Don’t mention the war? It would be nice not to have to but Ireland’s Six Nations opener takes place in the engorging shadow of last autumn’s ill-starred Asian campaign. Yes, we won’t be forgetting the debacle in Vietnam – sorry, I mean Japan – any time soon. The horror, the horror remains fresh in the memory.
Head coach Dave Rennie will almost certainly leave Glasgow Warriors at the end of this season, most likely to take charge of Australia, although he has also been linked with the New Zealand and Italy jobs. His legacy in Scotland will depend almost entirely on how his team fares in this European Champions Cup campaign, which kicks-off when Sale Sharks visit Scotstoun tomorrow afternoon.
Head coach Dave Rennie will almost certainly leave Glasgow Warriors at the end of this season, most likely to take charge of Australia, although he has also been linked with the New Zealand and Italy jobs. His legacy in Scotland will depend almost entirely on how his team fairs in this European Champions Cup campaign, which kicks-off when Sale Sharks visit Scotstoun Saturday afternoon.
TOKYO — It has been decidedly low-key this week in and around the Scotland team base in the opulent Grand Prince Hotel Takanawa in the Shinagawa area of Tokyo. Not in a bad way. It just feels like after nearly three months of training camps and ever-increasing hype, there is nothing left to say or do — it is now time to get into the action. And while they might not be shouting it from the rooftops, there is definitely a deep-rooted sense of belief within the group that tomorrow’s World Cup opener against Ireland is a match they can win.
O’Brien missed what should have been his final game for his home province due to a hip injury but captain Sexton asked the Tullow Tank, who will depart Leinster for London Irish after the World Cup, to take the captain’s role and lift the trophy after a hard-fought victory in Glasgow.
Leo Cullen vented his anger last week at what he perceived as suggestions in some media outlets that Jonathan Sexton had been ‘dropped’ for the semi-final win over Munster. He need not have bothered as Sexton’s selection for today’s decider was always going to refute such spin.
As British parliamentarians are proving with almost daily inefficiency, leaving Europe can be complicated but as far as Stuart Hogg is concerned, the swift and summary elimination of Glasgow Warriors earlier this season has been the best thing that could have happened to his club.
Felipe Contepomi has stressed the need for Leinster to strike the perfect balance between free-flowing and high-pressure rugby as they attempt to negotiate Glasgow Warriors’ self-styled defensive “brutality” in Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 final.
Losing may not be a habit for this Ireland team, and certainly not as far as James Ryan is concerned, but pinpointing the reasons for defeat and moving quickly to improve is as much a key to success as knowing how to string together victory after victory.
You don’t have to be an incurable optimist to support Scotland but it helps. Year upon year of sky-high hopes being dashed when reality hit home could make even the most fervent fan start to wonder if that gleam they see in the distance is the light at the end of the tunnel or just another train coming to crush their dreams.
It may have escaped many people’s notice that, as word emerged yesterday of Jamie Heaslip’s decision to retire from the game he had graced at the highest level for a decade, the Scarlets were announcing the end of another rugby career.