rugby – Sport Crazy https://OFFLINEZIP.wpsho You’re never a loser until you quit trying. Wed, 30 Oct 2013 12:04:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How to join a rugby club http://OFFLINEZIP.wpshohow-to-join-a-rugby-club/ Wed, 30 Oct 2013 12:04:39 +0000 http://OFFLINEZIP.wpshorugby/how-to-join-a-rugby-club/ Rugby Union is organised and controlled by the IRBPeople are always asking “how do I join a rugby club?”

Finding and joining a rugby club is fairly a simple task. You need to be ready, and you need to find a club. I’m going to spell out some of the things that seem really obvious just so there’s nothing missed.

Being ready for rugby – your general strength and fitness

  • You don’t need to be “marathon fit” to play rugby
  • You do need to be able to run a lap or two. This will improve drastically after a couple of training sessions
  • You don’t need to be able to bench press 300lbs
  • You do need to be able to bench press 30lbs. If you’re concerned about strength, join a gym and do a general fitness programme that includes some resistance (weights) exercises.

Example: after taking a break from rugby for 3 years I spent almost 2 years getting back in shape before rejoining a club. This was a little over the top, but it’s not a bad idea to spend a couple of months in the gym working on core body strength and aerobic fitness.

Being ready for rugby – gear

At a minimum, and in order of importance, you will need a gumshield (teeth guard), boots (studs are better than blades, rugby boots better than soccer boots), rugby shorts (they’re much stronger than soccer shorts), a rugby jersey (an old one is fine), and socks (any football socks will do). You might also need a tracksuit, particularly if it’s cold.

Once you start playing with a club you might need to buy some club socks and maybe shorts if yours are the wrong colour. You don’t need to have a club jersey as you’ll be given one on match day, but it’s good to have a cheap old jersey to wear in training.

Being ready for rugby – skills and rules1

If you’re brand new to rugby you’ll need to learn the rules. You should pick these up in training and even during matches (you’re bound to give away a couple of penalties). You can improve your knowledge by reading up on the rules on the IRB website and simply watching a match on tv, especially with a vocal rugby fan beside you.

A lot of people talk about taking up tag rugby during the summer can help, but I’m not a fan of it. I’ve seen more people with broken hands in 3 months of tag rugby than I’ve seen in 16 years of the real thing.

Don’t worry too much about your skill level. You’ll be joining a club at the most junior of levels and if you’re good you will quickly be promoted up through the teams. Managers of the higher level teams in a club are always looking for replacements and new squad members. I’m looking at this from the perspective of a senior club fielding 5 mens teams, a girls team, U21s and U18s. Some smaller clubs will only have 1-3 teams so you won’t get much choice where you end up. Which brings us on to…

Finding a rugby club

Find the phone number of a club in your local area. Pick somewhere close by because you’ll be travelling there a lot. It’s also nice to be able to walk home after having a few pints! Don’t know how to find one? If you’re looking for a rugby club here in Ireland, try the IRFU branch websites via these links or on the site. Otherwise google a few placenames near you, or ask someone you think might know if there’s one around. You should be able to get the phone number off directory enquiries, and most clubs have a website these days.

Ring the club during office hours. You’ll probably be talking to either a full-time club secretary, or in the case of a smaller club, an answer machine. Leave your details and ask for a call back about “joining one of the junior teams”. Ideally what you want to do is get the name of a team manager (coach) and, importantly, the time they train at.

Next, turn up at the club at the training time, with your rugby gear (minimum: boots, shorts, socks, jersey, gumshield, tracksuit if cold weather). Go into one of the changing rooms (the one nearest the door is usually best) and tog out. Don’t worry that you don’t know anybody else. Players expect to see new people they don’t know – it happens every year especially at the start of the season (September/October/November in the northern hemisphere).

When you’re togged out, go outside and ask where the manager (the name you got from the call earlier) is. He or she is probably out warming up with one of the teams. Go and introduce yourself – say you’re looking to join a team, you’re a beginner, etc. If it’s a smaller club there might only be one group on the pitches, if it’s a larger group there may be 3-5 groups in different areas of the grounds. Ask the manager which group you should train with – it will most likely be the group he or she is with.

(If you can’t find the manager, just ask someone which group beginners should go to, jog up and just start doing what they’re doing. Someone will talk to you after a bit).

Don’t forget, people want you there – new players are always needed at clubs.

If, for some reason, you couldn’t get in contact with anybody, what you can do is go down to the club at 7pm on Tuesday or Thursday. Every rugby club I’ve ever seen has had training at those times 🙂

I think I’ve covered most things here, if you can think of anything I’ve missed, or need something clarified then please leave a comment or suggestion. Cheers!

Six Nations 2013 Schedule & Results http://OFFLINEZIP.wpshosix-nations-2013-schedule/ Fri, 01 Feb 2013 23:14:17 +0000 http://OFFLINEZIP.wpsho?p=459 [table id=1 /]

Six Nations 2012 Schedule & Results http://OFFLINEZIP.wpshosix-nations-2012-schedule/ Fri, 27 Jan 2012 17:43:07 +0000 http://OFFLINEZIP.wpsho?p=385 Six Nations

All times Irish.

RBS 6 Nation 2012
Date Home Time Away Venue
4 Feb 2012 France 30 2:30 Italy 12 Stade de France
4 Feb 2012 Scotland 6 5:00 England 13 Murrayfield
5 Feb 2012 Ireland 21 3:00 Wales 23 Lansdowne Road
11 Feb 2012 Italy 15 4:00 England 19 Olympic Stadium
11 Feb 2012 France (P) 8:00 Ireland (P) Stade de France Postponed
12 Feb 2012 Wales 27 3:00 Scotland 13 Millennium Stadium
25 Feb 2012 Ireland 42 1:30 Italy 10 Lansdowne Road
25 Feb 2012 England 12 4:00 Wales 19 Twickenham
26 Feb 2012 Scotland 17 3:00 France 23 Murrayfield
4 Mar 2012 France 17 3:00 Ireland 17 Stade de France
10 Mar 2012 Wales 24 2:30 Italy 3 Millennium Stadium
10 Mar 2012 Ireland 32 5:00 Scotland 14 Lansdowne Road
11 Mar 2012 France 22 3:00 England 24 Stade de France
17 Mar 2012 Italy 13 12:30 Scotland 6 Stade Flamino
17 Mar 2012 Wales 16 2:45 France 9 Millennium Stadium
17 Mar 2012 England 30 5:00 Ireland 9

Winner: Wales (Grand Slam)

Separated At Birth? http://OFFLINEZIP.wpshoseparated-at-birth/ Wed, 21 Sep 2011 21:32:55 +0000 http://OFFLINEZIP.wpsho?p=378 Is it just me who sees it?

Irish Rugby After Six Nations 2011 http://OFFLINEZIP.wpshoirish-rugby-after-6n2011/ Thu, 24 Mar 2011 09:20:23 +0000 http://OFFLINEZIP.wpsho?p=363 Irish rugby is in an interesting place now at the end of 6 Nations 2011, with some good performances in patches, but overall a shoddy tournament. But those of us who want this group of players to perform to their true potential will inevitably be disappointed, as we were through the Eddie O’Sullivan era.

And yet there is much to be positive about.

The Good

Provincial fan hat on, I’m happy enough that all the international players, from all provinces, are there or thereabouts. Admittedly guys like Sean Cronin (throwing) and Luke Fitz (in general) need to find form, but overall this bunch of players are massively talented, are fit, and are hungry for success. Also, importantly for a 6 Nations campaign, we didn’t see any major injuries, which we can be very thankful for after a few bad Championships on that score.

The Bad

From an Ireland fan’s point of view it’s been a hugely disappointing tournament, particularly when you look at selection and management. I’m firmly in the “blame team management for discipline issues” camp. In any team sport, in any competition, I believe that it is managements job to set the tone of the campaign and stifle discipline issues.

The Ugly

If I am to criticise Declan Kidney, I need to acknowledge his achievements. He has a proven track record of success, with Munster’s HEC wins, and a 2009 Grand Slam with Ireland. You can’t argue with that. Or can you?

A missed kick was the difference between an Ireland winning or losing out on that Grand Slam. Eddie O’Sullivan lost the 6 Nations Championship to France 3 times on points difference, and once losing the Grand Slam because of a single missed tackle in the final seconds of that heart-breaking match in Croke Park in 2007. The margins between winning and losing are minuscule.

Emperor Kidney Has No Clothes?

But it is fair to question some strange decisions from the Irish manager. In my eyes he has made incredibly poor decisions, particularly regarding selection and use of the bench: bringing on Sexton vs Wales, and Ross vs England stand out in particular, but there are many, many others instances. There are allegations that he’s been unjustly favouring Munster players in selection. Looking at the provinces relative performances of late, this does appear to have some element of truth, particularly his persistence with TOL.

We can get over those issues if we get the performances we should be getting. But we’re not.

One of the many criticisms I had of EOS was that he never seemed to learn from his mistakes. I think Kidney is a decent manager, and I don’t think we have a suitable replacement for him waiting in the wings, so I’m not calling for his head – yet. But I’d like to see him learn from his mistakes. More focus on team discipline. Less of the smiley glib answers in interviews, and more transparency about selection issues. And less bloody stupid decisions on how to use the bench.

The Rugby World Cup

We got lucky with a big performance against England, with Kidney’s hand forced on selections by injury, but when it comes to the RWC I see us getting to, and then losing, the Quarter Final to South Africa on 9th October – at least that’s what I’d put my cash on were I a betting man.

The Up-side

I think the best Ireland can hope for this year is Heineken Cup, Magners League and Challenge Cup wins, but the optimistic part of me says we not only could but should win all of these competitions – here’s hoping 🙂

Six Nations 2011 Schedule http://OFFLINEZIP.wpshosix-nations-2011-schedule/ Fri, 04 Feb 2011 17:37:36 +0000 http://OFFLINEZIP.wpsho?p=357 I’m posting the schedule here mainly so that I have it on hand somewhere I can find it quickly 🙂

The 6 Nations kicks off tonight in Cardiff and it should be an interesting tournament this year – much more open than last year.

There’s some interesting stuff going on in the betting – England have been named favourites. I find that quite amusing. Here’s how the bookies have them seeded:

2011 Six Nations Winner (Ladbrokes)

  1. England – 15/8
  2. France – 9/4
  3. Ireland – 11/4
  4. Wales – 7/1
  5. Scotland – 16/1
  6. Italy – 250/1

Here’s how I’d seed them:

  1. France*
  2. Ireland*
  3. England**
  4. Wales**
  5. Scotland
  6. Italy

My notes being first: * Ireland could win the tournament outright if we manage to hold off the French in Dublin on the 2nd weekend. That’s the game of the tournament, and coming so early on will massively influence the outcome.

Secondly ** Wales could easily surprise England and push England down to 4th. I’m not sure what the odds are on England to come 4th but it might be worth a punt 🙂

RBS Six Nations Fixture Schedule 2011

Friday 4th February - Wales v England - 7.45pm
Saturday 5th February - Italy v Ireland - 2.30pm
Saturday 5th February - France v Scotland - 5pm

Saturday 12th February - England v Italy - 2.30pm
Saturday 12th February - Scotland v Wales - 5pm
Sunday 13th February - Ireland v France - 3pm

19/20 February Free

Saturday 26th February - Italy v Wales - 2.30pm
Saturday 26th February - England v France - 5pm
Sunday 27th February - Scotland v Ireland - 3pm

5/6 March Free

Saturday 12th March - Italy v France - 2.30pm
Saturday 12th March - Wales v Ireland - 5pm
Sunday 13th March - England v Scotland - 3pm

Saturday 19th March - Scotland v Italy - 2.30pm
Saturday 19th March - Ireland v England - 5pm
Saturday 19th March - France v Wales - 7.45pm

All times Irish, add an hour for France and Italy local games.

New Zealand All Cheats? Stats. http://OFFLINEZIP.wpshonew-zealand-all-cheats-stats/ Thu, 25 Nov 2010 16:47:59 +0000 http://OFFLINEZIP.wpsho?p=343 There’s a lot of discussion about New Zealand getting away with cheating. Rugby fans, players, coaches and commentators from every country outside of New Zealand are convinced, but New Zealand, and crucially, the IRB seem to think that they’re not.

The accusations

McCaw, offside

  1. “If I’d been a referee I would have handed out a couple of yellow cards. It’s the usual old faces that are doing it, but they’re good at it and get away with it. Richie McCaw did a great job at slowing it down’ – Stephen Ferris, Ireland and Lions flanker
  2. “We came off a fixture against the All Blacks … they don’t scrummage. They just manipulate, they play the referee constantly. It’s all about trickery” Robbie Deans, Australia Head Coach
  3. “Richie McCaw and some others get over on the wrong side of the ruck. He should be penalised every time in my book” – Willie John McBrides, former Ireland and Lions captain
  4. [Many, many more – see sources in the post below].

The New Zealand reaction

“[The accusations are] actually becoming quite boring”  – Steven Hansen, New Zealand Assistant Coach.


“Accurate”, more like. Having watched and re-watched the New Zealand play at the ruck, it’s clear to me that they’re getting away with it.

The IRB reaction
I asked Mike Miller (CEO of the IRB) about this, and the current scrum debacle situation on Twitter:

@irbmikemiller any chance of undoing scrum damage, and asking refs to apply laws to New Zealand? – @AMcDermott

His reply:

@AMcDermott Stats show that scrum resets down. Laws are applied to all Unions equally. – @irbmikemiller

The Stats

Mike’s reply pertaining to scrums got me wondering what kind of stats are available on McCaw and New Zealand cheating.

From SAReferees:

Some Totals in the 2010 Tri-Nations

Penalties conceded per country

Australia: 7 + 11 = 18
New Zealand: 12 + 9 + 13 = 34
South Africa: 5 + 9 + 10 = 24

Tries scored per country

Australia: 2 + 3 = 5
New Zealand: 4 + 4 + 7 = 15
South Africa: 0 + 2 + 2 = 4

Disciplinary sanctions per country

Australia: 4Y, C
New Zealand: Y
South Africa: 4Y, 3 C

Y = yellow card
C = citing and suspension

Those figures show that:

  1. During Tri-Nations 2010, referees gave Australia one yellow card for every 4.5 penalties conceded
  2. During Tri-Nations 2010, referees gave South Africa one yellow card for every 6 penalties conceded
  3. During Tri-Nations 2010, referees gave New Zealand one yellow card for every 34 penalties conceded

From the Courier Mail:

Wallabies v All Blacks Analysis of that Test shows McCaw failing to join the ruck from behind the last man’s feet at least seven times and contesting kicks while offside on at least three occasions.

Despite being captured flagrantly entering the side of rucks and chasing in front of kickers, flanker McCaw proved “Mr Untouchable” by escaping without a single offside penalty.

And The Australian:

In the All Blacks’ Wellington win against the Springboks, Irish referee Alain Rolland penalised the Kiwis three times for slowing the ball at the breakdown.

On the fourth occasion, Rolland told McCaw that “this is an official warning”.

It was black comedy, All Black comedy. McCaw must have had to stop himself from laughing.

It seems to me that the evidence is there that McCaw in particular, and the team as a whole, know how to play the refs very cleverly, and are getting away with it. The referees should be wise to it, but don’t seem to be. The IRB insisting that “Laws are applied to all Unions consistently” are either naive or lying – I hope it’s the former.

New Zealand are a great team, seeming almost superhuman at times. We certainly don’t need to give them this advantage. We can only hope that the referees and IRB will take some action on it.
Update: someone on said that only 2 of the yellow cards in the 2010 Tri-Nations were awarded for ruck offenses, the rest were for violence or dangerous tackles. The point was made that you can dress up stats to prove any point. I agree with that, but it doesn’t invalidate the overall point of this post.

As the IRB are happy to mis-use stats to say that scrums are fine (which they’re clearly not), I’m happy to mis-use stats to say that McCaw is getting away with murder at the ruck (which he clearly is).

I don’t really care about the stats at the end of the day, but I would like to see NZ getting policed properly. They’re good enough when they’re playing normally, without giving them a further advantage.

Leinster Five-Oh http://OFFLINEZIP.wpsholeinster-munster-oct-2010/ Sun, 03 Oct 2010 14:29:20 +0000 http://OFFLINEZIP.wpsho?p=335 Leinster Munster October 2010It must have been an awful match for a neutral with ineffective attacks and poor handling made worse by the wet conditions.


For Leinster fans, it was a glorious, shocking victory. There were a minority of optimists talking up our chances before the game, but the vast majority of fans and press reckoned on a Munster win, by a hefty margin.

Twenty minutes into the game I was even more convinced of the upcoming Munster victory as Leinster failed to secure their own ruck ball time after time, and racked up handling error after error when they did get the ball to the back line.

It Really Matters

Let’s be clear what this game meant. For Munster it was revenge for the past four defeats, the usual bragging rights, and a few league points. For a Leinster team without form and in serious trouble at the wrong end of the table this was already “do or die” stuff – lose this game and the season is effectively over, even before the first round of Heineken Cup.

By half-time the mood amongst the Leinster fans was surprise that we were evens on the scorecard – it felt like we should have been a long way down.

My Usual One-sided Anti-ref Rant

Yet another poor Magners League ref. Awarded Leinster a scrum after Munster conceded not one, but two penalty offences in front of their posts (offside, deliberate slap down). He didn’t enforce players coming through the gate at the ruck, causing Leinster to lose ruck ball time and time again (Schmidt: how about committing another man or two there?). And the worst, most blatant of all, the countless crooked-in throws to the Munster line-out. This is unforgivable – if the jumper needs to reach back towards his own try-line to catch the ball IT’S CROOKED IN REF!

We didn’t have the luxury of replays in the stadium (and of course, neither did the ref), but Mafi’s yellow for the high tackle on Kearney seemed to be a fair punishment at the time. Those watching on TV suggested a red might have been more appropriate. I need to see the match replay to make a fair call on that and the other incidents I mentioned above (except the lineouts – that is black and white stuff).

Sexy Performance

The 56th minute introduction of Jonathan Sexton, and to no lesser extend, Eoin Redden had a major impact on Leinster’s effectiveness. Sexton came on for Shane Horgan, and Isa pushed out to the wing where he seems much more comfortable. Redden had a straight swap with Isaac Boss, who was showed up by Reddan’s more obvious danger at the breakdown. For me it’s still evens at the scrum-half position, up until recently Boss was clearly the number two choice but he has improved his game significantly since the start of the season.

The Stadium

For all it’s faults, and it has plenty, the new Lansdowne Road looked fantastic last night, even in the rain. What an incredible atmosphere, spectacular view. Not bad for a wee Magners League game.

Constructive criticism for the organisers: beforehand there were major delays at turnstiles (particularly O and N) as fans used the new self-scan barcode readers to get in. The devices seem to read the tickets ok but with no human untervention what happens in case of a rain-damaged ticket? The device could give more tactile user feedback.

Your stewards did a wonderful job of whisking people out the door immediately after the game, to then stand unmoving outside said door for 20 minutes. Lansdowne Road is not Clonliffe Road. Please keep the bar open for 30 minutes after the game. You will make a lot of money, and the crowd will clear far more easily.

“We’re Still In This!”

Sexton and Redden had a big impact on the game but with 15 minutes to go it was incredible to find that Leinster were still in touching distance – Munster should be well out of sight by now. But the league leaders didn’t seem to be finding their form either.

Then Comes The Magic

Leinster fans are privileged to have a guy like BOD on the team. He hasn’t been on form lately, has had very little game time, and isn’t match-fit.

I would be more confident if I played more than 150 minutes [this season]. It really takes you four or five games to start playing your best stuff — Brian O’Driscoll 30/09/2010

But even when he’s not on form, he’s on form, and was deserving Man of The Match just based on his massive tackling all over the park. And when O’Brien linked with him in the 70th minute the crowd went wild. O’Driscoll, try. Leinster fans, ecstatic.

A nervous final 10 minutes with Leinster playing “up yer jumper” stuff, and the wonderful feeling of relief at the whistle – our season is not yet over, we might yet make it to Christmas!

Leinster 13-9 Munster

Handling and breakdown areas still need a lot of work, and with Top14 leader’s Racing Metro coming up in the first round of the HEC next week is a tough challenge. They were impressive in defeat to Toulouse yesterday afternoon, a particularly tenacious 2nd half fightback stealing a losing bonus point. If Leinster are coming into form it has the potential to be a wonderful game. On the other hand… well let’s leave that unsaid.

See You Next Week

As of last night there were still 5,000 tickets available for the RDS Leinster vs Racing Metro next week – they should sell a little easier now.

Your comments appreciated. I’m on Twitter at @AMcDermott

Deep Tissue Massage For Rugby Injury http://OFFLINEZIP.wpshodeep-tissue-massage/ Mon, 07 Jun 2010 20:56:24 +0000 http://OFFLINEZIP.wpsho?p=323 I’ve played rugby in the front row since the age of 12, and I’ve had my share of neck and back injuries – thankfully nothing very serious, but enough to keep me off the pitch for 6-12 months sometimes. In the past 3-4 years I’ve been seeing a chiropractor regularly, and I think he’s been good for me in a preventative manner (although he’s horrified that I still play rugby), but recently when I had an issue to resolve it didn’t work out so well and I reckoned I needed to look elsewhere.

A while back I built a website for Dene Hickey, a “qualified neuromuscular therapist”. I hadn’t a clue what ” neuromuscular therapy” meant at the time, but it sounded impressive. I recently met Dene about another website for his growing sports massage business.

When I not so subtly mentioned the acute back pain I was suffering Dene immediately offered me a free deep tissue massage where he would “de-activate” the trigger points. I’ve had sports massages before and I’ve noticed that the masseuse or masseur rarely goes hard enough on the troublesome muscles. No such trouble with Dene, he’s a strong guy who works on amateur and semi-pro rugby players regularly, but as well as just going in strong, he really found the pain points and sorted them out.

As he was working on the muscles, one of the interesting things for me was learning a bit about Trigger Points. I won’t try to explain it here – click through the link to Wikipedia or Dene’s trigger points therapy page.

I felt an order of magnitude times better after the session, the acute back pain was greatly diminished almost to non-existance. If you’re suffering from chronic muscular spasm or pain, from sports or even from office chairs, then I highly recommend you find a massage clinic specialising in deep tissue massage and trigger point therapy. If you’re in the Dublin area, I don’t think you could do much better than to give Dene a call.

Ireland Get 6 Nations Back On Track http://OFFLINEZIP.wpshoireland-england-6n-2010/ Sun, 28 Feb 2010 11:49:53 +0000 http://OFFLINEZIP.wpsho?p=318 England 16-20 Ireland
Earls scoring against England
Earls scores against England - photo from BBC site (linked)

After a disasterous visit to Paris and a very disappointing performance against the French, Ireland have got their 2010 Six Nations campaign back on track with a hard-fought victory in Twickenham.

It was by no means a classic performance, made more of grit and determination rather than a champagne performance. A huge amount of tackles put in by the Irish line, with the vast majority of possession to England.

A Win Is A Win

My post-match reaction was huge disappointment – we won, but just. The performance wasn’t what I hoped for: we didn’t see the back-lash against England after our Paris trip. But in hindsight, there is truth in the old sports clique – a win is a win. I went to so many 5 Nations games in Lansdowne Road with poor performances AND poor results so I have to be happy with the gritty victories.

There were some good performances across the board but for me the MOTM was Tommy Bowe who had a wonderful couple of tries.

I didn’t really have an opinion either way about Martin Johnson before this game – he’s a tough character but you have to have some respect for someone with his background in the game. However, I lost most of that respect after watching his post-match interview. You can take a look for yourself. Defeats are unpleasant for any manager, but a little graciousness wouldn’t go awry.