER – PREMIERSHIP – BT SPORT 1

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1

2:15AM – SOUTH AFRICA V FRANCE – WOMENS RWC – RTÉ

4:15AM – FIJI V ENGLAND – WOMEN’S WORLD CUP – RTÉ

5:30AM – CANTERBURY V NORTHLAND – NPC – SKY SPORTS ARENA

7:15AM – AUSTRALIA V NEW ZEALAND – WOMEN’S RWC – RTÉ

2PM – CASTRES V MONTPELLIER – TOP😸🐴 – PREMIER SPORTS 2

3PM – LEICESTER TIGERS V SALE SHARKS – PREMIERSHIP – PR.TV

3PM – BATH V GLOUCESTER – PREMIERSHIP – BT SPORT 2

3PM – ZEBRE V STORMERS – TG4, FREE SPORTS, URC.TV

5:05PM – LEINSTER V SHARKS – URC – RTÉ TWO, PREMIER SPORTS 1, URC.TV

5:15PM – SCARLETS V CARDIFF – URC – PREMIER SPORTS 2, URC.TV

7:35PM – GLASGOW WARRIORS V BULLS – URC – PREMIER SPORTS 1, URC.TV

7:35PM – ULSTER V OSPREYS – URC – TG4 BBC2 NI, PREMIER SPORTS 2, URC.TV

10PM – BAYONNE V LA ROCHELLE (TAPE DELAYED) – TOP😸🐴 – PREMIER SPORTS 2

12:45AM (SUNDAY) – USA V ITALY – WOMEN’S RWC – RTÉ

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 2

3:15AM – JAPAN V CANADA – WOMEN’S RWC – RTÉ

5:45AM – WALES V SCOTLAND – WOMEN’S RWC – RTÉ

12PM – TOYOTA CHEETAHS V EMERGING IRELAND – TOUR MATCH – IRISHRUGBY.IE

2:45PM – BENETTON V DRAGONS – URC – BBC2 WALES, PREMIER SPORT 1, URC.TV

3PM – NEWCASTLE V SARACENS – PREMIERSHIP – PR.TV

3PM – WASPS V NORTHAMPTON SAINTS – PREMIERSHIP – BT SPORT 1

MONDAY, OCTOBER 3

8PM – AGAINST THE HEAD – RTÉ TWO

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The 80+ Column : Best league, worst weather, average Griquas

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

Obviously, it was a good weekend to be a Leinster fan, no win in Belfast comes easily although we just about deserved the one we got on Friday.  Had a great chat as always harpin’ on it with the lads on Sunday, check out the pod if you missed it, and while you’re at it maybe subscribe to the feed too if you don’t mind.

MUNSTER’S SEASON & LEINSTER’S LINEOUTS

I try to keep the pods to under an hour but often that means leaving out material I really want to keep in.  That was definitely the case on Sunday night as during the “Front Five” section, where I try to keep things brief to get to the main topic quickly, Tom & Mark went off on an excellent riff about Munster’s season so far, so while I cut it from the main pod I thought I’d add it here as something of a bonus.  There’s also a bit more to the audio as I put in a question I asked them about Leinster’s lineouts v Ulster as opposed to those against Benetton the week before.

BEST LEAGUE GETTING EVEN BETTER

I’ll harp on our contributors’ prediction league further down the column but apart from the banter it provides it also makes me focus even more on the full slate of matches every weekend and I have to say it has been a cracking competition so far, even just 23 matches in.

Normally I’m something of a “defensive purist” and multiple scorelines where the losing side has over 30pts isn’t always my idea of perfect, but it’s more about the sides that were towards the end of the table last season doing well, like Zebre and Dragons, both of which have already given top 8 opposition a serious run for their money.

Absolutely no match is a given and that’s as it should be.  Who needs relegation eh?

RAININ’ HILL

I was obviously delighted with the Leinster win on Friday night but I always had soft spot for Ulster and I have said many a time over the years that they have had a continued run of shocking luck.

From losing key players for various reasons beyond the provincial branch’s control, to having controversial decisions go against them in big matches, to my personal favourite – in the one year they actually finish top of the Celtic League and earn a home final, that’s also the year they have to switch it to Dublin…and who do they happen to be playing???

And I know they deservedly did the double over us last season but in real terms that didn’t get them anything more than bragging rights as we ended up finishing first anyway, and even this weekend, the trademark Friday night downpour didn’t hit until after we had built a lead.

I was sure to bring that up when I was a guest on the Red Hand podcast on Saturday, check out the episode here.

EMERGING IRELAND

Not much I can add to Tom’s evaluation of the touring side’s opening fixture last Friday, only that perhaps the Griquas were playing as though they had been sampling some free Windhoek Draught courtesy of their sponsors.  That’s not to take anything away from our lads of course, as the saying goes you can only play what’s in front of you, and it is true that as the game wore on they really started to gel nicely with Jack Crowley pulling the strings.  

Obviously from a Leinster POV it was a shame that Ciarán Frawley was unavailable as he really does need some time in a 10 jersey so he can realise the potential we all know he has.  Still, there’s always room for another quality 10 with the initials JC in a green jersey!!!

INJURY REPORT

Not a whole lot in the line of good news in this week’s report, would wish for the likes of Messrs Keenan and Lowe to be moving up the list soon.  Also the withdrawals of Kelleher before kickoff in Belfast and Dave Kearney during halftime are both concerns, and with Sheehan getting so much game time the past couple of weekends I can’t imagine him also starting against the Sharks at the RDS on Saturday.

INJURY UPDATE – AVAILABLE FOR SELECTION:

James Ryan: came through the game at the weekend with no issues after recovering from a hamstring injury

Will Connors: came through the game at the weekend with no issues after recovering from a back injury

Liam Turner: has recovered from a toe injury and will return to full training this week

INJURY UPDATE – FURTHER ASSESSMENT REQUIRED:

Caelan Doris: was withdrawn for a Head Injury Assessment in the first half against Benetton Rugby and will continue to be assessed this week as he comes through the Graduated Return to Play Protocols

Rónan Kelleher: was a late withdrawal from the Leinster Rugby match day 23 with a hamstring injury and will be further assessed this week

Dave Kearney: was withdrawn at half time against Ulster Rugby with an adductor injury and will be further assessed this week

INJURY UPDATE – UNAVAILABLE FOR SELECTION:

Jamison Gibson-Park: picked up a hamstring injury in training last week and will be unavailable for selection this week

There are no further updates on:

Ciarán Frawley (shoulder), Hugo Keenan (abdominal & knee injury), James Lowe (calf), James Tracy (neck), Charlie Ryan (knee), Tommy O’Brien (knee)

ALL HAIL THE AIL

The Women’s All Ireland League kicked off a few weeks ago, with Old Belvedere leading the way, while the men returned to action the weekend just gone, with champions Clontarf beginning their defence of the title with a win over UCD.  There were also wins for Trinity, Terenure, Ballynahinch & Cork Con.

I always say it – I would LOVE to be able to give the club game more coverage, we tried it a good few years ago with a series called “Roots & All” where we reached out to 5 different clubs throughout the season but it became too time consuming.  What I’ll do instead is offer regular updates in this column, paying particular attention to players in the Leinster provincial system as I go.

For example, Charlie Tector was playing at 10 for Lansdowne as they  were edged out by “The Hinch” on the Aviva back pitch, while the Terenure side that scored an impressive 39-3 win at Shannon included Marcus Hanan, as well as some familiar names from days gone by like Harrison Brewer, Jordan Coghlan & Cathal Marsh.

PREDICTION LEAGUE

So in Superbru whoever earned the most points in a week gets a “yellow cap” but despite the fact I have yet to earn one in the three rounds of the URC I am still somehow top of the Harpin League.  I guess it’s a classic case of “slow and steady wins the race” or at least “leads the race after 1/6th of the race”…but like I’ve said before, this league is not about finishing first, it’s about not finishing last and having to wear The Jersey Of Doom and so far it’s Keego who sits in that position.  He actually did really well on Friday, predicting the Ulster v Leinster margin on the button, but I think going for a Zebre win by 3 at Musgrave Park might have been a risk too far…

THE NEXT BATCH OF HARPIN’

Sharks are up next for Leinster, at the RDS on Saturday evening.  I’ll be talking to AP Cronje about their squad during the week, then on Friday I’ll have Keego with me for The Preview Show, with 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

170 : Opposition view – Ulster

listen to the full pod using the player below

170 : Opposition view – Ulster Harpin' On Rugby

In this bonus pod our “Opposition View” chats make a comeback as we get someone to harp from the other side of the fence ahead of our next feature match.  This week it’s Ulster with long time contributor Ian Frizzell offering his thoughts. Our guest… IAN FRIZZELL https://twitter.com/rava_ian Where to find Harpin’ On Rugby Website > https://harpinonrugby.com/ 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://www.youtube.com/channel/UCafwnpGYCmC-gO5y9zGIhew — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/harpinonrugby/message

The 80+ : Lancaster, RDS, Injuries

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

LANCASTER

As I sit down to type this column, the official word of Stu Lancaster’s future is making its way through the ruggersphere so I’ll move this point up to top billing.

To go with my tongue in cheek initial thoughts, I first have state a general opinion that I really, really, don’t like the way announcements like these are made mid-season at the best of times, but absolutely not when the talks which led to the announcement involving two teams which are slated to meet in very important HCC encounters over the coming months.

Now I know how my complaint may sound.  Like it means Lancaster would somehow be “compromised” when it came to those matches.  But that’s far from what I mean – I have no doubt everyone involved is professional in their approach to every match regardless of what is due to happen when the season is over.

But still I believe questions need to be asked.  Did Racing make their offer before or after the draw pitted them against Leinster?  Is that not a reasonable thing to want to know, even if it’s unlikely to ever be officially known?

A similar thing happened to Leinster back when it was announced that Jimmy Gopperth was to join or HCup pool mates Wasps, again after the draw was made.  Whatever about levels of professionalism, it just doesn’t sit well with me whenever it happens.

Some are saying it would be better for Stu to leave now because of the arrangement, but I wouldn’t agree.  It’s not like he’s leaving because anything is going wrong, more like the exact opposite.  Anyway, here’s hoping he and Johnny S can have the perfect end to their current respective employments.

BACK AT THE RDS

It goes without saying but I’ll say it anyway…it was BRILLIANT to be back at the RDS, so much so that, as I noted in the pod, I wasn’t even bothered by the first official rendition of “LEINSTER, LEINSTER” by the crowd in the opening stages.  In the past I found it ok on its own yet totally unsuitable as our principal chant.  But this time it sounded good to me.

On the way to the bus stop afterwards I saw a group of young lads coming towards me on Anglesea Road – there were three of them walking side by side and the one nearest the road had a rugby ball.  When a tree blocked his path, without hesitating he ran towards it and made like it was a would(wood?)-be tackler and sent a neat offload around the back of it towards his mate.  The future looks bright.

INJURY REPORT

It’s always concerning when a matchday 23 is altered at the last moment and it seems to happen to Leinster and Ireland quite a bit.  Last weekend it was James Ryan who was removed before kickoff.  Then just five minutes into the match Caelan Doris went off for an HIA from which he never returned, and later we saw Ciaran Frawley, Jimmy O’Brien and Will Connors all replaced leaving us with an extremely makeshift backline in the closing stages.

The official line on the squad is now this…

INJURY UPDATE – AVAILABLE FOR SELECTION:

Joe McCarthy: came through the game at the weekend with no issues after recovering from an ankle injury and has joined the Emerging Ireland squad

Jordan Larmour: came through the game at the weekend with no issues after recovering from a knee injury

Jamison Gibson-Park: has recovered from illness and is expected to train as normal this week

INJURY UPDATE – FURTHER ASSESSMENT REQUIRED:

Ciarán Frawley: injured his shoulder late in the first half against Benetton Rugby and will be further assessed this week by the Leinster Rugby medical team after his removal from the Emerging Ireland squad

Will Connors: aggravated his back in the second half against Benetton Rugby and was removed as a precaution and will be further assessed this week

Liam Turner: will look to step up his rehabilitation this week as he recovers from a toe injury and aim to integrate into rugby training

James Ryan: was withdrawn from the match day XV against Benetton Rugby with a minor hamstring injury sustained in the captain’s run on Thursday. Will be further assessed this week

INJURY UPDATE – UNAVAILABLE FOR SELECTION:

Caelan Doris: was withdrawn for a Head Injury Assessment in the first half against Benetton Rugby and will now enter the Graduated Return to Play Protocols

NO INJURY UPDATE – UNAVAILABLE FOR SELECTION:

Hugo Keenan (abdominal & knee injury), James Lowe (calf), James Tracy (neck), Charlie Ryan (knee), Tommy O’Brien (knee)

With talk of Johnny Sexton being available for what could in all likelihood be his last match in Belfast this Friday evening, along with the injuries and those gone on the Emerging Ireland tour, I’m wondering if we could be looking at a Leinster XV close to this in our top of the table URC clash…

J O’Brien, Larmour, Ringrose, Henshaw, Kearney, Sexton, Gibson-Park.

Porter, Sheehan/Kelleher, Furlong, Jenkins, Ryan, Ruddock, van der Flier, Conan.

I reckon I’d be happy enough with that.

RUGBY CHAMPIONSHIP

No need to a load of paragraphs here, just pointing out that the All Blacks won TRC, right after we won a series against them.  I’m not saying that proves anything that’s going to happen in the future, I just enjoyed typing that sentence, especially the last bit.

BUNDEE’S RED

Keego gave his thoughts on the pod, and in that “Front Five” segment I try to keep things brief so I held back my own until here.

Before we harp on what he did, we must put the whole thing in context.  Stormers winger Seabelo Senatla was in a totally illegal position in the ruck, with his hand clearly on the ground as he tried to jackle.

Still, as the saying goes, two wrongs do not make a right, especially when the second one is really, really, REALLY wrong.  It looks like Aki is making the same argument as the one there used to be for what was called “a good shoeing”.  If someone is clearly being illegal at the breakdown, it is somehow fair game for some shithousery in kind.

Well, that’s fine to a point, but this goes way, way, way, WAY beyond that.  “Where do you want me on the clean out?”  Nowhere near his head, mate.  Simple as.

If he had to make protestations to the ref he would have been better off letting the officials know what Senatla was doing in the moment, that surely would have produced a better outcome for his team.

To be clear, I’m a big Bundee fan.  But this was not an isolated incident of poor discipline from him and while I certainly wouldn’t completely rule him out of the Irish centre debate because of it, we surely have to keep it in mind while having the discussion.

PREDICTION LEAGUE

Two weeks into the season and though I am yet to win a round, I actually top the league for now.  Those pesky Ospreys let in a late score for the second week in a row to cost me some points, and I would have made some decent ground had they not done so.  The only other match I got wrong was Dragons v Munster but in that case, nobody saw that coming.

THE NEXT BATCH OF HARPIN’

It’s All About Ulster this week.  On Tuesday evening I’ll be chatting to regular contributor Ian Frizell about his provinces’ perfect start to the season, then on Thursday shortly after the teams are named I’ll be recording the preview show with Mark Jackson.  There will be the other usual features like Rugby on TV, TikToks involving clips from Leinster’s HCC opponents Racing and Gloucester, as well as the odd tweet here and there when something catches my eye.

So by all means join me on any or all of the social media platforms and of course, be sure to enjoy your rugby wherever you are. JLP