The relief on the faces of those players playing Top 14 rugby in France this weekend when the final whistles blew on their matches was evident.
Irish Examiner: Top 14 Drilldown – Rog turns back the clock, depleted Toulouse show character
The Top 14 international break starts here, 10 unrelenting weeks after the season kicked off on September 4.
Irish Examiner: Ronan O’Gara warns La Rochelle players to ‘look in the mirror’
This short news piece followed an early Sunday-evening email…
Head coach labels Top 14 defeat at bottom of the table Perpignan a ‘nightmare’ – ‘We were taught a lesson in aggressiveness’.
Irish Examiner: Top 14 Drilldown: Coughlan singing in the rain, Rog not pulling punches
Seven matches, a whole lot of rain, a new league leader, changes at the foot of the table and a match described as “English”. That was the ninth Top 14 weekend of the 2021/22 season. And I wrote about it – as I have for most of this season – for the Irish Examiner.
A week to go to France’s first November Test, against Argentina at Stade de France, and most of the talk is about the possibility of a Jalibert-Ntamack 10-12 partnership – and, if it happens, whether it will become a regular sight on Fabien Galthie’s teamsheets leading up to the World Cup.
The Rugby Paper: Azema in for Collazo at Toulon – at a price!
My latest for The Rugby Paper, focusing on a stormy week at Toulon that ended with a match played in a literal storm…
Two stories have gripped French rugby this week – the changing of the coach at Toulon, and the possibility of a Jalibert-Ntamack partnership at 10 and 12 for France when the November internationals kick off next week.
Irish Examiner: Top 14 Drilldown: O’Gara’s hybrid style starts to flow, Toulouse find perfection
My weekly review of the weekend’s Top 14 action for the Exa.
All the weekend’s talking points in French rugby…
Irish Examiner: Top 14: La Rochelle continue good form as Ronan O’Gara’s side win third on the trot
Bit of a surprise one, this. From request to filing was less than 40 minutes, as the Exa asked for a 400-word bit for the paper on top of the usual weekly online wrap.
After a poor start to the season, Ronan O’Gara’s side are now in the top six for the first time this term after beating Toulon 39-6.
The Rugby Paper: Ntamack at 12 with Jalibert 10 is the plan
My latest column for The Rugby Paper – on the possibility of a Jalimack partnership for France in the November internationals … and, perhaps, beyond.
After this weekend’s Top 14 matches, Fabien Galthie’s chosen 42 will head to FFR’s spartan ‘Marcatraz’ headquarters for the pre-November internationals training camp.
Irish Examiner: Top 14 Drilldown: French stars impress. La Rochelle survive boos and kicking woes
Thoroughly enjoying putting together this online wrap piece for the Irish Examiner. This is my review of the seventh weekend of the 2021/22 Top 14 season in France.
France coach Fabien Galthie was due to announce his first November international squad on Monday afternoon.
The Rugby Paper: A lot rests on Kolbe’s shoulders – and knee
A column for The Rugby Paper, on the excitement surrounding the injured Cheslin Kolbe’s arrival in Toulon. Not that we know when he’ll actually play, yet…
Toulon have welcomed a few global superstars down the years – but it’s difficult to imagine any of them have generated the level of excitement an injured Cheslin Kolbe has this week.