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    From the Archives

    Two from 1996 to keep ye warm over Christmas!

    Happy Christmas one and all!

    @@@@SPAN ="ddgmab">Welsh to study video of A match@@@@/SPAN>
    @@@@SPAN ="bla">By EDMUND VAN ESBECK@@@@/SPAN>

    THE disciplinary committee of the Welsh Rugby Union will meet on Tuesday night to consider the incident in which the Wales flanker Martyn Williams is alleged to have stamped on Ireland second row forward, Malcolm O'Kelly, during the A International between Ireland and Wales last Friday week.

    The IRFU sent a video of the incident to the WRU asking that it be viewed.

    The video will be watched by the WRU Disciplinary committee and Williams has a right to attend to offer a defence.

    If Williams is found guilty of stamping, he is likely to be suspended for six weeks.

    ************************************************** *

    @@@@SPAN =ddgmab>Williams ban for O'Kelly stamping@@@@/SPAN>
    @@@@SPAN =bla>By EDMUND VAN ESBECK@@@@/SPAN>

    MARTYN WILLIAMS, the Pontypridd and Wales flank forward, has been suspended for six weeks by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) after being found guilty of stamping Ireland second row Malcolm O'Kelly during the A international at Donnybrook last Friday week.

    The ban runs from March 17th to April 28th.

    The suspension was imposed on Williams by the WRU disciplinary committee on Tuesday night after studying a video of the incident. The video had been sent to the WRU by the IRFU. The IRFU did knot cite Williams, but asked that the WRU look at the video and take the action they deemed appropriate.

    Six weeks is the recommended suspension for a player found guilty of stamping if it is a first offence. This means that Williams will now be ruled out of the game for all but the last few weeks of the season. He will miss vital league and cup games for his club, who this season played in the European Cup and lost to Leinster in the quarter final at Lansdowne Road. Williams had been dropped off the Wales A team to meet France tomorrow prior to the imposition of the suspension.

    Commenting on the suspension, Edward Jones, secretary of the WRU, said yesterday: "This is a clear indication of the intention of the WRU to have a clean game at all levels. The WRU will not tolerate or condone violent or dangerous play."

    Drop in tomorrow for another article from the legendary Larkin archive.

    Tomorrow's postmay well feature the man once described by Bob Dwyer as "the nastiest piece of crud that I've ever seen on a rugby pitch"

    New infraction avoidance policy: a post may be described as imbecilic, but its author should never be described as an imbecile.

    It's lucky you only choose to use that trap-like mind for good OD, you'd be the Napoleon of crime if you turned nasty. [img]smileys/razz.gif[/img]
    Hope Not Hate


      What about another from the Langer Archive on how he managed to avoid a post Christmas dunking in a certain Cork wildlife sanctuary?[img]smileys/lol.gif[/img]
      The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves



        Interesting interview with Mick Galwey

        STAR Q&A
        Mick Galwey

        Mick Galwey has played provincial rugby for Munster for 12 years and was a mainstay of the all conquering Shannon side who won the All Ireland League three years in a row in the late 90's. He was first capped by Ireland in 1991 and has 24 caps, mainly in the second row. Dropped from the Ireland squad before last summer's tour to Australia he has this season led Munster in their unbeaten run through the Interprovincial Championship and European Cup which has has led to calls for his reinstatement to the Ireland squad - as captain - for the Six Nations Championship. Scrum's Celtic Nations Editor, Jonathan McConnell caught up with him as he prepared for the next big test for Munster - their home European tie against Saracens

        Q. it's been a remarkable season so far for Munster. Is there any one thing that you can say sparked this season's success?
        A. Not really although we wanted to show that we could win away from home - so the game at Saracens was a big step, it gave us the self-belief which was important when we travelled to France. Also the win over Ireland before the RWC was pleasing, as there were so many Munster guys who wanted to prove a point. That win and then the Interpro championship sort of got the season snowballing.

        Q. Your club Shannon had a tremendous few years in the league and now many of those players are on the Munster squad - does this have a big influence?
        A. We had a lot of good young players on that Shannon team who have now matured well, Alan Quinlan, Anthony Foley and John Hayes, who is a terrific scrummager. I guess the confidence we built has rubbed off on the Munster set up and having that confidence means we don't panic when we are in difficult situations.

        Q. And the importance of the 'new comers' in the squad?
        A. John Langford has made a great difference to the side. He has some great ideas as well as being a class second row, and of course Woody! It's been useful having another set of hands in the backs! He is a really bonus to any side and on the field he makes the role of captain easier as he takes so much of the pressure.

        Q. There have been some great results so far in Europe - which would you say was the best game?
        A. Saracens away for sure. We had to be at our best to beat them and we were - the whole side played magnificently and everyone hit top form.

        Q. Obviously you are treading in the footsteps of Ulster's success last year - has that made things any easier?
        A. Well we were the last side to beat them last year before they won the European Cup so that set us thinking we must have a decent side. Their wins over the French, has shown that Irish sides don't have to fear anyone and that has been important.

        Q. From a personal point of view how well do you think you are playing at present?
        A. Well I may not be as fast and fit as I was a few years ago! But I feel I'm contributing well within a strong team

        Q. and the calls for your return to the Ireland side - perhaps as captain?
        A. I'm happy at present with the way things are going with Munster and anything else would be a bonus. I've been disappointed before so I 'm trying to be realistic. As for the captaincy well it would be nice to be given the role but again we'll just have to take things as they come.

        Q. Presumably one of those disappointments was missing the World Cup squad?
        A. When I was left out of the tour to Australia I felt I still had something to offer but it was then that I think I realised I wouldn't make the WC squad However the chance of a break from rugby was good. I did a lot of personal training and had a rest and now feel I'm back to full fitness.

        Q. How important has Declan Kidney been to the side's success?
        A. Declan has been with us three years and he has always been trying to get




            Sorry, focked up the link


              Last pass was forward but apart from that a fine try.

              Gleeson and Fr. Jack had hair in that clip too [img]smileys/shock.gif[/img]




                @@@@SPAN =ddgmab>Link man with right connections@@@@/SPAN>
                @@@@SPAN =bla>By GERRY THORNLEY@@@@/SPAN>

                IT'S NEITHER a misty eyed story of an Anglo Irish player discovering his roots, or an account of a rugby player discovering an Irish passport of convenience. This is a Sri Lankan/Anglo Irishman after all, so his route to the Irish number nine shirt was bound to be circuitous.

                Christian Saverimutto's father; hailed from Sri Lanka. Christian grew up in Liverpool, the second of three sons. Christian's maternal, Dublin grandparents gave him his Irish ancestry. But by no stretch of the imagination should we envisage a comely maiden by the fireplace, bouncing Alastair, Christian and Robin on her knee, while telling stories of the old Emerald sod back home.

                "Not at all," concedes Saverimutto. "There was never really an Irish link at home." Indeed, he even concedes that when the Irish Exiles first asked him to emulate his younger brother, Robin, and declare for them, he hesitated.

                Initially, I was hesitant, on the back of the fact that I was in the English system. I was in the English students' team then, so I said I'd leave it for a while."

                Two years ago, there was the somewhat curious story of Christian and Robin Saverimutto attending the Ireland England game at Lansdowne Road. Nothing odd about that, except that the day beforehand, Christian had played for the English students' against their Irish counterparts, while Robin had played in a victorious Irish under 21 team against their English contemporaries.

                Something else happened which rather took Christian by surprise. He'd always been conscious of Irish hospitality and warmth, but he became a little intoxicated by the Lansdowne Road atmosphere.

                "Having the Irish roots and the Irish ancestry, I felt a sense of belonging. That day I was cheering the Irish even though I was still in the English system. Genuinely, I was so pleased when they beat them."

                Last August he decided to "give it 100 per cent" with Ireland. "And fortunately, and surprisingly, and amazingly, it all happened so quickly. I'm absolutely delighted."

                Things worked in his favour. As injury struck the incumbent, Niall Hogan, Saverimutto had a useful seasonal opener with the Exiles in France. As he admits himself: "everybody needs a lucky break, a good game at the right time".

                Three weeks before the Fijian game, Murray Kidd went to West Hartlepool for a English League division one game involving Saverimutto's club, Sale. "I thought it was a wind up," Saverimutto confesses.

                "We were travelling up to West Hartlepool and somebody who had a paper said: `oh, the new Irish coach is coming to watch you'. I said `you must be kidding' and he showed me the paper. It was a big league game anyway, but all of a sudden, the importance of it was 10 times greater on a personal level, because I knew then that for him to come over a few weeks before the first international, he must be seriously considering me."

                It hardly showed and what followed was instructive as regards Saverimutto's temperament. Paul Turner, the flamboyant Welsh international who is out half and coach at Sale, recalls it was him who told Saverimutto on the team bus. "There was no hint of nerves."

                Saverimutto says, matter of factly: "I'm very much a guy who rises to the occasion." Sale won well and by both men's estimation Saverimutto played well, if slightly within himself. "Nothing terribly flashy," he says. "Just a good solid game from myself."

                Having learnt of his selection for the Fijian game, from BBC's Rugby Special while at home with his parents (a champagne Sunday dinner ensued), the same postscript could have been applied to his impressively solid, if unspectacular, displays against Fiji and the US.

                "His service is up there at the top of the tree really. I've not played with a lot be
                New infraction avoidance policy: a post may be described as imbecilic, but its author should never be described as an imbecile.


                  Jebus! Whomever next? Eddie Heineken?[img]smileys/wink.gif[/img]



                    @@@@SPAN =ddgmab>Friendly fires continue to glow 15/12/2000@@@@/SPAN>

                    @@@@SPAN =ddgmab>@@@@/SPAN>
                    @@@@SPAN =bla>By EDMUND VAN ESBECK@@@@/SPAN>

                    A great feature of sport is the social element it embraces. Through the years, this has applied especially to amateur sport. That is not to suggest that professional sportsmen and women do not also fashion friendships, but those involved in amateur sport have far fewer constraints for obvious reasons.

                    One of the most appealing elements of rugby has, through the years, been the great friendships that have been made and the great enjoyment that successive generations have received from the social aspect of the game. Many a friendship has been made between men who were tough opponents on the field, but had a mutual respect that blossomed off it.

                    The top tiers of rugby are now, of course, professional, and the time for social discourse is extremely limited. The interprovincials are a classic example. The days are basically gone when the interprovincial matches embraced a great social factor. Now, teams often play their matches and go home the same evening. The much more rigorous training schedules impose their own demand. Fitness levels must, of necessity, be infinitely greater than in the amateur days.

                    However one may regret the passing of the amateur era in some respects, there is now much more stability about the scene generally than we had in the years immediately after the advent of professionalism. It was a learning process, tortuous at times.

                    Nor is there any doubt that playing standards here and elsewhere have improved. We have seen a very appreciable advance at provincial and national levels in Ireland. I was discussing these factors very recently with an eminent international of very recent vintage. His comments were as revealing as they were interesting.

                    "One very good thing about the fact that we are now fielding professional teams at international level is that it has, to a large extent, levelled the playing field. Numerically we are always going to be at a disadvantage against the bigger powers, but we knew, particularly in recent times, that when we met some countries their players were professional in all but name. Things had got to the stage where it was just impossible to police the situation with regard to amateurism at the highest level.

                    "Now we are fielding teams whose players are full-time professionals and consequently have improved significantly. I think we have seen very clear evidence of that, especially over the (last) 12 months in the Munster and Ireland teams.

                    "The end of my career basically coincided with the game going professional. It had been moving that way for several years and I suppose it was inevitable."

                    But would he like to be playing now as a full-time professional?

                    "I honestly do not know. Sometimes I feel I would love to have played full-time and been able to devote myself full-time to the game. But then I must say I enjoyed every minute of my playing career. Of course you felt under pressure at times to retain your place, but it was still a game, and not a livelihood. That is one great difference now and it increases the pressure on players. I have always considered myself very fortunate and enjoyed every minute in the game."

                    Those sentiments, I am sure, are representative of the feelings of some players, probably quite a few. As fitness levels reach a new peak, the physical demands - always considerable - are greater than ever. Careers are likely to be very much shorter, certainly at the higher levels. Whether players will get as much enjoyment from the game is another factor. And while I am sure friendships will continue to be forged, there is no doubt the social side of the game continues to change.

                    I was reminded of that earlier this week when two great Irish playe
                    New infraction avoidance policy: a post may be described as imbecilic, but its author should never be described as an imbecile.


                      Thanks OD, great to see the archives. [img]smileys/thumb-up.gif[/img]
                      For you stole Trevelyan\'s watch, So the young might see....oh, never mind....


                        Copied this from the old site where a poster had copied it before me
                        - same apologies apply

                        I don't know who wrote this, so apologies to the writer. I copied it
                        from this website at the time. It's worth reading:

                        On the 18th of January, 2003 I watched the most dramatic show of
                        my life in full colour in Thomond Park. This was "as good as it gets".
                        You always know when you’re witnessing something completely
                        unbelievablefor those of us who were in Thomond Park, we knew
                        oh yes we knew!

                        I remember sometime during the second half of that game saying to
                        myself "make sure you remember everything that has ever
                        happened today
                        and keep a visual memory of these scenes for the rest of your life".
                        Whenever I know that I am going through an experience like this I
                        always try to take in the peripheral stuff as well.

                        I was perched on a step in the West Stand with the assorted media
                        and sporting journalists of our time seated on my left-hand side.

                        Somewhere behind me I could hear Len Dineens voice keeping
                        Limerick 95fm "Live" enthralled. They should rename the station
                        Limerick 95fm "Live, kicking and rearing to go" after Lens
                        commentary last Saturday. I often wondered how journalists and
                        sporting commentators manage to keep going with their work in a
                        middle of a really tight game? Normally they do keep a composure of
                        sorts and readjust their voices and scripts in tune with the mood and
                        excitement of the day. Not so on Saturday. As the game moved from
                        ruck to maul, quick hands, grubbers, back in a ruck, more mauling, I
                        watched as Gerry Thornley, Brendan Fanning and Co. abandoned
                        their work and nearly threw their laptops off the West Stand as they
                        one by one got to their feet and completely willed on Munster’s last
                        try and conversion.

                        Then they turned to each other incredulously and said in
                        unison ..."how are we going to write about this ... how do we put all
                        this in print and try and give the reader any idea as to what has
                        happened here".

                        Afterwards I heard that (RTE Radio commentator) Michael Corcoran's
                        finale was out of this world.

                        The following Monday night I was listening to Vincent Browne and at
                        10.55pm he said "And now just to prove that there is a God". Then
                        he started playing Michael Corcorans last minutes of commentary. I
                        closed my eyes and I was back in Thomond park for the briefest of
                        minutes. My GodMaurice Nelligan should have been called to
                        resuscitate Michael Corcoranhe nearly keeled over and his voice
                        broke through to soprano levels on the radio "A try a try a try for
                        Munsteroh my God .all hell is breaking loose in Thomond park .the
                        place is going ballistic ..."

                        For those of us who were there, we know what he was talking about.
                        Then Vincent Browne played "Stand up and Fight" and my mind
                        wandered back to the carnival that broke out after the final whistle
                        went. Fathers abandoned sons, mothers abandoned daughters,
                        husbands abandoned wives all sprinting for their lives onto the pitch
                        to touch those Munster lads. Strangers were hugging strangers.
                        Fellas wearing ties broke out of all formality and jumped with joy.
                        Oul fellas were crying (nothing to do with the hip flasks!) Best friends
                        clung to each other. Old rugby pals smiled and looked at each other
                        without having to say anything.
                        Club officials from all walks of rugby hugged and celebrated. Kids
                        looked on and for once were delighted at being told not to walk on
                        the pitch walk on the pitch .... sure they could dig
                        Munster – Champions of Europe 2006, 2008, 2019.