I’m not sure I’ve ever been as nervous about a game as I was last week. I was on tenterhooks every day waiting for a morsel of news, but it was pointless because no matter the news it was impossible to decipher what effect it might have on the game. Connacht had beaten Townsend’s Glasgow once in 10 attempts, and were setting out to do it again, to go one better than they’d ever done before and achieve a final. Glasgow were out to retain their title and be the first team to win an away semi. Given their depth, their internationals, their experience, their historic comfort playing Connacht, it seemed more than reasonable that they should win, hence why I didn’t offer a prediction last week.
Connacht 7 – Leinster 6
Rarely have we seen a game of finer margins. Against Edinburgh I never really felt we were in danger, but against Leinster tonight I’m not sure I ever really believed we were winning.
The pro12 is back in action, and because of the world cup I’m not likely to see much of it (or at least the games featuring Connacht) for several weeks. Good to see that efforts are being made to maintain and improve the league’s credibility and popularity. In lieu of a Connacht-Dragons match review, here are some thoughts about how the league is shaping up: Continue reading
The World Cup is almost upon us and I am fucking excited! While it’s a bit of a pain for Connacht, and for non-Connacht based fans who now won’t get to see many televised games as a result, the trade off is seeing those other boys in green giving it socks against the rest of the world. Unlike the autumn or summer internationals where you never really know how much any team cares about the result, its always pretty clear that everyone is trying their best to have the most successful tournament possible. For the ‘minnows’ – that terrible but unavoidable diminutive nickname – the desire to graduate from small fry status by slaying one of the big teams in the group is a huge incentive, and in the right groups there’s even the potential that one of those teams can progress to the knock out stages. For the bigger teams its about proving themselves against their northern and southern peers at once, unlike in the six or quad nations where they are geographically limited. Its no holds barred, winner take all rugby, and that’s what brings out the best in this sport.
For now the main point of contention is selections. Armchair management is everyone’s favourite side game to the actual sport, and I’m no exception. I’m going to outline some of my thoughts on the Ireland squad and the first two warm up teams before giving my own predictions. Hopefully if I have time I can return to talk about the other teams in the tournament at some point in the future.