Ireland is to host the 2017 Womens Rugby World Cup, it was announced today. The competition will be held at venues in Dublin and Belfast.
At the time of entering their bid to host the tournament, the IRFU said it intended to host the pool stages at UCD before moving to Belfast for semi-finals and finals at Queen’s University Sport and the newly developed Kingspan Stadium at Ravenhill.
Rugby Union makes its international debut at the revamped lansdowne road, The Aviva Stadium, today when Ireland take on world champions South Africa.
Despite the IRFU this week admitting that they have priced fans out of this year’s autumn internationals, there is a great atmosphere expected as international rugby returns to its Dublin 4 home.
South Africa have several big names missing for today’s clash, but Declan Kidney is taking nothing for granted; “They have changes in their team, but when you look at the rugby population they have, who’s to know if the guys who have come over might not be the ones who end up holding down a place?” warned the Corkman, “Every tour throws up something and I’m sure this one will throw up combinations for South Africa that might make them even stronger.”
Whatever the outcome of the game, the resumption of games in Lansdowne Road is a welcome boost to hotels near the aviva stadium who have seen the centre of gravity of Rugby weekends migrate towards Dublin city centre and northside over the last four years.
The Lions team for Saturday’s game against South Africa in Pretoria has been named with 7 players from Ireland included. Paul O’Connell will captain the team but is only one of 2 Munster players on the team however Ronan O’Gara has been named among the replacements
Team: R Kearney, T Bowe, B O’Driscoll, J Roberts, L Fitzgerald, S Jones, M Phillips, G Jenkins, M Rees, A Jones, S Shaw, P O’Connell, T Croft, D Wallace, J Heaslip.
R Ford, A Sheridan, A-W Jones, M Williams, H Ellis, R O’Gara, S Williams.
Ireland flyhalf and twice Heineken Cup winning number 10, Ronan O’Gara, will captain The Lions against the Emerging Springboks in tomorrow night’s clash at Newlands.
O’Gara will be the fifth different, and fourth Irish, skipper on the tour of South Africa.
Paul O’Connell, Brian O’Driscoll, Phil Vickery and Donncha O’Callaghan all having had the honour so far.
Munster Rugby‘s O’Gara leads a side that contains six players who were involved the first Test against world champions South Africa last Saturday where they lost 26-21.
The side includes props Tim Payne and Munster’s John Hayes, who were only recently summoned to join the tour party.
Tomorrow’s game will be the Lions’ final midweek fixture of their 10-match tour and comes four days before the second Test that they must win to have any chance of claiming the series. That game takes place in the altitude of Pretoria on Saturday at 3pm local time (1pm Irish time)
Following the historic success of Ireland in the 6 nations last weekend, the vision in Munster Rugby circles has switched to dreams of a Treble for so many of the Munster players.
This is not to disrespect in any way whatsoever the achievement of Ireland and the contribution of non-Munster players. In fact it was a source of great pride to see the national team play as one again and dispelling talk of internal cliques.
The reality is, however, that for 11 Munster players who played for Ireland during the 2009 6 nations championship there is an opportunity to complete an unprecedented treble this year.
1. The Grand-Slam has already been done with Ireland
2. They are leading the Magners League
3. They have qualified for the knockout stages of the Heineken Cup and are currently 7-4 favourites to retain it with PaddyPower
Retaining the Heineken Cup will not be easy and they have some difficult games ahead of them but they never had it easy either in 2006 or 2008 when they emerged victorious. Now that the stereotype of the Irish good loser has been blown away for ever, the sky is the limit!
Ireland beat France by 30 points to 21 in Croke Park on the opening day of the Six Nations.
Superb performances from Brian O’Driscoll, Ronan O’Gara and man of the match, Jamie Heaslip, ended a run of 7 losses to France and in the process saw Ireland score 3 tries against French opposition for the first time in 100 years.
In a scene reminiscant of his early career, a try by O’Driscoll was particularly pleasing with the Ireland skipper showing the acceleration and finishing ability that seemed to be on the wane in recent seasons.
Well, a new year is upon us and the 6-nations Rugby season is fast approaching.
Every year I struggle to remember who is playing who ….and when! My lack of attention even meant I got married on the day that Ireland beat England at Twickenham in 2006 to win the Triple Crown, now no self respecting Irish Rugby fan would deliberatley plan that, would he?
Since then I’ve taken note of all the 6 nations fixtures very early so that if I’m planning anything, I’ll be aware of any clashes.
For anyone with a similar disposition, here is the full 2009 fixtures list: Continue reading →