Sport

Pro 12 for 2014-15 (Winners towards the centre!)

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Gerry Thornley reports on the clowns (English Premiership)

Leading French figures propose O’Driscoll as president of EPCR

Player has not been approached and role with new club body would conflict with punditry work

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Brian O’Driscoll: former Ireland captain would be a compromise candidate to fill new position of president in the newly-formed EPCR (European Professional Club rugby). Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Gerry Thornley

Tue, Aug 19, 2014, 01:30

Such are the heightened tensions between the warring factions in European club rugby including now, it seems, the one-time Anglo-French axis, that leading figures in the French Federation (FFR) and Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) are advocating a compromise Celt to fill the vacancy of president in the newly-formed EPCR (European Professional Club rugby), namely the unlikely figure of Brian O’Driscoll.

Eight weeks out from the first weekend of the new European competitions – the European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup – the absence of a president to replace Jean-Pierre Lux, is but one of many problems facing the fledgling EPCR. They have also still to elect a chairman of their board of directors, while the body’s director general, Jacques Pinaud, is based alone in the organisation’s de facto new offices in Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

Vacuum

In an ironic twist, such has been the vacuum in the day-to-day running of the European competitions that EPCR have had to sub-contract the 16 or 17 staff in the European Rugby Cup Ltd (ERC) offices in Dublin – who oversaw the Heineken Cup’s huge growth – to effectively run the tournaments for the coming season. It also now transpires that leading English figures in Premiership Rugby (PRL) would prefer the new body’s head office to be in London rather than a remote tax haven in Switzerland, and to have a British president.
Wary of the English clubs gaining too much power and control, the French want a non-Anglo compromise candidate as EPCR’s new president. Ideally wanting a recently-retired player, they regard the 141-times capped ex-Irish, Lions and Leinster captain O’Driscoll as the perfect fit.

Pierre Camus, president of the FFR, is believed to be particularly keen on this idea, as might be Rene Fontes, the LNR representative on the EPCR executive committee along with the other vice-presidents, Bruce Craig (PRL) and Paul McNaughton (Pro 12).

The latter would assuredly be well disposed to the idea of O’Driscoll as president, but the player himself assuredly would not be of a mind to become part of rugby’s political landscape. Apparently O’Driscoll has not been approached yet; besides which, his impending role as a pundit on BT Sport’s coverage of the new tournaments would assuredly be in conflict with such a role.

Eight weeks away from the onset of the new European and Challenge Cups, more pressing still is the absence of any television deal in France following the decision by the Autorité de la Concurrence, the French competition authority, to rule that the deal between LNR and Canal+ for coverage of the Top 14, worth €350 million over five years, was illegal.

Television rights

Although the Canal+ deal will remain in situ for the coming season, and the LNR have until January to put it out to tender again, not for the first time in their history domestic matters may be concentrating French minds more than pan-European affairs. The LNR had been looking for €27m per year for French TV rights to the new competitions, a lofty target in light of the previous €15m per year deal secured by ERC.
Furthermore, although Heineken are expected to renew their association with Europe’s premier club competition, despite the much trumpeted announcement in mid-June that distribution giants X1X had won the tender process to sell commercial rights for the new tournaments, no commercial partners have been signed up.

For Chris Thompson!!!!!

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The Art of Coarse Football

Fireworks, red card and a sneaky sub turn Hearts friendly into farce

• Dinamo fans ejected from Hearts friendly in Lancashire
• Visiting captain refuses to walk after red card

Dinamo Bucharest fans

Dinamo Bucharest fans throw fireworks onto the pitch in the friendly against Hearts. Photograph: YouTube

At first glance, a Sunday afternoon pre-season meeting of Heart of Midlothian and Dinamo Bucharest in the Lancashire village of Leigh is not worthy of much attention. It certainly was not notable enough to draw a crowd of more than 300.

Yet this was to prove a bizarre precursor to the domestic season, largely owing to the antics of the Romanian team and a handful of their supporters. An exorbitant £10 entry fee was more than returned in drama.

The element of farce surrounding the fixture began before a ball was kicked. The venue was switched a few hundred yards – and kick-off moved back half an hour – because of a rutted pitch at Leigh Harriers’ athletics ground. Shot put damage was cited.

Dinamo Bucharest fans throw fireworks onto the pitchAt half-time, half a dozen vociferous Dinamo supporters – who had earlier unfurled banners – were removed from the Leigh Sports Village by stewards after a beer can and fire crackers were thrown on to the pitch. They watched the remainder of the friendly through the perimeter fence, which they sporadically attempted to scale. No police officers appeared at the venue.

Hearts’ Scott Robinson had departed the scene in an ambulance with a suspected broken leg, which was later discovered not to be so serious, before moments of high farce early in the second period.

After a corner was awarded to the Edinburgh side, Dinamo’s captain Laurentiu Rus reacted with such fury that he ran at full pace for 15 yards and pushed the referee. A red card followed; as did the Dinamo player’s blunt refusal to leave the field.

When he did, Dinamo simply threw on an extra player to return the match to its original 11 v 11 format, without the referee noticing. After several minutes of confusion regarding which player had snuck on and consultation between the match officials and the respective management teams, Dimano’s No35 was ordered back to the dugout.

“We were happy for them to put someone else on but the ref wasn’t happy,” said the Hearts’ head coach Robbie Neilson.

A glance back to recent history shows Dinamo have previous for wayward behaviour in a friendly game. Their discipline clearly has not improved much during the intervening two years.

Hearts, who led 2-1 at the interval, won the encounter by the same score. They will have quieter afternoons during the months ahead.

Croke Park and Lansdowne Road

Because of the enormous benefit of major national field sports to national morale, the elected members of Dublin City Council insist that the rates on Croke Park and the Aviva Stadia should be fixed until 2020 at the levels pertaining in 2013 i.e. €528,000 for Croke Park and €437,000 for Aviva to enable support for the major field sports to be sustained by the governing bodies.

BALLYMUN KICKHAMS

“The North West Area Committee acknowledges the work of Ballymun

Kickhams in recent years and calls on Development Department to

initiate disposal procedures which will facilitate their relocation into the

centre of Ballymun Town”

The motion  was unanimously adopted at the April Meeting

ORDER: E. Farrelly was asked to meet with the Club to discuss any

opportunities that may be available to them and to have a proper

evaluation as to what their needs and expectations are. The Committee

agreed to write to Ballymun Kickhams to inform them that the motion

had been adopted.

Melbourne Rebels stun ACT Brumbies 32 – 24

Jason Woodward

Rebels 32-24 Brumbies 

Jason Woodward of the Rebels is congratulated after scoring a try against the Brumbies at AAMI Park. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

The Melbourne Rebels tossed out the form book to upset the high-flying Brumbies 32-24 in their Super Rugby clash at AAMI Park. The Rebels went into the match on the back of three losses while the Brumbies had won four on the trot. But the high stakes of their winning run took its toll on the visitors, who paid dearly for a poor 10-minute period midway through the second half.

The Brumbies saw their 17-12 lead evaporate as full-back Jason Woodward put on a superb show of strength and speed to beat four defenders and touch down in the 59th minute, which he then converted from the sideline. Melbourne should have extended that a minute later but winger Tom English lost the ball as he dived across the tryline.

The Rebels continued to attack and Brumbies lock Scott Fardy was yellow-carded for obstruction, with Woodward again successful with the penalty strike. Melbourne’s second try came through hard-running centre Mitch Inman in the 69th minute. A late try by speedster Robbie Coleman got his side back in the hunt but then another Woodward brought his personal tally for the match to 27 points – including six penalties – to seal the win.

The Brumbies had got off to a flying start, with full-back Jesse Mogg scoring in the second minute and they dominated the early exchanges. Up until the 20th minute the Brumbies had 87 per cent of territory and 69 per cent of possession. But the Rebels showed off their vastly improved defence and worked their way back into the game to hold their opponents to a 10-3 half-time lead.

The margin could have been even less when Melbourne opted for a lineout just metres from the tryline following a penalty. But the buzzer went as the ball was kicked with referee Jaco Peyper calling half-time to the surprise of the home side. In the end it didn’t matter as they celebrated their first win over the Brumbies since 2011.

Brumbies coaching director Laurie Fisher said his team didn’t get enough points from their glut of early possession. He paid tribute to the Rebels, who were hungry for a win. “I think you’ve to give more credit to the opposition,” Fisher said. “We only got one try out of it and that’s probably due to the Rebels’ defence as well as some poor execution on our part.”

Magic

France v Ireland - RBS Six Nations

Watched BOD at UCD, Leinster, Ireland – privilege

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Tries all round!

Lansodwne v Ballynahinch 15 March 2014 002