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Leinster Rugby vs Ulster Rugby

by Jim O'Connor, 2013-12-28

After eight wins on the trot, it's now two defeats in a row for Leinster after they were beaten in a rain soaked game in Edinburgh last time out. The conditions were appalling but sadly so was Leinster's performance in a game that will want to be forgotten as quickly as possible by anyone unfortunate enough to witness it. Edinburgh deserved their win but coach Matt O'Connor would have given his players a fierce ear-bashing after the game.
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Match Preview: Edinburgh Rugby vs Leinster Rugby

by Jim O'Connor, 2013-12-20

Nearly a week later but last Saturday's game still smarts.

Leinster would have had qualification practically sewn up had they won win but instead they're back in the mix now with some nervous times ahead. Everyone knew there would be a reaction from a club as proud as Northampton. Beating them at home was one thing but absolutely hammering them was another and with the history of these double-headers, Leinster had to know they'd come out firing. Even the Leinster team themselves spoke all week about expecting a backlash.
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Match Preview: Leinster Rugby vs Northampton Saints

by Jim O'Connor, 2013-12-13

If this was to be Leinster's last competitive trip to England, and let's hope it's not, they certainly went out in style. Northampton lived up to its reputation as a proper rugby town and the few thousand Leinster fans that were lucky enough to be there last week certainly had a weekend to remember. The Northampton fans were welcoming before the match and extremely gracious in defeat afterwards, especially in the circumstances. Losing at home is one thing but taking a hiding like that is soul-destroying so to see so many of them come over to applaud and congratulate the delirious travelling fans was a mark of the club's true character.
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Match Preview: Northampton Saints vs Leinster Rugby

by Jim O'Connor, 2013-12-06

Well it was nice while it lasted.

England's on-off relationship with the Heineken Cup finally seems to have reached the bitter end with their clubs voting on Thursday to boycott next season's event. They now seem to be trying to set up some sort of replacement tournament with their love-struck lapdogs the Welsh regions, which is equally hilarious and sad at the same time. The Heineken Cup without them will undoubtedly be poorer, even though the knock-out stages will largely be the same as recent years given how most of the English clubs have struggled to qualify from their pools (an average of just two a season for the past five years).
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Match Preview: Leinster Rugby vs Scarlets

by Jim O'Connor, 2013-11-29

What a bloody sickener!!

Some defeats you can brush off, but Ireland's last-second loss to New Zealand last Sunday will stay with all true rugby fans on this island forever.

So close and yet so far, you can only hope that the quality of their performance in pushing the best team in the world to their very limit, will finally convince this Ireland team they can compete with the very best. We've been here before though, great one-off performances followed by a slump back into mediocrity. Coach Joe Schmidt's challenge is to reproduce that kind of intensity combined with accuracy that made the first 40 minutes perhaps the finest half of rugby Ireland have ever played. If he can find a way to do that on a regular basis, then Ireland will be a force to be reckoned with again in the Six Nations.
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