Connacht Extends Contract With Bealham

The Ireland rugby international Finlay Bealham has signed a new contract with his team Connacht Rugby and he will be seen playing for the team till the 2019 summer. It looks like the Connacht team management was pretty much impressed with the show that Bealham put up last season.

The 24 year old prop is capable of playing on both sides of the scrum and this was showcased during the last season. Bealham had featured in all the 31 games played by Connacht Rugby team last season that involved PRO12 and European Rugby Challenge Cup. This could be one the reasons for Connacht to extend his contract.

The CEO of Connacht, Willie Raune, said that the team was happy to have Bealham retained in their squad. He is mighty pleased with what Bealham has achieved has come into the team through the Academy system. His game and play has developed tremendously and this is evident from the rise he has shown on the international stage in the past few years.

Finlay is very important to Connacht and for the vision of the club. Willie is sure that Bealham has a very bright future ahead of him with the club as well as his international team.

The head coach of Connacht, Lam, said that Finlay is entering this season after a very successful season for Ireland as well as Connacht and he will be a force to reckon with for the next three seasons. He is impressed with the attitude and the dedication of Finlay and is sure that he will continue to be a team man in the upcoming seasons. He is very popular with other Connacht players and has a lot to offer for the team as a front row player. Bealham said that he did not have to think twice to sign the extension contract with Connacht.

Ireland Rugby Team Gets A New Coach

Ireland gets a French coach for a small rugby club located in West Cork.

Munster rugby has obtained a celebratory coach recently. Johan Erasmus would be taking up the director position in this province. Even though this club might be still at amateur levels, it has definitely taken a step to spruce up its acts and to help the team develop skills to the next level.

If you look at Bandon RFC, it is a local club of rugby which has been found in a town that has about 6500 people as its population. Regis Sonnes has been hired to coach for the team who is considered one of the premier coaches among Top 14 forwards. Sonnes will be coaching the first team and oversee the development of different age grades as well. This will commence from the next season. Sonnes had been coaching star players at Bordeaux Begles. Now he would be working with players developing their amateur rugby playing skills. This move was possible when the club has partnered with the Bandon Grammar School. They are pooling together their resources so that they are able to afford the services of a full time coach who would be able to look into the development of both teams.

Conor Slattery is the director of Rugby for Bandon. He had acquaintance with the captain of Bordeaux Begles team and when he stated that he was looking for a coach, Sonnes was suggested by him. Sonnes was also looking to get some experience in coaching teams overseas. Even though Sonnes is one of the best coaches of the Top 14 it would have been hard to convince him to move to a small town in Ireland. Hence, the Frenchman was invited to visit West Cork with his wife. Once they saw the place and what was being offered, Sonnes was ready to come on.

Mike Ford Set for Leinster Role

Leinster was quick to react after the surprise departure of defense coach Kurt McQuilkin. The Leinster province did not waste much of its time and started to carry out discussions with many coaches to fill the shoes of Kurt.

There is no doubt that Kurt had left a void, according to Leo Cullen, the head coach. He had to leave due to family reasons and it is for Leinster management to bring in someone with a positive attitude into the squad.

McQuilkin is leaving the team before the 2016/17 season opener against Treviso, slated for 2nd September. Leinster has made a massive effort in finding a replacement for Kurt and has spread their net far and wide. Leinster had Graham Henry and Andy Farrell in their mind, but they are out of reckoning now. Farrell will not be able to devote a lot of time to Leinster rugby as he has international duties to attend to coming in November.

Henry returning to coach Leinster is most unlikely after he had returned to New Zealand after a two week stint at Leinster. John Fogarty, the scrum coach of Leinster, said that he has his roles to play for the New Zealand international rugby team and also his family is located there. So, Mike Ford is the best bet as he brings in a lot of experience with him. He has been with the Irish rugby for many years and has also the experience of the coaching Irish national team as a defense coach from January 2002.

Mike Ford is looking to put his coaching career back on line by coaching the Leinster province. The move to Leinster would help Ford to return to Ireland where he has worked previously under Eddie O’Sullivan as the defense coach from 2002 to 2005. His appointment would bring to Cullen’s coaching team a lot more experience.

Six Nations reaches pivotal weekend

This Six Nations returns this weekend having taken a well deserved breather last week, with teams again set to battle it out for victories over their Northern hemisphere rivals.

Ireland

It is hard to look anywhere else for the tie of the round, as England host Wales at Twickenham on Saturday evening in what could well be the title decider.

Having started confidently in their new era under Eddie Jones, England will be looking to banish painful memories of their World Cup exit to their neighbours, which eventually contributed to their exit at the group stage. For Wales, Warren Gatland’s side will be looking to build upon recent victories against Scotland and France.

There is huge expectation from both sides heading into the fixture, with no clear favourite revealing themselves this time around. Unlike in the 1970’s when Wales consistently defeated their rivals or during England’s glory years under Sir Clive Woodward, this match is delicately balanced, with Wales certainly not fearing a trip behind enemy lines.

A potential return for England centre Manu Tuilagi after a 15 month international absence through injury could well provide the home side with an added boost going into the tie, although he looks set to be named amongst the replacements.

Elsewhere on this Six Nations weekend, Ireland host Italy in Dublin hoping to recover from a defeat to England last time around, whilst a Scotland side still bouncing from a first Six Nations victory in two years, host a France team struggling for consistency under Guy Noves.

With this weeks fixtures looking too tight to call, compare the odds on latest events and sit back and enjoy what is sure to be a treat for rugby fans. Wales’ superior experience in such situations may well prove to be the difference when bookmakers compare odds. However, with many players enjoying a rest last week, they will certainly be raring to go come game time.

With Southern hemisphere coaches dominating the Six Nations this year, it remains to be seen who will come out on top. With two Kiwi’s leading Scotland and Wales, and an Aussie in charge of England, it is perhaps a worrying time for home grown coaches in terms of their potential progression to the international arena.

It certainly adds another dimension to the Six Nations Championship this year however, as it remains to be seen who will be the most pleased come the end of the tournament.

Can Ireland win the 2016 Six Nations?

Ireland have won the last two Six Nations competitions and will be chasing down a third consecutive success in the tournament. Although they have lost a number of key personalities, Joe Schmidt’s side is still extremely talented and the Irish will be quietly confident of achieving their ultimate goal in 2016. We take a look at their chances of success in spring’s competition.

2015 Player of the Tournament Paul O’Connell hung up his boots after Ireland’s disappointing exit in October’s World Cup. The Irish lock suffered a tournament-ending injury that cost him the opportunity to lead his team out against Argentina and they missed his presence as they fell to the Pumas at the quarter-final stage of the competition.

Ireland will be one of the leading candidates to win the tournament but the likes of England and Wales will also fancy their chances of success. Punters will have to compare odds from various bookmakers via Bookies’ website to ensure they get the best odds on Ireland to succeed. If they perform like they did last year, they will be very hard to beat.

Despite losing O’Connell, Ireland still have plenty of experience in their ranks. Jamie Heaslip has taken over as captain and Jonathan Sexton has an abundance of quality and knowledge to advise the younger members of Ireland’s squad. Schmidt will try to keep the bulk of the squad the same, however he must give some players the opportunity to prove their worth.

Ireland may have suffered a disappointing defeat to Argentina, however they can still hold their heads high after a decent tournament. They weren’t the most exciting side in the competition but managed to secure some impressive victories throughout the group stages.

If Ireland perform at their very best, they should cruise to a third successive Six Nations title and many who are confident enough should already head to Bookies and check out their odds with various bookmakers – full listings are available here and their price will only shorten as the tournament approaches.

England may be a threat but are currently undergoing a transitional period after appointing Eddie Jones as their new manager. Stuart Lancaster lost his job after a difficult World Cup and Ireland will believe they are capable of beating England at Twickenham.

Meanwhile, they will host Wales – arguably Ireland’s closest rivals for the crown – in the opening fixture of the tournament. Warren Gatland’s men are perhaps the most complete side in the competition. They will have a number of players back from injury and will fancy their chances of going all the way and lifting the title.

Despite losing their rock O’Connell, it is incredibly difficult to back against Ireland. Three home games will help Schmidt’s side but you have to feel that the away fixture against England will be the crucial one. Win that, and Ireland will secure the title. Anything else and the Irish may struggle to win a third straight crown.

Deans backing Ireland to win Rugby World Cup

Ahead of the Rugby Union World Cup, ex-Australia coach Robbie Deans has said that Ireland can win the tournament, and that the team is ideally placed to take home the coveted trophy right now.

“Ireland are absolutely one of the sides in contention for the World Cup,” Deans said.

“This is going to be a great World Cup. There’s more uncertainty in terms of the ultimate winner than there’s ever been. And there are more sides capable of getting onto the podium than ever before, and that’s great for the game.

“Joe Schmidt has started really well at Test level,” he continued, speaking about the New Zealander.

“Ireland are very well-placed I think right now; the timing of this World Cup is good for them. They’ve got a good nucleus of experience, and they’ve shown there’s no one in the world they can’t beat, and that includes the All Blacks.

“They are very well-placed and Joe’s played a big part in that. One of the biggest challenges will be that they will want to suffocate us,” added Deans, now coach of the Japanese side Panasonic Wild Knights.

“And they won’t want to give us too many scraps, they will make us work very hard just to get our hands on the ball. So we’ll have to make the most of the opportunities we get. In terms of their game they are a very ambitious with their style of play.”

Ireland are likely to be one of the favourites to win the tournament and fans can get great odds as the competition draws nearer.

“They have a well-structured, well-organised game but they do create a lot of stress in set-piece position, and then they go hard at the line; they want to dent the line in order to be able to run off it.”

Ireland centre Gordon D’Arcy, meanwhile, has confirmed that he will retire after the World Cup to spend more time with family.

“It is a decision that I have not come to lightly but one that sits very easily with me and indeed with my wife, Aoife, and we are confident I am making the decision for the right reasons,” said Darcy.

“I am so proud, fortunate and honoured to have represented my province and country for 17 seasons but I am leaving on my terms which is how everyone would wish to end their professional rugby careers.

“Throughout it all, I have been honoured to have played with an array of talented players, be coached by great coaches and to have played for the best supporters in the world,” he continued.

“It has always been an honour to represent my country. I hope to continue that over the coming months and help to achieve something with this very special group of players and staff at the Rugby World Cup.”