The Leinster thread

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  1. #41
    shazbooger
    Guest
    I think its understood now that it was David Kelly who wrote the article not Hugh Farrelly. Though the Indo never corrected the type in either the online or print edition.

    Either way, it was a pretty poor portrayal of the crowd.

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  3. #42
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    QUOTE (Logorrhea @ Oct 9 2009, 12:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    I think its understood now that it was David Kelly who wrote the article not Hugh Farrelly. Though the Indo never corrected the type in either the online or print edition.

    Either way, it was a pretty poor portrayal of the crowd.[/b]
    Kelly used to a soccer journalist for the Indo until there was a high profile incident with the Ireland team who refused to allow him into a press conference. His reputation hasn't exactly been restored since he was bumped into the rugby section.

  4. #43
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    In the programme for yesterday's game, a couple of things stood out. An interview with Eoin Reddan saw the Limerickman confirm that Michael Cheika told him he was leaving before Reddan signed a contract (last March). John Fogarty also alluded to the fact that the head coach is likely gone at the end of May. Given the performance last night and last season along with the type of rugby they play, I hope Mick Dawson has a word with Toby Booth about a move to Dublin in a few months. He seems like a terrific up and coming coach.

    Also, both the senior squad and academy squad were listed. David Kearney was listed as a senior squad member and not an academy player which confirms an earlier report in the Irish Times that he's been upgraded to a development contract. Also from the pictures attached, Stewart Maguire is a big b*stard; 6'5", 135kg, full grown beard at 19 years old!!!

  5. #44
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    Not directly Leinster related but Blackrock College hockeyed Garryowen 48-14 yesterday. Rock featured a number of Leinster academy players in their ranks including almost their entire backline; fullback Niall Morris, wing Andrew Conway, centres Kyle Tonetti and Brendan Macken and scrumhalf David Moore. Moore, Tonetti, Conway and Macken all scored tries, as did backrow Jordi Murphy who is a Leinster u20's player. According to a report in the Tribune (which isn't online yet), Conway and Macken caused havoc all game long. Rock are coached by Emmet Farrell (who's Leinster's video analyst) and Barry Gibney.

    Other Leinster players who got on the scoresheet in the AIL this weekend are wing Michael Keating for 'Tarf in their home loss to Dolphin and Fergus McFadden who scored a try, 4 conversions and a penalty for Old Belvedere.

  6. #45
    An Tarbh
    Guest
    QUOTE (snoopy snoopy dog dog @ Oct 10 2009, 10:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    In the programme for yesterday's game, a couple of things stood out. An interview with Eoin Reddan saw the Limerickman confirm that Michael Cheika told him he was leaving before Reddan signed a contract (last March). John Fogarty also alluded to the fact that the head coach is likely gone at the end of May. Given the performance last night and last season along with the type of rugby they play, I hope Mick Dawson has a word with Toby Booth about a move to Dublin in a few months. He seems like a terrific up and coming coach.

    Also, both the senior squad and academy squad were listed. David Kearney was listed as a senior squad member and not an academy player which confirms an earlier report in the Irish Times that he's been upgraded to a development contract. Also from the pictures attached, Stewart Maguire is a big b*stard; 6'5", 135kg, full grown beard at 19 years old!!![/b]
    he seems to be a control freak and a bit of an Eddie O'Sullivan style coach so I wouldn't say that's what Leinster need.

  7. #46
    munstermuffin
    Guest
    QUOTE (An Tarbh @ Oct 11 2009, 03:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    QUOTE (snoopy snoopy dog dog @ Oct 10 2009, 10:19 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    In the programme for yesterday's game, a couple of things stood out. An interview with Eoin Reddan saw the Limerickman confirm that Michael Cheika told him he was leaving before Reddan signed a contract (last March). John Fogarty also alluded to the fact that the head coach is likely gone at the end of May. Given the performance last night and last season along with the type of rugby they play, I hope Mick Dawson has a word with Toby Booth about a move to Dublin in a few months. He seems like a terrific up and coming coach.

    Also, both the senior squad and academy squad were listed. David Kearney was listed as a senior squad member and not an academy player which confirms an earlier report in the Irish Times that he's been upgraded to a development contract. Also from the pictures attached, Stewart Maguire is a big b*stard; 6'5", 135kg, full grown beard at 19 years old!!![/b]
    he seems to be a control freak and a bit of an Eddie O'Sullivan style coach so I wouldn't say that's what Leinster need.
    [/b][/quote]
    Agreed like Leinster don't have a great Head Coach (Not saying Cheika bad) but it Cheika been good in his area's and a great backroom team is what Leinster need not a 1 man show

  8. #47
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    I'll be honest, I think Michael Cheika gets a hard time despite doing an absolutely outstanding job with Leinster.

    He took over a team which lost in the space of three months their starting hooker Shane Byrne, starting 2nd row Leo Cullen, starting number 8 Victor Costello, backup flankers Aidan McCullen and Shane Jennings, starting flyhalf David Holwell and international centre David Quinlan. Four years down the line he's delivered a Heineken Cup, Magners League, qualification for the knockout stages in Europe three times in four years and never placing below 3rd in the Magners League. He has developed Rob Kearney, Luke Fitzgerald, Fergus McFadden, Johnny Sexton, Jamie Heaslip, Sean O'Brien, Kevin McLaughlin, Cian Healy and Devin Toner (among plenty of others) to become the core Leinster players for the next decade. He's overseen Leinster's academy develop into a production line of exceptional players. He's achieved everything he set out to do and is easily Leinster's best coach of the pro era.

    If I was Mick Dawson I'd do everything in my power to keep him, if not as head coach then in a Director of Rugby role overseeing the whole operation.

  9. #48
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    Bank of Ireland is delighted to name Kevin McLaughlin as the Bank of Ireland Player of the Month for September 2009...Ronnie Feeney, Regional Business Manager, Bank of Ireland presented McLaughlin with this prestigious award which is voted for by Leinster supporters.

    September provided lots of match time to rate player performances with four Magners League clashes. The three wins during September against Dragons, Ospreys and Edinburgh helped to put Leinster in their current position, top of the league table.

    Flanker McLaughlin played in all four games and took the opportunity to impress Leinster's followers with energetic performances making him supporters top choice in September.

    An appreciative Kevin McLaughlin said: "I am delighted to receive this award; it is a great honour to be recognised by the Leinster supporters. I've work hard over the past few months and look forward to continuing this for the supporters and for the team."

    With the next Heineken Cup clash just days away McLaughlin added: "We're really looking forward to the game against Brive, it is a chance to get back on track following last week's defeat".

    October promises to be an action packed month with five games taking place. Let us know which player you think deserves the accolade of the Bank of Ireland Player of the Month.


  10. #49
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    From the rag known as the Indo:
    QUOTE
    KURT McQUILKIN has ruled himself out of the running for the Leinster head coach's position when Michael Cheika moves on at the end of the season, WRITES HUGH FARRELLY.

    The New Zealander has been a revelation since taking over as defence coach in 2007, with a mean defence helping Leinster to the Magner's League title in 2008 and proving even more significant when they landed the Heineken Cup last season.

    McQuilkin has head-coach experience in the NPC with King Country and, as well as working with various Ireland underage teams, the former Leinster centre -- capped five times by Ireland in the 1990s -- has also coached Lansdowne and Greystones in the All-Ireland League.

    A popular and highly respected member of the Leinster set-up, McQuilkin's name would appear to be an obvious one on the short-list to replace Cheika at the end of the season, but he says he has no ambitions in this regard.

    "No, I wouldn't be putting my name forward," said McQuilkin yesterday. "There's plenty better than me around for head coach. I'm pretty happy doing what I'm doing, helping the team and having my own little area to work on. I'm sure there are plenty of candidates more qualified than I am.

    "I did it with Greystones and with Lansdowne and in the NPC with my home club, but it's a totally different kettle of fish over here."[/b]
    In short he wants to remain involved but not, or so he says now, as head coach. If he doesn't get the gig, whoever does would be mad to replace him.


  11. #50
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    There's a good interview conducted by John O'Sullivan with Kevin McLaughlin in the Irish Times:

    QUOTE
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/sport/...4256617139.html

    THERE IS a suggestion music can soothe the soul and if that is so, then Kevin McLaughlin found the perfect antidote to the frustration of last weekend's defeat to London Irish at the RDS in Dublin. The Leinster flanker spent Monday night singing bass with the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir in the National Concert Hall, recording a piece for Lyric FM.

    His choral pedigree – he was an ever present in the RTÉ Philharmonic's five concert programme last year – dates to his days at Gonzaga College and it is a recreational pursuit he's upheld despite his professional commitment to rugby. There's no doubt it's provided a welcome distraction when his sporting career was pockmarked by frequent injury.

    The 25-year-old was an exceptional underage representative player but from the moment the door swung open to the Leinster Academy his career has been blighted by surgery and rehabilitation, virtually on an annual basis.

    He explained: "(In my) first year in the academy I tore my cruciate ligament and was out for six months. Then the next year I had to get a shoulder reconstruction; (I) played half a season that year. The year after my right shoulder started acting up, the A/C joint, so that required more surgery."

    Last season Rocky Elsom cast a long shadow from which McLaughlin failed to emerge. It's hardly an accusation of slacking to manage only the occasional cameo based on the Australian's stellar performances. The talented young Irishman knew he had to make an objective decision on his future.

    It wasn't easy because despite his playing aptitude and desire, his body wouldn't accommodate that ambition. "I had a meeting with (Michael) Cheika at the end of last year. He pretty much sat me down and said, 'we think you are good enough but we can't keep on going like this. Do you think you can go a season without getting injured and stay fit or even get a run of games without getting injured'.

    "I said to him I believe I could if I worked hard in the off-season and got things right. He said: 'right, okay, off you go'. I worked really hard, didn't take any holidays. I spent four weeks doing shoulder rehab, got my shoulders and knees right and am feeling good.

    "I do feel like I have a new lease of life; definitely. Last season I felt my rugby was to-ing and fro-ing. I always wanted to get a chance but I suppose I was at a bit of a crossroads at the end of last season. Are my shoulders up to this level? Am I up to this level? You start to doubt yourself.

    "But then I made a decision at the end of last season that I was going to give it one more go and I got a year extension. I'm thankful for that. Since then I have not looked back."

    The peals of laughter shook the room when McLaughlin sheepishly admitted he had investigated a career away from rugby if things hadn't panned out.

    "Believe it or not I was looking in the banking sector. So I'm very thankful now, I must say. I have been doing some work experience in Anglo Irish Bank," he smiled.

    Elsom's number-six jersey has fitted snugly on McLaughlin's broad shoulders. He's taken his opportunities with a series of excellent displays, recognised by his team-mates and also in winning September's player of the month award. He's more inclined to look forward rather than back although his thoughts on Leinster's failure at the breakdown in the London Irish match offer an inkling of what the Irish province has largely focused on in training this week as they prepare to travel to Brive.

    "There are a couple of key areas that we feel we need to improve on; one of them being body height at the breakdown. There was possibly a bit of complacency there as we were so happy with the way it went against Munster. If you take your eye off the ball for one second in this tournament, you're going to lose battles.

    "We have done a pretty thorough assessment of it (the breakdown) and we felt they (London Irish) got lower. It's kind of a mindset at the ruck. You just have to be hungrier to get there earlier. You have to get lower; it's really simple. We were possibly half a yard off rucks a lot of times, letting (Steffon) Armitage get in. If you let him get in he is impossible to move; you have to get him before he gets in and you have to get underneath him. That let us down a bit.

    "We did talk about it at half-time. If you go into a game . . . the ruck is your bread and butter. The ruck should be the priority, especially for a pack. It is hard to adjust once you get into a game and Armitage was getting his rhythm. Say in the first ruck we'd smashed him, smashed his ribs, he probably would not have been as hungry to get in. We almost encouraged him to get in over the ball and it had a really negative effect. Other players started doing it and they got momentum at the breakdown. It just killed our game."

    Next Saturday in the Stade Amedee-Domenech, McLaughlin anticipates an equally ferocious tussle at the breakdown. He's been doing his homework on the Brive backrow. "(They have) Alix Popham at six and a very important player (Antoine) Claassen, who's either eight or seven; so we are going to look to target him. He carries a lot of ball, is good at the breakdown. They're their two main backrow players that we are looking to get into."

    McLaughlin loves every minute, enjoying a reward for his dedication in rehabilitating from a succession of injuries. His stage is now the RDS and arenas of similar ilk, entertaining by deed rather than word.[/b]

  12. #51
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    Leinster A are playing Munster A tomorrow in some hell hole outside The Pale

    QUOTE
    http://www.leinsterrugby.ie/newsroom/3892.php

    LEINSTER 'A':

    15: Niall Morris, 14: Michael Keating, 13: Fergus McFadden, 12: Kyle Tonetti, 11: David Kearney, 10: Ian McKinley, 9: Paul O'Donohoe CAPTAIN; 1: Jack McGrath, 2: Jason Harris-Wright, 3: Gavin Maguire, 4: Eoin Sheriff, 5: Mark Flanagan, 6: Rhys Ruddock, 7: Dominic Ryan, 8: Paul Ryan

    REPLACEMENTS:

    16: Tom Sexton, 17: Ben Barclay / Jack O'Connell, 18: Ciaran Ruddock, 19: Jordi Murphy, 20: David Moore, 21: Brendan Macken, 22: Andrew Conway[/b]
    It's a very young Leinster team. None of the pack have played for the full team yet with both props (I assume the tighthead is Stewart Maguire) and both flankers still in their teens. Up to 4 of the subs are also in their teens.

    It's interesing that Ben Barclay/Jack O'Connell and Jordi Murphy make the bench. None are in the Leinster academy although I assume they're in the sub-academy. Barclay played a couple of times for Scott Johnson's US Eagles little more than a year ago.

    The Munster team is:
    QUOTE
    Munster. Danny Riordan; Ronan O'Mahony, Tom Gleeson, Scott Deasy, Danny Barnes; Declan Cusack, Duncan Williams; Dave Kilcoyne, Mike Sherry, Stephen Archer; Dave Foley, AN Other; Billy Holland, Tommy O'Donnell, James Coughlan capt. Replacements: Sean Henry,Pa O'Regan, Kieran Essex, Peter O'Mahony, Paul Rowley, Andrew Burke, Simon Zebo.[/b]
    Apparently AN Other is an incredible player - he seems to feature on tons of teamsheets!

    Based on experience alone, Munster should win this.

  13. #52
    munstermuffin
    Guest
    QUOTE (snoopy snoopy dog dog @ Oct 15 2009, 03:44 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    Leinster A are playing Munster A tomorrow in some hell hole outside The Pale

    QUOTE
    http://www.leinsterrugby.ie/newsroom/3892.php

    LEINSTER 'A':

    15: Niall Morris, 14: Michael Keating, 13: Fergus McFadden, 12: Kyle Tonetti, 11: David Kearney, 10: Ian McKinley, 9: Paul O'Donohoe CAPTAIN; 1: Jack McGrath, 2: Jason Harris-Wright, 3: Gavin Maguire, 4: Eoin Sheriff, 5: Mark Flanagan, 6: Rhys Ruddock, 7: Dominic Ryan, 8: Paul Ryan

    REPLACEMENTS:

    16: Tom Sexton, 17: Ben Barclay / Jack O'Connell, 18: Ciaran Ruddock, 19: Jordi Murphy, 20: David Moore, 21: Brendan Macken, 22: Andrew Conway[/b]
    It's a very young Leinster team. None of the pack have played for the full team yet with both props (I assume the tighthead is Stewart Maguire) and both flankers still in their teens. Up to 4 of the subs are also in their teens.

    It's interesing that Ben Barclay/Jack O'Connell and Jordi Murphy make the bench. None are in the Leinster academy although I assume they're in the sub-academy. Barclay played a couple of times for Scott Johnson's US Eagles little more than a year ago.

    The Munster team is:
    QUOTE
    Munster. Danny Riordan; Ronan O'Mahony, Tom Gleeson, Scott Deasy, Danny Barnes; Declan Cusack, Duncan Williams; Dave Kilcoyne, Mike Sherry, Stephen Archer; Dave Foley, AN Other; Billy Holland, Tommy O'Donnell, James Coughlan capt. Replacements: Sean Henry,Pa O'Regan, Kieran Essex, Peter O'Mahony, Paul Rowley, Andrew Burke, Simon Zebo.[/b]
    Apparently AN Other is an incredible player - he seems to feature on tons of teamsheets!

    Based on experience alone, Munster should win this.
    [/b][/quote]
    Feel sorry for McFadden ... Should really be playing or on bench in France.

  14. #53
    feicarsinn
    Guest
    Dunno bout that. He's got plenty of game time this year and he's learning from to of the best centres around. All he has to do is bide is time.

  15. #54
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    QUOTE (munstermuffin @ Oct 15 2009, 06:23 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    Feel sorry for McFadden ... Should really be playing or on bench in France.[/b]
    After the Churchill Cup he had, I doubt he thought he'd fail to make the 23 in European games however he has plenty of time to force his way in. Cian Healy and Johnny Sexton weren't first team players 12 months ago and now both look undropable (if that's a word). Just as Shane Jennings ban (appeal pending) has opened the door for Sean O'Brien and Rocky Elsom's departure has given Kevin McLaughlin an opportunity, McFadden's chance will come before the season is over. It's up to him to seize it.

    Looking at his options, he's better off remaining at Leinster. Ulster have Darren Cave occupying the outside centre berth, Munster have invested heavily in Jean De Villiers and Connacht are a joke so he won't get a better chance at another province. Unless a top English club like Leicester or London Irish come in for him, if he wants to force his way into Declan Kidney's plans he's better off staying put. Out of sight, out of mind.......

  16. #55
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    Really good, no nonsense interview with Johnny Sexton in today's Times

    QUOTE
    Jonathan, or Johno, Sexton has handled a rugby ball almost as soon as he could run. The Leinster outhalf tells Gerry Thornley about his feisty career

    AS A nipper, from almost as soon as he could run, young Johnny, or Johno, had a rugby ball in his hands. He and his brothers were amongst the hordes of youngsters who'd run around that big old-style, square-shaped bar-room, function room-cum-disco hall in the 'Rangers clubhouse of a Saturday afternoon. Like bees in a honeypot.

    His dad, Jerry, played scrumhalf for Bective Rangers, and his uncle Willie was a tearaway openside for Garryowen who also played three times for Ireland. On his mum, Clare's, side, his grandfather John was an Irish international amateur golfer of some repute and his four boys – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, would you believe, though not in that order – all played rugby and golf, Mark also being a scrumhalf for Bective.

    "I was there as long as I can remember," recalls Sexton. "Johnny O'Hagan was the Bective bagman, even back then, 20 years ago and I was pestering him for balls all the time and breaking lights in the clubhouse in Bective and causing hassle, I suppose, with my brothers. Fond memories. We used to run wild down there."

    Fast forward 20 years or so. In the 25th minute of the Heineken Cup semi-final between Leinster and Munster, in front of a world record 82,208 crowd at Croke Park, Sexton has just come on for the injured Felipe Contepomi and, by way of introduction to the game, is lining up a penalty.

    "Then Johnny O'Hagan brought out the wrong kicking tee and I was like: 'Are you for real?' and he says 'Just use that' and I said: 'I'm not f***ing using the wrong kicking tee!' so I sent him back with his dodgy ankle and he got the right kicking tee," says Sexton, smiling.

    For Sexton, it's actually calming to have O'Hagan bring out the tee. "I've known him for so long. He always gives me a little word of advice just before the kick. I don't listen to it," he quips, "but it's nice to hear it and he's great to have around the place. All the lads know him so well now. He's just part of Leinster. He'll be here until he goes, basically."

    It's been a long, rugby rite of passage for Sexton, but from that kick onwards, he came of age last season, guiding Leinster to their Promised Land. He has always been a very driven, ambitious young lad. Invariably last off the training ground, team-mates talk of a strikingly more mature player and person in the last year, one willing to call the shots, but also to take advice on board. He's a bright, engaging lad too who is now noticeably more content in his own skin.

    It's now, surely, only a question of when young Johnny emulates uncle Willie. The Sextons are from Listowel, good sporting Kerry stock, which may also partially account for Sexton's nice line in dry wit and his feisty, fiery side. He's had his minor little run-ins with coaches and the law. Nothing too serious, but the coaches and the law have usually won.

    "Gets me into trouble sometimes, the temper. That's probably from the dad's side," he says, smiling again, and whenever these little run-ins come up in conversation he explains, as if beyond his control, in one word: "Kerry."

    After those Saturday afternoons in Bective came Sunday mornings playing mini rugby. Although he's long since filled out the under-20s jersey that used to hang down to his knees, he's still in touch with first coach there, Joe Nolan, who, he says with evident pride on Nolan's behalf, will be the club president next season.

    It's funny how certain memories stick out. "I would have seen my dad play when I was very young. I remember him coming off the pitch with a broken nose one day and I thought he was going to die. There was blood everywhere."

    Milltown and, in the summer, Ballybunion golf clubs were the other familial haunts. Not so long ago, Sexton had his handicap down to five but there isn't so much time to play nowadays, so he's kept his Ballybunion membership but not Milltown.

    By then he was at St Mary's, ultimately playing for three years on their senior Cup team.

    "There's only 50 or 60 kids in the year so it is a real sort of family school. It's a really good school too. They don't have the players that Blackrock do but the ethos in the school and the spirit within the school gives them the success that they've had."

    He won a medal in his first year, at 16, but being the only fourth year student in the squad reckons he didn't appreciate it as much as he might have done. In his second year, they lost a final at Lansdowne Road to Terenure in front of 30,000 people, by 3-0. He winces again at the memory of losing in the first round against Blackrock the following year.

    "We were 17-3 up at half-time and then a number of things happened. We dropped the ball over the line, we got done for a double movement over the line, and Luke Fitzgerald informed us that a bird shat on the Blackrock coach's head at half-time, which is a sign of good luck apparently," recalls Sexton with amusement, though clearly wondering still if there might actually have been some truth in it.

    "And when I was taking a place kick they decided to turn the floodlights on in Donnybrook because it got so dark, just as I was taking the run up."

    He also played for the Leinster and Irish schools but "the bad ones (memories) always stick out," as he puts it. "And that's what still drives you. I'm sure that's what still drives the Munster players. They probably still remember the finals they lost rather than the ones they've won."

    It's the same with Sexton, for though he's into double figures for Ireland under-21 and Ireland A caps, there's still been no full caps, and he has only played 46 games for Leinster. "You need to learn through experience and I have learned through experience. I've had some brilliant times; winning the Magners League early in my career and then the Heineken. But I've had some tough times; getting dropped, not getting picked and I've learned from them. Looking back that's just the way my career has gone and now hopefully it will stay on an upward curve."

    He saw others, such as Fitzgerald and Rob Kearney, bypass him and consoled himself that he was behind "an Argentinian legend and a Leinster legend" in Contepomi. "At the time I was bloody frustrated but that's the type of person I am, I'm ambitious and I want to succeed and when you're not getting as many chances as you think you should get, obviously I was frustrated and we (himself and Michael Cheika) had some run-ins."

    Aside from Cheika, there have been many other good influences along the way, such as Richie Murphy in the Leinster academy, but it was David Knox who taught him how to run a backline, and when to go to the line.

    "He changed my game. When I was in school it was very much a kicking game. The academy obviously helped and then I got introduced to Knoxy and as strange a character as he was, he was an outstanding coach. He was unbelievable. He taught me everything. His drills were brilliant. I learned a lot through Felipe and then obviously later Riff (Gaffney) has come in. He's got a huge amount of experience and knowledge and he's passing that on as well. Michael as well. Jesus, although he was a backrow he does know an awful lot about the game. So I've been lucky."

    Last season's rollercoaster summed up his career. Having been a fairly regular starter in the successful Magners League campaign, Isa Nacewa was brought in and Sexton tried to be more like Felipe Contepomi and Nacewa than Johnny Sexton. "Michael (Cheika) just wanted me to control the game and the fancy things will come if I just did that.

    "That's what I've learned most, just go out and play your own game and if you do something special it will just happen at the time."

    He's also learned to row with the mistakes rather than beat himself up over them. "I saw Wilkinson miss a kick to win the game the other day. I was in shock, I was like 'he didn't miss that!' But, you know, things happen."

    This weekend a year ago Sexton came on at half-time against Wasps and brilliantly helped steer Leinster to a 41-11 win. But he had a "shocking" game against Glasgow and was replaced at half-time in the defeat away to Castres.

    "That had never happened to me before in my career, ever," he says, the embarrassment of the experience not something he will easily forget.

    St Mary's, and Declan Kidney's faith in him, saved his season. "I'm very good friends with Peter Smith, the Mary's coach, and he's got a really professional set-up there. I was playing with my brother, playing with all the guys that I've played with for years up there. We had a few good results when we played and really good craic and I almost felt 'this is why I started playing'. I was playing with freedom whereas before I was playing with pressure."

    Still, Ian Humphreys was playing well for Ulster. "I was reading the press speculating that he would be picked for the Irish As and I was like 'Jesus, he probably will'. I have Declan Kidney to thank for that. He could have just gone with Humphreys."

    The Irish As beat their Scottish counterparts. "That was the turning point for me. A good night in the RDS, I got a try that wasn't a try."

    Back in the Leinster 22, they began playing better when he was on the pitch, such as when losing away to Munster a week before the Heineken Cup quarter-final, whereupon he was suspended for two weeks for kicking Lifeimi Mafi. The Kerry thing.

    "I thought he tried to turn D'Arcy on his head and I was angry, but I didn't mean to kick him in the head. I sort of lashed out slightly, but it was an accident." In any event, Sexton was back for the semi-final. He was nervous on the bus ride to Croker, but going past Pearse Street Fire Station he was pleasantly surprised to see a bunch of his mates from St Mary's roaring and waving to him. That made him feel good.

    His courage in landing a penalty with his first touch was widely applauded but he reckons it was the best thing for him, "because suddenly, 'bang' you're in the game. It was nerve-racking, the knees and the heart were going crazy but it put me right in the game. I had never experienced an atmosphere like it before. I had never played internationals, I had never played in front of that amount of people. That's given me the taste of it and that's what's driving me on now".

    Sexton reckons he probably played better in the final. Last Friday, he lined up a drop goal from near the half-way line and most in the crowd probably had a flashback to that day in May at Murrayfield against Leicester. Unfortunately, he admits, so did he. Still, it was some drop goal with which to announce he was ready for a Heineken Cup final.

    The younger players in the team won it for themselves but also, he says, for those who toiled through some of the bad days.

    "But at the same time I hope they won't settle for one Heineken cup in their career," he says, "because if they play for 12 seasons, one out of 12 isn't that good is it? If I play until I'm 34 and only win one out of 12, I won't be happy."

    Sexton rang (Ireland manager) Paul McNaughton before the final offering to fly out the next day for the two summer Tests in the USA and Canada, but he was told to concentrate on the final. "It's something that I desperately want and not only just one. I want to play for Ireland like Ronan O'Gara has for the last 10 years."

    It must be odd being a rival to O'Gara. "When I was 14 he was 24 and playing for Ireland. I was playing at outhalf for Mary's so obviously he was my idol. I looked up to his standard and I would always try to do that trademark kick into the corner, and he has a lovely passing game as well."

    He talks with huge respect for O'Gara and his achievements. The incident after the D'Arcy try in the semi-final when Sexton was freeze-framed seemingly unleashing a volley of verbals (he actually just screamed, without saying anything) at O'Gara has literally distorted the picture we have of the rivalry. "That respect probably got thrown out in that moment in Croke Park, but you know things happen in the heat of battle and other things are said that aren't caught on camera and s*** happens but I still have respect for him as a player and what he has achieved."

    Similarly Sexton will have his occasional bad days as well as good ones. Being the resident outhalf with Leinster, the European champions, has a certain responsibility to it.

    "It's something that I've wanted to be for 10 years so . . . yeah I'm glad I'm in that position at the moment. I'm not taking it for granted because Seán Beirne is a quality player."

    Having a new alternative at outhalf is good for Sexton, and besides at one point last summer he thought it might be Dan Carter. "He was around here at the time. I swear to God. When Felipe was announcing he was leaving, Dan Carter was in our gym working out."

    Carter was over for an Adidas photo shoot.

    Even Carter would be feeling the heat this week, but Sexton isn't fazed.

    "We are going to win the game first of all, we know we have to win the game. We've got out of the pool before winning four games and getting bonus points. So there is pressure, there is a lot of pressure but it's not like we're not good enough to win over there."

    It's not said with a trace of cockiness, just a belief in himself and his team-mates.

    He looks the part now[/b]

  17. #56
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    QUOTE
    A late surge from Munster 'A'denied Leinster a victory in Friday night's Interprovincial in front a large crowd in Clonmel RFC as the hosts won 21-15... Click HERE to access the Leinster 'A' Calendar Tries from second-row Eoin Sheriff and a late effort from Michael Keating had put the visitors into a strong position. Leinster led 7-6 at the interval,after Fergus McFadden had converted Sheriff's 17th minute effort, but Leinster lacked a cutting edge after getting into a string of promising offensive positions.

    McFadden added a second half penalty however second-half tries from Munster number eight and captain James Coughlan and flanker Billy Holland swung a tight match.

    MUNSTER 'A':

    15: Danny Riordan, 14: Ronan O'Mahony, 13: Tom Gleeson, 12: Scott Deasy, 11: Danny Barnes, 10: Declan Cusack, 9: Duncan Williams; 1: Dave Kilcoyne, 2: Mike Sherry, 3: Stephen Archer; 4: Dave Foley, 5: AN Other; 6: Billy Holland, 7: Tommy O'Donnell, 8: James Coughlan CAPTAIN

    REPLACEMENTS:

    16: Sean Henry, 17: Pa O'Regan, 18: Kieran Essex, 19: Peter O'Mahony, 20: Paul Rowley, 21: Andrew Burke, 22: Simon Zebo

    LEINSTER 'A':

    15: Niall Morris, 14: Michael Keating, 13: Fergus McFadden, 12: Kyle Tonetti (Brendan Macken, 73), 11: David Kearney, 10: Ian McKinley, 9: Paul O'Donohoe CAPTAIN (David Moore, 73); 1: Jack McGrath (Jack O'Connell, 68), 2: Jason Harris-Wright (Tom Sexton, 49), 3: Stewart Maguire (Ben Barclay, 49) 4: Eoin Sheriff (Ciaran Ruddock, 49), 5: Mark Flanagan, 6: Rhys Ruddock, 7: Dominic Ryan, 8: Paul Ryan[/b]
    There's another report on the game on Munster's official website. Browsing a couple of forums, it seems the Leinster backline looked good when they got the ball and the backrow were excellent.

  18. #57
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    QUOTE
    http://www.herald.ie/sport/leinster-rugby/...ts-1924624.html


    Leinster back to old habits

    It was like taking an awkward step back in time to the days, three or four years ago, when coach Michael Cheika spoke incessantly about the need for consistency and proper game-management -- all in the name of Leinster's fast-developing smart economy.

    Since then, they have moved into a halfway house between the spectacular orchestrations of Felipe Contepomi and the ordered common sense sanity of Munster's winning rugby, replacing risk with a greater chance of reward.

    It was what brought the Heineken Cup to a new home in May. The departure of the much-maligned David Knox, an eccentric backs coach of real talent, sealed Cheika's transformation from the Australian-flavoured all-court running game to a more percentage based approach.

    Usually, there is a marked reduction in intensity as the provinces shift down a gear from the Heineken Cup to the Magners League. Of course, this generalisation goes out of the window when the age-old provinces collide so energetically.

    Maybe, Cheika should have foreseen the weather and the writing on the wall.

    After all, Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin has learned the game in the cauldron that is the inter-provincial championships, out of his many experiences stemming from his involvement at the Royal Academical Belfast Institution.



    REGRESSED

    Leinster regressed back to some of the bad old habits on Saturday as an unfamiliar half-back pairing of Chris Keane and Shaun Berne ignored the obvious demands of the conditions, prompting Cheika to reflect "we weren't smart enough".

    As the wind and rain combined horridly on one of those hideous Ravenhill nights, a treacherous evening required buckets of common sense to guide Leinster around, through and, mostly, in behind a pumped up Ulster defence. It never happened as Berne refused to slash the ball to the corners.

    It was similar to Isa Nacewa's brief, uncomfortable tenancy of the out-half jersey last season when he did not have the kicking tools required to manoeuvre Leinster into the right areas of the pitch.

    It wasn't that Berne definitively couldn't do it -- maybe, he does have those skills -- it was simply that he didn't try to send Leinster down-wind, down-rain deep into the Ravenhill ditches where the home side would have been forced to protect the ball in a dangerous area.

    Even then, Leinster would have been perched at the top of the League were it not for Berne's three penalty misses in the first-half in, admittedly, extremely testing conditions for a place-kicker as they came up two points (16-14) short of their immediate goal.

    It is unclear whether there was a breakdown in communication when Cheika admitted, "we didn't manage the first half well and that cost us" or whether the players decided, from the get-go, to assume the responsibility to run Ulster off their feet.

    Instead, Ulster revelled in the easy targets the Leinster runners provided as the hits went in and the ball squirted forward. The rejuvenated Ravenhill throngs were given all the encouragement they needed to make their voices heard.

    It all contributed to building a claustrophobic atmosphere in which the super-human Brian O'Driscoll seemed to be the only figure capable of transcending the conditions that humbled the mere mortals fumbling around him.

    As it stands, Ulster reside at the head of the table with Leinster paying the relatively painless price of slipping to second, courtesy of the bonus-point secured by Luke Fitzgerald's injury-time try and the conversion from replacement Sexton, which keeps them level on points with Edinburgh.

    Ulster coach McLaughlin was most pleased by his players' dedication to the game plan: "It was a difficult night to play rugby. But we fought hard and did what we had to do.

    "We handled the conditions extremely well. It was a case of when we got into their half we took the points," he said, rightly proud of the progress Ulster have made from an eighth place finish at the end of last season to first after six rounds this season.

    At present, there is little reason for Cheika to look to the panic button. Leinster hold the best defensive record in the Magners, conceding an average of just 13 points, and one try, in each of their half-dozen matches.

    They are relatively injury-free with CJ Van der Linde putting in an impressive cameo on the loose-head side of the scrum. In fact, the combination between the Springbok and Mike Ross, at tight-head, looked full of power and purpose.

    The solid transfer work of Cheika, the lure of the European champions and the increased purchasing spend has delivered serious front five options as the basis for believing Leinster can maintain their status.

    Behind that, Kevin McLaughlin and Sean O'Brien continue to impress in the back row as two young men on the rise. Half-backs Sexton and Reddan are working in harmony.

    Curiously, Leinster's traditional strength, their back play, is not humming in the way it can do. There is an issue to be resolved over the inside berth, contested between Gordon D'Arcy and Luke Fitzgerald with Cheika determined to fit Nacewa into the five-man framework from ten to fifteen.

    - Des Berry[/b]

  19. #58
    munstermuffin
    Guest
    QUOTE (snoopy snoopy dog dog @ Oct 27 2009, 08:22 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
    QUOTE
    http://www.herald.ie/sport/leinster-rugby/...ts-1924624.html


    Leinster back to old habits

    It was like taking an awkward step back in time to the days, three or four years ago, when coach Michael Cheika spoke incessantly about the need for consistency and proper game-management -- all in the name of Leinster's fast-developing smart economy.

    Since then, they have moved into a halfway house between the spectacular orchestrations of Felipe Contepomi and the ordered common sense sanity of Munster's winning rugby, replacing risk with a greater chance of reward.

    It was what brought the Heineken Cup to a new home in May. The departure of the much-maligned David Knox, an eccentric backs coach of real talent, sealed Cheika's transformation from the Australian-flavoured all-court running game to a more percentage based approach.

    Usually, there is a marked reduction in intensity as the provinces shift down a gear from the Heineken Cup to the Magners League. Of course, this generalisation goes out of the window when the age-old provinces collide so energetically.

    Maybe, Cheika should have foreseen the weather and the writing on the wall.

    After all, Ulster coach Brian McLaughlin has learned the game in the cauldron that is the inter-provincial championships, out of his many experiences stemming from his involvement at the Royal Academical Belfast Institution.



    REGRESSED

    Leinster regressed back to some of the bad old habits on Saturday as an unfamiliar half-back pairing of Chris Keane and Shaun Berne ignored the obvious demands of the conditions, prompting Cheika to reflect "we weren't smart enough".

    As the wind and rain combined horridly on one of those hideous Ravenhill nights, a treacherous evening required buckets of common sense to guide Leinster around, through and, mostly, in behind a pumped up Ulster defence. It never happened as Berne refused to slash the ball to the corners.

    It was similar to Isa Nacewa's brief, uncomfortable tenancy of the out-half jersey last season when he did not have the kicking tools required to manoeuvre Leinster into the right areas of the pitch.

    It wasn't that Berne definitively couldn't do it -- maybe, he does have those skills -- it was simply that he didn't try to send Leinster down-wind, down-rain deep into the Ravenhill ditches where the home side would have been forced to protect the ball in a dangerous area.

    Even then, Leinster would have been perched at the top of the League were it not for Berne's three penalty misses in the first-half in, admittedly, extremely testing conditions for a place-kicker as they came up two points (16-14) short of their immediate goal.

    It is unclear whether there was a breakdown in communication when Cheika admitted, "we didn't manage the first half well and that cost us" or whether the players decided, from the get-go, to assume the responsibility to run Ulster off their feet.

    Instead, Ulster revelled in the easy targets the Leinster runners provided as the hits went in and the ball squirted forward. The rejuvenated Ravenhill throngs were given all the encouragement they needed to make their voices heard.

    It all contributed to building a claustrophobic atmosphere in which the super-human Brian O'Driscoll seemed to be the only figure capable of transcending the conditions that humbled the mere mortals fumbling around him.

    As it stands, Ulster reside at the head of the table with Leinster paying the relatively painless price of slipping to second, courtesy of the bonus-point secured by Luke Fitzgerald's injury-time try and the conversion from replacement Sexton, which keeps them level on points with Edinburgh.

    Ulster coach McLaughlin was most pleased by his players' dedication to the game plan: "It was a difficult night to play rugby. But we fought hard and did what we had to do.

    "We handled the conditions extremely well. It was a case of when we got into their half we took the points," he said, rightly proud of the progress Ulster have made from an eighth place finish at the end of last season to first after six rounds this season.

    At present, there is little reason for Cheika to look to the panic button. Leinster hold the best defensive record in the Magners, conceding an average of just 13 points, and one try, in each of their half-dozen matches.

    They are relatively injury-free with CJ Van der Linde putting in an impressive cameo on the loose-head side of the scrum. In fact, the combination between the Springbok and Mike Ross, at tight-head, looked full of power and purpose.

    The solid transfer work of Cheika, the lure of the European champions and the increased purchasing spend has delivered serious front five options as the basis for believing Leinster can maintain their status.

    Behind that, Kevin McLaughlin and Sean O'Brien continue to impress in the back row as two young men on the rise. Half-backs Sexton and Reddan are working in harmony.

    Curiously, Leinster's traditional strength, their back play, is not humming in the way it can do. There is an issue to be resolved over the inside berth, contested between Gordon D'Arcy and Luke Fitzgerald with Cheika determined to fit Nacewa into the five-man framework from ten to fifteen.

    - Des Berry[/b]
    [/b][/quote]
    Seems obvious Ulster doing well as players playing alot of game time while Munster and Leinster struggling due to lack of game-time.
    Sexton is best fly-half in Ireland at moment and has played lots of games to get his game in good shape, so I think maybe the IRFU game plan issue isn't perfect.

  20. #59
    snoopy snoopy dog dog
    Guest
    Leinster have no games in November so it's an opportune time to give a mid-term report.

    Overall, things are going okay. The defence is still stunning, there's quality depth in the tight 5, Reddan and Sexton are developing a potent halfback partnership and the team in gereral aren't showing any signs of a Heineken Cup winning hangover. Six wins from nine games is a decent return. Negatives include not finishing off chances (of which the team are creating many), Jennings' suspension and at times sloppy protection of the ball at the ruck.

    While the first team aren't playing this month, there are 3 "A" games. That'll afford management a chance to look at players like Paul O'Donohoe, Dominic Ryan, Richardt Strauss, Jason Harris Wright, Fergus McFadden and Dave Kearney all of whom could have a big part to play for the full team later in the season. I'd pick the following "A" team over the next few games:

    15. Niall Morris
    14. Simon Keogh
    13. Brendan Macken
    12. Fergus McFadden
    11. Dave Kearney
    10. Ian McKinley
    9. Paul O'Donohoe
    1. Jack McGrath
    2. Jason Harris Wright
    3. CJ van der Linde
    4. Trevor Hogan
    5. Mark Flanagan
    6. Rhys Ruddock
    7. Dominic Ryan
    8. Stephen Keogh ©
    Substitutes: Richardt Strauss, Ronan McCormack, Stewart Maguire, Ciaran Ruddock, Paul Ryan, Dave Moore, Kyle Tonetti, Andrew Conway

    If Leinster pick XV academy players, chances are that they'd be steamrolled. A smattering of experienced pros in the team should help the younger players in terms of on field leadership. I'd pick van der Linde for the As because he badly needs game time. 40 minutes in each of the three games next month should bring him back to match fitness. I'd start Harris Wright over Strauss because Strauss needs a break after his involvement in the Currie Cup. McFadden should get a run at 12 because he's a possible replacement for Gordon D'arcy at 12 and Brendan Macken is a better long term prospect to replace Brian O'Driscoll at 13. McFadden is playing 12 for Old Belvedere in AIL 1B.

  21. #60
    shazbooger
    Guest
    I'd be surprised if Strauss isnt playing quite a bit of rugby for us over the next while. He's spent most of the season warming the bench for the Cheetahs. He'll have plenty of gas in the tank.

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