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Super Rugby Power Rankings - Week 8

Super Rugby Power Rankings – Week 8

The Hurricanes bite late against the Sharks, the Chiefs tip the scales against the Blues, the Lions run rampant at home, the Crusaders get the job done in Argentina, and the Brumbies show some ticker to beat the Reds....
Chiefs vs Blues

Super Rugby – Game of the Week: Chiefs vs Blues

Another Kiwi derby fixture highlights this weeks match of the round. The Battle of the Bombays brings together two sides with contrasting records. The Chiefs have made a habit of getting positive results in unspectacular fashion, a real plus considering...
PRO14 Match of the Season at Park y Scarlets

PRO14 Match of the Season

How much it matters Scarlets vs Glasgow Warriors, defending champions against title favourites. It really doesn't get much bigger than this. The Warriors can confirm a home Semi Final with a win and how nice would it be to have...

Southern Hemisphere rugby digest. Week 7.

Welcome to my weekly Southern Hemisphere digest. This week’ action had a bit of everything. Things you expect from Super Rugby, like brilliant back play, a dominant Fijian wing, four tries from yet another potential All Black superstar and a...
Super Rugby Power Rankings

Super Rugby Power Rankings – Week 7

The Hurricanes made a statement, the Chiefs ground out another win, the Bulls put the Stormers away at home and the Crusaders crawled their way over the line in Jo-Burg. These are the latest Super Rugby power rankings: Hurricanes 42...
John Davidson / www.photosport.nz

Super Rugby – Game of the Week: Lions vs Crusaders

The 2017 finalists square off at Ellis Park with a similar record so far in 2018. The Lions flew out of the blocks with three emphatic wins to start the season but have been pegged back after losing to the...

Southern Hemisphere rugby digest. Week 6.

Welcome to my weekly Southern Hemisphere rugby digest. It’s intended to be a one-stop shop, with: Links to the big stories in the mainstream media, plus human interest stories that are easy to miss but say something about what rugby is...

Should Leinster fear a Grand Slam hangover?

With Saracens coming to town, do Leinster need to worry about the lingering effects of Ireland's Grand Slam victory? The Six Nations window is a tricky one for all Champions Cup teams. Losing players to the national team requires coaches...
Hurricanes vs Highlanders

Super Rugby – Game of the Week: Hurricanes vs Highlanders

Mouth-watering matchups all over the park will complement this tantalising derby match between the Hurricanes and Highlanders. Jordie Barrett vs Ben Smith, Beauden Barrett vs Lima Sopoaga, TJ Perenara vs Aaron Smith – it rarely gets much better than...

A Change of Scenery: Taking the Plunge and Reaping the Reward

In the last few weeks, Robin Copeland has announced he will be joining Connacht from Munster. In recent months Jordi Murphy has bravely and cleverly left the comfort of the Leinster pack for a struggling Ulster side. By doing...
Naholo could be the key in the Highlanders vs Crusaders match.

Super Rugby – Game of the week: Highlanders vs Crusaders

Walking wounded The Crusaders were left battered and bruised on Saturday against a rousing Hurricanes outfit. It was an examination that would leave most coaches grasping for their team handbook, fortunately for Scott Robertson, the Crusaders are a team renowned...

Super Rugby – Game of the week: Hurricanes vs Crusaders

A blockbusting instalment of this great rivalry will resume on Saturday night as New Zealand’s most recent champions square off in a vital round four match at the Cake Tin. The Crusaders haven’t won in Wellington since 2012 so they...
Pro14 Shakeup

A Guinness Pro14 Shakeup is Badly Needed

At a Pro14 match, I did something I’ve never done before and left the match at halftime. As a one off I could have endured it, but this is the umpteenth non-contest on a cold Friday night. Of course, the...
James Lowe in his days with the Māori All Blacks

The Lowe Conundrum

James Lowe turned in a Man of the Match performance against the Pro14 champion Scarlets last weekend. Yet he may not feature in the playoff games for Leinster. Why? You might not be aware, but only two non-EU players are...
This supporter will know the depth in Leinster's backrow

Leinster’s backrow going from strength to strength

Leinster’s backrow depth is the envy of Europe; a theme so often trotted out it has become a cliché. However, there is more truth than ever to the sentiment. Leinster traditionally use their big guns for the Champions Cup and...
Exeter v Montpellier

Rugby IQ Series: Part 4 (Exeter v Montpellier 13/01/18)

Previous articles in the Rugby IQ series can be found here, here and here. Part 4 of the series will focus on the Champions Cup game between Exeter and Montpellier at Sandy Park. Match highlights can be found here. It is...

Can Chris Boyd create an English version of the Hurricanes?

Hurricanes Director of Rugby Chris Boyd has been appointed to replace interim boss Alan Gaffney at Northampton Saints for the 2018/19 season. After the sacking of Jim Mallinder, I wrote two articles outlining the turmoil at the Saints, and how...

England’s Clubs in Europe: What Went Wrong?

With just three English clubs remaining in European competition, many are questioning what happened. Saracens are the only English club in the European Champions Cup. Newcastle and Gloucester round out the English party in the Challenge Cup. With six clubs in...

The Decline of the French Powerhouses

A quick look at the Top14 table will tell you one very important thing. It tells you that several of the Top14's big boys are outside the top 4. Toulon, Clermont, and Stade Francais are just a few of the...

The Effect of Mass Imports on Talent Development

In this article we will look at the scale of foreign imports in rugby. We will also find out if there are lessons to be learned from the scale and nature of imports found in football. English football - too...

Marcus Smith – Wonderkid

Marcus Smith is one of the biggest stories of the season so far. He just signed a new contract with Harlequins until 2022. The reported £230,000 a year wages make him, according to the Independent, the highest paid teenage rugby...
Could Faf de Klerk be South Africa's superman?

The Faf de Klerk Dilemma

South Africa is a proud rugby nation, one that has often been a breeding ground for top rugby players. Known for big, powerful forwards and lightning quick backs, they have always been an entertaining side to watch. But there have...

Northampton Saints Update

This article is a follow up from my piece on Northampton Saints, written after the sacking of Jim Mallinder. For those who haven't yet read it, the link is here. Who is new boss Alan Gaffney? Alan Gaffney has been appointed to...
Karmichael Hunt

Karmichael Hunt: An All-Round Disappointment

While the rugby world remains fixated on the, admittedly superior, European domestic leagues, the Australian Rugby circus has kicked up again, with Karmichael Hunt's arrest over drug possession. Karmichael Hunt has been charged with drug possession again, after previously being...
The USA Rugby team from 1991. The question of when, not if, has been around a long time.

Can USA Rugby be a global powerhouse in the years to come?

It is a frequently discussed subject in the international rugby community. The question always seems to be when, not if, the sleeping giant will finally awaken. But having personally experienced the rugby scene in the land of the free, I...
La Rochelle flag

Why La Rochelle Works

In any sport, the key to being the best team is to have a perfect balance, which is why La Rochelle works. Examine history, teams with an excellent attack, but a poor defence rarely get anywhere, and vice versa. 2015 All...

Guinness Pro14 – the League Everyone Loves to Hate

Dismissed by coaches, disowned by fans, slated by pundits and sneered at by outsiders. The Guinness Pro14 is a professional league containing some of the most historic clubs and exciting players in Europe but seems to attract little more...

How to Fix Northampton

What's going on at the Saints? Jim Mallinder took over in 2007 when Northampton were in the Championship. They were promoted in his first season. Over the course of his decade-long tenure, Northampton had the third highest winning percentage in...
MLR. Is this the one?

Major League Rugby. Potential success story of 2018?

Major League Rugby (MLR) could become one of the rugby success stories of 2018. The new professional competition in the United States is set to kick off in April. The season is ten weeks in length plus finals and features...

Rugby IQ Series: Part 3 (Leicester v Worcester 25/11/17)

Part 1 of the Rugby IQ Series looked at the different ways England and Australia slowed down the drift defence and preserved space on the outside. The article can be found here. Part 2 showed how Exeter and Harlequins took...

Fairness of Super Rugby

How much fairer is the new Super Rugby Competition? First of all, this difficult article took a lot of thought to write, so I would be keen to answer any questions in the comments section to help people understand my...
French Rugby head coach Guy Noves in happier days in the Top 14? Photo: Pierre-Selim, via Wikimedia Commons

French Rugby vs Top 14. Startling numbers to support current state

So I’ve had some time on my hands and thought I’d explore the title of this article a little further. Admittedly the only source I have used is Wikipedia and yes, I know it’s like going to McDonalds for...

A scary tackle safety study, and what is Activate?

We all know you are asking for trouble by putting your head in the wrong place when making a tackle. But are you aware just how dangerous it can be? A Japanese study published in the November 2017 issue of the...

Rugby IQ Series: Part 2 (Exeter vs Harlequins 19/11/2017)

Part 2 of the Rugby IQ series will look at 4 tries from the Exeter vs Harlequins game on 19th November 2017. The game can be found here. If you haven’t seen Part 1 of the Rugby IQ series, you...

Tactics: Variations of the pod

What is a pod? A pod is a group of players who will attack the same space together. When it is used correctly, defenders don't know which attacker will get the ball. Support is available for offloads and to resource...
Kingsholm, the home of Gloucester. cisko66, via Wikimedia Commons

A Gloucester Revival?

Formed in 1873, Gloucester is one of the most prestigious rugby clubs in the world. They have finished top of the English Premiership table three times, losing in the playoffs on each occasion. Gloucester did win the playoffs in 2002....

Using Super Rugby home advantages to reflect the state of franchises

Warren Gatland, in his latest book In the Line of Fire, talks about Forsyth Barr Stadium. He says, “It’s the hardest pitch in New Zealand by a long way. Opposition players often struggle and cramp up, because they’re not used...

Women’s Rugby Since World Cup 2017

What has been going on in Women's rugby since the World Cup? Let's take a look: Tyrrells Premier 15s The Tyrrells Premier 15s is the new top level domestic competition in England with Harlequins and Saracens battling it out at the...
Saracens win the title back in 2011. Could they be joined at the top table in England?

Why more means less for the English Premiership

I think the English Premiership should be expanded to 16 teams. I think player welfare demands having fewer games with a longer offseason. And I think there is a way we can have both. Switch to a conference system, and...
MLR. Is this the one?

Why the new professional rugby attempt in the US will be the one

In 2016, the United States finally had its first taste of professional domestic rugby in the Pro Rugby competition. This was the first World Rugby sanctioned league in the US. It was also highly touted as the solution to the...

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