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Club News Week Ending December 10th 2006

5th December 2006 By Munster Rugby

Club News Week Ending December 10th 2006

All the latest news, views and reviews from around the province

All the latest news, views and reviews from around the province

Denis Ryan PRO

The resumption of the AIL saw UL Bohs take on Cork Con in Thomond Park, with the visitors getting home by 11-8 in a game which could have gone either way. The Cork side was assisted by the gale force wind in the first half, and an early try followed by a penalty pushed them into an 8-0 lead. However, UL Bohs were in touch all the time, despite a badly malfunctioning lineout, which saw possession frequently lost. The loss through injury of Brian Madigan and Ryan Hartigan was keenly felt. This was highlighted when a Cons player was carded with the break approaching, as he killed the ball when a try might have otherwise resulted. Instead of taking the scrum, the ball was dispatched to touch, where the subsequent lineout was lost. The visitors felt that 8-0 was insufficient lead in the stormy conditions, but a penalty shortly after the resumption gave them a little more daylight. The home side maintained almost constant pressure thereafter, and were rewarded when Ben Martin kicked a massive penalty from well inside his own half. The Cons discipline held, and UL Bohs did not receive one penalty in the visitors half in this period. A brilliant break by Ben Martin sent Ian Hanley flying in at the left corner, but the conversion attempt failed narrowly. As the game entered its final phase, Tom Luke made a fine break outside the 22, drew the last defender and sent the wingforward dashing for the line. As he dived to touch down, a despairing tackle dislodged the ball, and a defending scrum was awarded. The full time whistle blew. Such is the thin line between victory and defeat. Tommy O’ Donnell made a striking debut and we are sure the 19 year old will continue his impressive progress.
The U-20s travelled to storm-hit Galway, and despite the absence of Tommy O’ Donnell and Gary Walsh, who were on senior duty, accounted for Corinthians by 8-3 to keep up their challenge in the All Ireland League. The 2nds League game against Dolphin and 3rds friendly against Roscrea fell victims to the appalling weather and these will be rescheduled.

Loosehead PRO

Clonakilty 32 Barnhall 14

League leaders Barnhall came to town last weekend in confident mood. They were justifiable favourites. Leading the division and at full strength they were expected to account for a Clon side that would put it up to them but still depleted would not have the strength in depth to prevail. Clon were still short Derek Dillon, Declan Coppinger and Batt Duggan but Paul Dillon and Joe Knowles made a welcome and timely return to the squad. From the kick off there was only one side going to win this game and it wouldn’t be from Kildare.

The game kicked off with Clon having the benefit of a substantial wind and from Gary Cribb’s kick off the chase was excellent and Barnhall were pinned in their 22. A free kick and a penalty in rapid succession allowed the Kildare men some breathing space but a kick ahead was fielded by Colm McCarthy and David Lombard took it on. Paul Dillon was on hand to take the pass and although he was never going to make the line he was able to hold the defence until Dave Cookson arrived to take the pass and the perfect timing made the space and "Cookie" beat the cover to score between the posts. Cribb’s conversion put Clon 7 – 0 up after five minutes. Good work from Cookson and Tadhg Wright two minutes later allowed Cribb to stretch the lead to ten with a penalty.

From the restart a super take from Clon captain, Eoin Scannell and a drive that took two defenders out set Clon on the attack again. Cookson fed Cribb and a great kick found touch 35 metres from the Barnhall line. Mike O’ Hea stole the throw and Cookson broke. The pack were in support and the ball recycled quickly. A certain try went a begging when the final pass from Dillon bounced off the chest of the flying McCarthy who had come into the line on the wing. It wasn’t long in coming however as from the resultant scrum Cookson, who was having a major influence on proceedings, forced a turnover with a big hit. Alfie Harte kept it alive with a well directed back pass between his legs and Lombard got the ball out to John O’ Donnell who took it to within a couple of metres of the line and when held stretched to ground for a wonderful try in the corner. Clon were now 15 – 0 up after 10 minutes and this was not according to anybody’s script.

Barnhall ran any possession they had. Even allowing for playing into the wind there were times when possession was a liability given the home pressure and kicking would have been a better option. Reversal of roles saw Mike O’Hea on the ground and Tadhg Wright in the air winning possession for Clon, Eddie Knowles cleaning the deflections and Cookson clearing any danger. John O’Donnell was yellow carded but Barnhall failed to capitalise during his absence. The wind factor had most supporters figuring that Clon would need a lead of at least 20 points to face the second half. They were close to this figure as Cribb landed another penalty, following great play from Knowles, as he ripped the ball from the Barnhall maul, to leave the half time score 18-0.

The second half saw Cribb make a mockery of the wind kicking into it with confidence to take pressure off the West Cork side and returning Clon to the attack. Paul Dillon scored Clon’s third try after eight minutes of the second half with superb pace. Keohane took a ball from the base of the scrum and as he had done throughout the game broke the gain line before feeding Cribb. Dillon and Lombard combined well to send Shay O’Donovan sprinting up the touchline. A burst from Cookson was supported by Cribb and he found Dan Spencer who fed Dillon and the centre celebrated his return from injury with a spectacular try which Cribb converted to put Clon out to 25 – 0.

It was not as one sided as the scoring might suggest and Barnhall did have periods of possession and built on phases but the organisation of the magnificent Clon defence smothered any chance of a score for the visitors. A great tackle from Lombard in the Barnhall 22 forced a knock on and from the scrum Wright broke and Harte took it close but it was Scannell who finished earning a bonus point for his club in the process. Cribb again converted to put the game out of sight at 32 – 0.

In the last fifteen minutes the weather deteriorated considerably and this observer made his way towards the sanctuary of the bar and its welcoming fire with five minutes to go and the game well and truly in the bag. In that time Clon emptied the bench and Barnhall seized the late opportunity to take advantage of Clon’s traditional hospitality and the inevitable break in concentration and ran in two trys, albeit consolations, one four minutes from the end and the second in injury time. At this level the concentration needs to be for 85 minutes and next up Carlow will test Clon in this regard.

The Squad was: Colm McCarthy, Shay O’Donovan, Paul Dillon, David Lombard, John O’Donnell, Gary Cribb, David Cookson, Eddie Knowles, Alfie Harte, Dan Spencer, Danny Whelton, Mike O’Hea, Eoin Scannell (C), Tadhg Wright, Mike Keohane, Joe Knowles, Hugh O’Neill, Gearoid Ryan, Colin Murphy and Noel O’Sullivan.

This Saturday they move on to Co. Carlow to take on a side smarting from defeat after defeat. They will never be more dangerous! Co. Carlow is arguably the most impressive club in the country as regards progress over the last fifteen years. They entered Division One of the All Ireland League the same season that Clon went into Division three, 2001 – 2002. They did so on the back of winning five Towns Cups in six seasons, winning the old division four in their first senior campaign and progressing to division one in three seasons. They also won the Leinster Senior Cup in 03-04 and were strong enough to beat Wanderers 86 – 0 the following season in defence of that title. They held their own in division one for four seasons until the fifth season when things went wrong. They had recruited heavily on winning promotion to division one and the expense of contracting players took its toll. In 2004 a financial crisis nearly split the club but they took remedial action. Results since then would indicate that they lost players and are rebuilding. The last AIL game that they won was against Trinity on 9th April 05 and since then have lost their last 21 AIL games over three seasons. They lost their final game in 04/05, all 15 games in 05/06, resulting in relegation to Division two and now this season their first five in that division.

Such a run has got to stop sometime and they will have targeted newcomers Clonakilty for that. Carlow are not a bad side. The Clon faithful may remember that awful season when the firsts lost all bar one game and were relegated from division one of the Munster Junior League to Division Two. Clon were not a bad side that season as they proved the following year by winning the league but they had just got in to a habit of losing games narrowly and unluckily. Close examination of those 21 games lost by Carlow would bear out the comparison as there were many, many tight losses. They will turn things around and Clon will have to do a Barnhall job on Saturday to win. They will need control from the kick off, total concentration and discipline against a side that has conceded more penalty goals (18) than any other in the division so far. Carlow are due a win and with a new coach will be keen to do a number on the new kids on the block.

Noel O’ Sullivan was given a fond send off on Saturday before he jetted to Antipodea on Monday. The league’s top try scorer will be a huge loss as he follows Lenny Harte to the other side of the planet. A great number of Clon’s youth have made the trip and it’s hard to know what the attraction is down there – it’s full of Spences and Gazzas for Gods sake! Help is at hand however as Murph senior and his trusty compadre Vince Nolan have taken it upon themselves to see what it’s all about. Their missionary zeal will insure that Sully and Lenny will not have to assume any missionary positions themselves. Bon Voyage y’all and hurry back!

The Under 16s v Dunmanway was the only under age fixture last weekend to go ahead. The Clon Boys won this comprehensively in Dunmanway.

This weekend’s Fixtures:

Saturday 9th December 2006
Senior- AIL- Carlow v Clonakilty, 2.30pm
U20’s- League- Clonakilty v Bandon, The Vale, 2.30pm
U18’s- League- Clonakilty v Cobh Pirates, The Vale, 12.30pm
U16’s- League- Clonakilty v Old Christians, The Vale, 11.15am

Sunday 10th December 2006
Ladies- AIL- Clonakilty v Boyne- The Vale, 2.30pm

The time of the Carlow kick off may be changed to 2.00pm. It will not affect the players as they will be in Carlow from Friday night but supporters planning to travel on Saturday should check locally on Friday.

Loose Head

Dermot Keyes PRO

Division Three: Carrick 6 Waterford City 7

Déjà vu time. As it was when we travelled to our neighbouring Division Three club last season, we were left kicking ourselves when the full-time whistle blew on Sunday afternoon.

The second of three league defeats in which we’ve picked up a losing bonus point are likely to have our ‘what if’ brigade out in force come the end of the season. Put it this way- victories over Galbally and City would have left us facing into next Sunday’s trip to Fermoy firmly in the thick of the promotion hunt. As things stand, we’re now left chasing a top three finish at best while hoping that the teams around us will busily pick points off each other.

In other words, the best case scenario for our season has been taken out of our control and left for others to decide. This was not what we were looking for when we regrouped in early autumn. But the portents for this sort of a situation unfolding cannot be too surprising. And in this respect alone, the players must bear the ultimate responsibility. Last Friday night, less than half a starting First team turned up for training. There was roughly the same number of Seconds players present. That’s not good enough – not by any stretch of the imagination.

At 12.30pm on Sunday, the City squad arrived on time and quickly got their warm-up underway. The same couldn’t be said for our squad. Disappointing? Yes. Surprising, given our past history of poor punctuality? Unfortunately, no. Now why this keeps happening is more than a little disconcerting and more than a tad disappointing. Surely from both a committee member and player’s perspective, we deserve better than this.

The most aggravating feature of Sunday’s match is that, despite not helping ourselves, this was a game we ought to have won. Two penalty misses from relatively kickable positions would have made Waterford’s second half task a hell of a lot more difficult. And when chances like that come any team’s way, they’ve got to be taken. Of course, there were a lot more reasons for this defeat than simply a couple of missed penalties and one would never single out an individual player (except in unprecedented circumstances) for defeat blaming criticism. When a team loses, that is just it – the team, not one person, not three, not six – loses.

Collectively, the attitude of the playing ranks of this club is not where it ought to be. We’ve got to demonstrate our commitment and pride for the club in ways that none of us should have to have spelled out to us by now. Each one of us needs to pull our socks up. Next Sunday, our First XV travel to Fermoy while our Seconds face Waterpark in Tybroughney. Commitment and leadership is demanded of each and every player so let’s live up to our province’s motto. The time has come to stand up and fight.

Carrick starting XV: S O’Keeffe, B Dignam, K Lanigan; R Murphy, P Downey; J Wallace, J Steele; A O’Sullivan, A Murray (c), J Heffernan; B Phelan, L Phelan; A Hunter, J Walsh, J Phelan.

Linda Kennedy PRO

Under 14 South Munster League
Sundays Well 17 Ballincollig RFC 17

The Road show hit Cois Laoi for the away encounter against the ‘Well. Ballincollig were off to a flying start when they crossed over for a try in the early minutes. That’s about as good as it got for visitors for the remainder of the first half, the Well took every ball forward grinding there way inch by inch towards Ballincolligs’s line. The first half ended with the score 12-5 to Sunday’s Well. With coaches bringing on a few fresh faces, changing the visitor’s tactics and they then took to the field. The change in strategy paid off, they kept Sunday’s Well pinned back in there own 22 in the hope of causing a turnover. But the opposite happened and Ballincollig conceded again. Their backs were really to the wall now! But keeping their composure, putting the ball through the hands and they were rewarded with a converted try. It was backs and forwards working together, good combinations, and some very hard yards earned and some excellent defence by Sunday’s Well, that drove the game down to the wire. Grunting and grinding we managed to squeeze over for a last gasp try, which wasn’t converted. An excellent game, well done to both squads.

Next game against Dunmanway 9th December Tanner Park kick off 11.00 o’clock
All support welcomed

Under 16’s South Munster League
Mallow 8 Ballincollig RFC 19

Another great win for Ballincollig on the road for a second week in a row. The game started badly for Ballincollig with Mallow scoring a try in the first few minutes of the game. Ballincollig made head way after this but still couldn’t manage a score. Mallow got a penalty in front of the post late in the second half to make the score at half time 8 nil. Coach Aidan Fitton gave the lads a bit of a talking to at half time. Whatever he said work wonders as Ballincollig looked a different team in the second half. John Barry got over for there first try early in the second half after a great rucking and mauling by the forwards. Shaun Horgan put over a great conversion from far out. Ballincollig scored again with James Cronin and the try was converted by Shaun Horgan. For the next ten minutes Mallow got back into the game but Ballincollig soak up the pressure well. Ballincollig got back into the Mallow half and Gavin O’Gorman got over the line after a great rolling maul by the Ballincollig forwards. It was a great effort by Ballincollig in the second half. Next game against Dunmanway 9th December Tanner Park kick off 11.00 o’clock. All Support welcomed.

Tries: John Barry, James Cronin, Gavin O’Gorman.
Conv. Shaun Horgan 2,
Subs. Ryan Keating for Paul Baston and Barry McDonagh for Cian O’Callahgan

Patrick McLoughney, 2. James Cronin, 3. Gavin O’Gorman, 4. Stephen Collins, 5. John Barry, 6. Ben Coveney, 7. Cian O’Callaghan, 8. Jeremiah Cronin, 9. Josh Tannian, 10. Stephen McDonagh, 11.Paul Baston, 12. Daniel McSwiney, 13. Cillian Burke, 14. Cain Dennehy., 15. Shaun Horgan, 16. Barry McDonagh, 17.James O’Connell, 18. Ryan Keating, 19. Tim Coveney

Representative News
The best of luck to James Cronin, Luke Horgan and Conor Owens who represent Ballincollig RFC for South Munster Youths against East Munster in Fermoy RFC at 7 o’clock on Wednesday 6th December.

Club News,
Ladies play Shannon RFC on Sunday the 10th, at 2.30 at home in AIL Division one clash.

PRO Patrick Rickard

A real mixed bag of results this week!

The 1st XV continued their AIL journey last weekend with a trip to Cork to play UCC. The teams had met earlier in the season in the ODM Munster Senior Cup and on that occasion we were victorious by the narrowest of margins. Given our reasonable start to the league campaign it was in quiet confidence that we travelled to Cork. It appeared that our confidence was justified when we held a seven point lead as the match came to a close but a UCC try in the corner followed by a conversion from the touchline resulted in us being restricted to 2 points rather than 4 on a scoreline of 16 points all. Results elsewhere went in our favour and we are still in touch with the leaders and this weekend we host Bective Rangers on Saturday at 2.30pm.

Our 2nd XV were also in action last weekend hosting Highfield in the Munster Senior Seconds League on Sunday. Conditions were extremely difficult for both sides but to their credit both teams attempted to play open rugby despite the conditions. The visitors appeared to cope better on the day and ran out comfortable winners by 39 points to 10. This weekend they travel to Towns Park in Midleton on Sunday to take on the home side in the league with a 2.30pm kick off.

On the under age front there were two sides in league action last weekend, with contrasting results. The under 13’s made the short journey to Derryknockane on Sunday to play Young Munster and in conditions best suited to windsurfing were beaten by 24 points to nil. The under 14s hosted Garryowen on Sunday morning. It was a weakened side that took the field and when the visitors decided to play with the elements in the first half the fear was that this game would be over at the interval. However our side played with great determination and went in to the interval only seven points behind. In the second half we completely controlled the game and scored 5 unanswered tries, the highlight of which were two mazy runs from winger Michael MacElligott. At the final whistle the score was Old Crescent 32 Garryowen 14.

This weekend fixtures for underage will be dependant on weather conditions but training will take place on Sunday morning as usual at 9.45am.

PRO Christopher Barry

Maybe it was the silly season or indeed the cold and blustery conditions that reduced the attendance at our AIL game v Belfast Harlequins last Saturday. Forced to take the field with a number of alterations to the original team, our 14-0 half time cushion proved enough to withstand a resurgent Belfast team throughout a fiercely contested second period. The visitor’s coach Andy Ward, while disappointed with the 17-0 result, will have left Dooradoyle in the belief that his team can climb out of the nether regions of the AIL. With a little bit of luck they might have snatched a bonus point to ease their long journey back up North. The key score came in the 40 minute when following a series of drives on their line, Gerry Hurley switched the play blind-side and wing Kevin O’ Riordan showed admirable guts and no little skill in squeezing in at the corner. Conor Kilroy landed the difficult conversion from the touchline. His task was a little easier when applying the extra points to our opening try. Our pack got up a head of steam and the barnstorming Damien Varley was the last man up when the "high fives" greeted Alain Rolland’s confirmation of the score near the posts. We had to grit our teeth and face the elements in the second half and sure enough the Belfast boys came back at us. Carrying the ball against the wind will always prove fruitful and we seemed to control the game in the opening minutes. However the visitors didn’t want to go quietly and there were quite a few anxious moments when they managed to mix the play up a bit. The defensive covering of our back line and the strength and guile of John O’ Sullivan proved decisive when the heat was turned up. Liam Og Casey gave way to John Staunton in the 60th minute and a couple of his hits at scrum time put the skids on a sometimes threatening visiting front row. Having soaked up a lot of pressure our pack again drove deep into the Belfast half and inevitably the resultant pressure drew the penalty which Conor Kilroy expertly controlled into the wind. 17-0 and time to go? Well not quite and there were many worried faces in the crowd before the final whistle sounded to edge us narrowly ahead at the top of the table. Weather permitting; we can expect more of the same next Saturday when we host the always formidable Lansdowne team. The boys from HQ have proved very sticky in the past and our players will be under no illusions of the task that lies ahead when the game kicks off at 2.30. Each AIL game seems to be going the distance and concentration for the full eighty minutes is vital. This is our last AIL game before the Christmas recess. The pre-match lunch 12.30 promises to welcome the festive season and John Noonan can be contacted to book the first of many turkey and ham dinners. Ouch! Those not attending the lunch can run the eye over our U20’s who play Cork Con in the AIL at 1.00 on the top pitch. They will be hoping to up their performance from last week when they were surprisingly beaten 10-8 by Thomond in a home friendly. The seconds and thirds game were cancelled so the focus for the rest of the weekend was on the under age exploits of the U13’s and U14’s. The 13’s maintained their excellent NML run when beating Thomond 24-5 in Fitzgerald Park. Playing into a gale force wind in the first half, they managed to hold the home team to 5-0 at the break. Our boys took advantage of the conditions in the second half to score four tries and two conversions. Michael Horgan (2), Patrick Furnell, and Jamie Fitzgibbon were the try scorers. Andrew O’Byrne and Eoin Sheedy each converted a try. All 22 squad members contributed to this win and hats off (could you have kept one on?) to both teams for providing such an entertaining contest in very difficult conditions. Given the windy conditions, the U14 ‘s also played a game of two halves when going down to Old Crescent. The light blues led 14 – 7 at half time with tries from Ben Drew and Ian Mooney, both converted by out-half Rory Collins. In the second-half, the wind and a very well drilled Old Crescent pack took its toll and Crescent eventually pulled away to win 29-14. Prior to the match the team conducted a minute’s silence in honour of their coach Tony O’ Rourke’s father, Mossie, who sadly passed away on Saturday night.


Ger Hodkinson PRO

Ballymena v Dolphin
Eaton Park
Sat 9th December 2006
Referee: Dudley Phillips (Leinster)

Games Played: 197 – 14th overall
Games Won: 104- 6th overall
Games Lost: 86- 22nd overall
Games Drawn: 7- 23rd overall
Tries For: 435- 4th overall
Tries against: 364
Consecutive Wins: outside top 20
Consecutive Losses: Outside top 25
Points for: 4062- 5th overall
Points against: 3557- 11th overall
Highest place finish- 3rd

Games Played: 202- 9th overall
Games Won: 96- 16th overall
Games Lost: 96- 9th overall
Games Drawn: 10- 7th overall
Tries For: 377- 17th overall
Tries against: 402- 4th overall
Consecutive Wins: Outside top 20
Consecutive Losses: Outside top 30
Points for: 3831- 9th overall
Points against: 3702- 6th overall
Highest place finish- 12th

Last 5 AIB League games: LWLLL
Last 5 HOME AIB League games: WLLWW

Record Against Munster Clubs: P65 W25 D3 L37 L37
Record at Home to Munster Clubs: P34 W15 D1 L18 L18

Last 5 AIB League games: LWLWW
Last 5 AWAY AIB League games: WLWLW

Record Against Ulster Clubs: P51 W24 D2 L25
Record Away to Ulster Clubs: P27 W11 D1 L15

Eaton Park 1997/98: Ballymena 45 Dolphin 16
(Cian O’ Mahony try, Conor O’ Mahony 3p 1c) Musgrave Park
1993/94: Dolphin 16 Ballymena 29
(R Abbot, T Keogh tries, M Kiernan 2p)
1994/95: Dolphin 3 Ballymena 27
(B O’Neill pen)
2003/04: Dolphin 24 Ballymena 24
(C Twomey 2 tries, S Madigan try, J O’Mahony dg 3c)

Most capped player: Bill McBride 63 caps
Ireland Club International 2005/06: Simon Shaw
Present Internationals: Isaac Boss, Matt McCullough, Andrew Trimble, Bryan Young, Paddy Wallace, Paul Shields.
Other Contracted Players: Andrew Maxwell, Scott Young Tom Court, Chris Henry (Dev), Neil McMillan
Academy Players: Stephen Douglas, David Drake
Top Points & Try scorers AIB League 2005/06: 98 Paddy Wallace, 6 S Young
Have lost their last five home games to Munster Clubs.
Have gathered more bonus points in defeat (3) than any other club in AIBL – 1 so far this season.

The following Ballymena players will be on duty for Ulster on Saturday for the Heineken Cup fixture with London Irish.
Andrew Trimble, Paddy Wallace, Isaac Boss, Bryan Young, Matt McCullough, Paul Shields and Neil McMillan.

John O’ Mahony made his League debut for Dolphin v Ballymena on 27/11/97.
This was Dolphin’s first AIB Division 1 fixture.
John Forde was the only other man making his club debut that day.
Have won on five of their last six AIBL visits to Ulster.
George Finn made his 50th league appearance v Belfast Harlequins – the 18th player to do so.
Captain, Rory McGrath made his 70th appearance last week against Clontarf.
Dolphin play in Ulster for the 3rd time in five weeks- not even the Ulster clubs can match that.
In fact Belfast Harlequins and Dungannon have only played three games in Ulster since the opening day nine weeks ago.
Henry O’ Flynn who came on as a sub for the injured James Coughlan became the 168th player have used in 16 seasons in the AIB League.
Barry Keeshan hit the half- century of penalty kicks for Dolphin against Clontarf, he is only one behind Conor O’ Mahony who was one of the Clontarf coaches at Musgrave Park on Saturday.
The shoulder injury suffered by James Coughlan may not be as bad as was first feared, he hopes to be fit again before Christmas.

No. of Matches: 5
Top Try Scorers Tries Top Point Scorers Points
George Finn 2 Barry Keeshan 42
Tomás O’Leary 2
Eric Moloney 1
Ed Mills 1
James Coughlan 1
Peter Owens 1

Total 8 . 42
Ave. per Match 1.60 . 8.4

Dolphin Team News There are a number of enforced changes, James Coughlan, Eric Moloney and David Kingston are all injured. In come John O’Mahony and Kevin Lynch and up front former captain Dave Pomeroy makes his first league start of the season. Gary Conway
Ed Mills
Peter Owens
John O’Mahony
Kevin Lynch
Barry Keeshan
Gary O’Keeffe
Fergus Gately
Kieran Murray
John O’ Sullivan
Rory McGrath (Capt)
Dave Harty
Donnchadha Murphy
George Finn
Dave Pomeroy
Shane Heffernan, Richie McKinnie, Alan Daly, Jack Purcell, Dave O’Connell

New Scrum Law Approved By IRB

The IRB have approved the new "crouch, touch, pause, engage" scrum law. The IRFU will be running Coaching and Refereeing sessions this month to communicate the new law. The International Rugby Board Council has approved a change to the law that governs the scrum. This follows a review of the scrum by the IRB Rugby Committee and its Law Project Group following recommendations made by the IRB’s Medical Committee. The law change will see the implementation of a four stage "crouch, touch, pause, engage" sequence for the initial scrum engagement at all levels of the game from January 1, 2007.

AIB League Champions to Play in Languedoc Tournament
…The AIB League Trophy isn’t the only prize on offer for the playoff champions this season…
The AIB League returns to full action this weekend and there is an added incentive for the clubs in Division One with the announcement that the AIB League Playoff Champions for this season will be entered as the Ireland representative in the Languedoc-Roussillon amateur rugby tournament.
The tournament, the brain-child of the local region is being organised to celebrate France’s hosting of the Rugby World Cup. It will take place in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in France from September 3rd – 15th during next years Rugby World Cup and will consist of six competing teams. These will include amateur representative club sides from the Languedoc-Roussillon region itself, Ireland, Tucuman (Argentina), Romania, Catalonia (Spain) and Cambridge University.
The club side that wins the AIB League Playoff final next May will automatically go forward to represent Ireland with a squad selected from their club. The team will be wearing AIB jerseys which will feature their own club crest in an agreed position and all travel and participation costs for the tournament will be covered by the IRFU and AIB.The Languedoc-Roussillon region is one of the heartlands of French rugby and is home to some of the great clubs of both the past and present such as Toulouse, Montpellier, Beziers and Narbonne. The tournament will have four days of competition on the 4th, 7th 11th and 14th of September, with the final day of games taking place in Montpellier*.


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