European Club Rugby



  • Pat Lam's Connacht have gone top of the Pro 12 after beating Munster in Limerick this morning. He's been doing great over there to turn that club around.



  • Yep, pretty impressive yesterday against a Munster team which looked a mere shadow of its former self - plus a good showing by Bundee Aki and Nathan White. 
    Aki has piled on the pounds, still as abrasive as ever and is the pro-12 top try-scorer having scored 9 so far, including the match winner - a one-handed touch down in the corner 3 mins from full time, to set up the historic win here at Thomond Park. (Connacht last won here against Munster in 1986) He carried into contact a lot, made several half-breaks, and generally made a nuisance of himself around the ruck area. A MOTM performance. Reminded me a lot of Ranger actually.
    Munster had Francis Saili, who tried desperately to ignite and lift the spirits of those around him and almost succeeded - seemingly taking on Connacht single-handed in the second half.
    I thought it ironic that we were watching a duel between the two NZ centres - among the 2 best players on the field.
    Couldn't help thinking of the ABs in 2016, and how we could really utilise midfield players like Aki in particular, and think Saili with all his experience still has a lot to offer. 
    Pat Lam has brought a definite edge to Connacht, they are aggressiive in contact and inventive in attack. Wouldn't be surprised to see them kick on to win the Pro 12.
    Seems a shame he couldn't do the same with the Blues.



  • I have looked a bit at the stats of NZ players (or other players who used to play in NZ) in the Aviva Premiership.
     
    It's interesting that three players who debuted in the comp recently scored a try on debut:
    Bryce Heem - Worcester Warriors (has played 2 games)
    Teluse Veainu - Leicester Tigers (has scored 4 tries in 5 games, incl 2 Eur Champions Cup games)
    Brendon O'Connor - Leicester Tigers (scored that try in his first of 2 Eur Champions Cup games; has played 3 games in total for LT)
     
    Other players debuting in England this year:
    Charles Piutau - London Wasps - has scored one try and played 3 games (one Eur Champions Cup game)
    Frank Halai - London Wasps - has scored 2 tries in 5 games (one Eur Champions Cup game) 
    Jeremy Thrush - Gloucester - has played 3 games (two Eur Challenge Cup games)
    Willi Heinz - Gloucester - has played 6 games (one Eur Challenge Cup game)
    Ben Franks - London Irish - made his debut this weekend (a loss to London Wasps)
     
    Of the other players, Nick Evans - Harlequins - is leading the Premiership's top points scorer's list at the moment with 84 points from 5 games (2 tries, 7 conversions and 20 penalties).



  • goo to see  pat  and his boys  going well



  • Pat Lam's Connacht have gone top of the Pro 12 after beating Munster in Limerick this morning. He's been doing great over there to turn that club around.

    They went top last weekend after their 33-19 win against Treviso in round 7.
     
    Long way to go in the season, and Lam has benefited from having very few RWC absentees from his squad so their next matches against Cardiff, Ulster and Leinster will tell a lot.   Teams need to win approx 12 games to be in the mix for the top 6 European Cup spots.  They've 7 in the bag so far.   If they can stay in the top four, it would be one hell of an achievement.
     
    Last night was a strong win for the men in green, and the combo between Henshaw and Aki for the last minute try was great to watch as part of a Connacht desire to go for the hammer blow rather than try hold out for a one-point win.
     
    Lots of talk of Henshaw being snaffled to cross the Shannon and join Leinster next season - hopefully he stays put with the promise of H Cup rugby next season.



  • So is Brendan O'Connor English qualified?



  • Thought Veainu was a bit unlucky down here. Deserved a lot more super rugby time than what he got.



  • So is Brendan O'Connor English qualified?

    Yes, he is.



  • How soon will Steddie rush him in then I wonder?



  • Bundee O'Aki going great and has some Jerry Collins tribute guns to go with it. Must be nothing to do in Connacht except hit the gym.
     
    If he had stayed here he could of been a contender this year. Aki/ Fekitoa midfield anyone?



  • Bundee O'Aki going great and has some Jerry Collins tribute guns to go with it. Must be nothing to do in Connacht except hit the gym.
     
    If he had stayed here he could of been a contender this year. Aki/ Fekitoa midfield anyone?

    You're not doing it right.
     
    Bundí O'Akí
     
    Always rated him higher than Saili, but it was Francis who got the AB caps.  Think there is about 18 months until BA can theoretically swap the Connacht green for the Irish green.
     
    Not sure Bundee was quite at the level to become a permanent fixture in black, but certainly a talented player.
     



  • The tacit agreement is paying off so it is to be sure .
    Does Jake Heenan have a tacit agreement? He plays for Connacht too



  • Heenan is perma-injured Jegga. Already 2 shoulder reconstructions I think.



  • Daniel Kirkpatrick (Castres) had a tackle gone wrong badly this weekend. Totally knocked-out. He tweeted early this morning he was okay, fortunately.
     
    It happened at 1'20''
     
    [media]


     
    Not long after, former NZ7s, Wellington & Taranaki player Alex Tulou scored his 5th try of the season (in 7 games, including one Eur Challenge Cup game).
     
    Edit: yes, in the beginning of the video they briefly discuss/show the ref who officiated the semi-final between the All Blacks & Springboks.



  • Heenan is perma-injured Jegga. Already 2 shoulder reconstructions I think.

    That's no good , he was in this article a couple of months ago



  • Heenan is perma-injured Jegga. Already 2 shoulder reconstructions I think.

    His contract is up in May next year, BT. There's going to be a few provincial dances and shuffles by season end with a lot of Irish players at end of contracts and negotiating for better terms.
    Heenan isn't a project player and prone to injury. The IRFU may think their national back row stocks are sufficient and it'll be up to Lam as to whether he's worth renewing.



  • You're not doing it right.
    Bundí O'AkíNeither are you.
    It would be Bun D. O' Kee
    Or possibly Bundy McKee 🙂



  • Neither are you.
    It would be Bun D. O' Kee
    Or possibly Bundy McKee 🙂

    I'll defer to a true Irishman on how to give a Polynesian an Irish flavour to their name...
     
    I thought Heenan IS a project player?



  • Pat Lam is certainly making waves in Connacht. A young team playing the best rugby in the pro12 and winning. Its his third year there and was given time to build the squad.
     
     
    Jake Heenan had shoulder surgery and came back too early last season and damaged the same shoulder. So he has missed about 2 years through injury. 
     
     
    The Aki try is here. Good finish. 



  • Connacht have done brilliantly - it's only a few years ago that their die hard fans had to march on Dublin to save the team from the axe. They have gone from being an underfunded feeder team in the GAA heartlands, everyone's favourite second side, to top of the pile and I can't think of anyone in our league who would begrude them their hard-won status right now.
     
    Night's over in Galway were never easy with that wind whipping up what seemed like half the Atlantic Ocean to sting opponents faces, and now they have a beast of a pack and are not afraid to play wide -
     
    Gwan the Wesht,
    (unless you're playing Edinburgh or Glasgow)