New Zealand and South Africa have won five of the eight Rugby World Cup titles between them. Ahead of the semi-finals — and a potential NZ v SA final —sat down with Munster duo, Kiwi Alby Mathewson and Springbok Arno Botha, to talk World Cups, Test dreams, beer and chocolate.
The target on Leinster’s back has just got bigger. That’s the way it has always been for champions. First up, it’s Munster gunning for a win over the newly crowned European champions that would propel them into a third Guinness Pro 12/14 final in four seasons.
Conor Murray’s reputation as the leading scrum-half in the Northern Hemisphere, if not the world, will mean the Munster star can expect a lot of attention from Racing 92’s forwards in Bordeaux tomorrow but Johann van Graan says his number nine will not be fazed.
While Ulster’s players and management insist that the focus is entirely on Saturday’s lunchtime clash with Pool 1 leaders La Rochelle, it’s become clearer who will be replacing Christian Leali’ifano when the Wallaby’s short-term contract ends this month.
Ireland and Lions winger Tommy Bowe faces up to eight weeks out of the game after suffering a shoulder injury when he came on as a replacement in Ulster’s thumping 38-7 defeat by Leinster at the RDS on Saturday evening.
In all those years of success following that incredible 2007 World Cup win over Pakistan, there was a sense that the Irish sporting public couldn’t quite get their head around the fact they had a cricket team that was taking on and beating the best teams in the world.
Warren Gatland has put Conor Murray on notice that he will need to play before the end of the season if he wants to take his seat on the British & Irish Lions plane leaving for New Zealand in less than five weeks.
Happy to serve. The uncertain boundaries marking Stuart Lancaster’s new job description with Leinster were still not completely clear after his introductory press conference yesterday, but the former England head coach did at least insist Leo Cullen is the boss.