Longford RFC Club News 29/03/2021   30/03/2021

Rugby Digest

The 2021 Six Nations ended with a cracking match between France and Scotland on Friday night past.  The match was rescheduled to this date after a Covid outbreak in the French camp earlier in the Championship.  The match was anything but a dead rubber with France able to secure a first Six Nations Championship since 2020, should they score four tries to secure a bonus point and win by 21 clear points to cancel out Wales point differential, at the top.  Scotland had focused a lot of their motivation on being disrespected by commentators, who they said were only talking about the margin of a French win and if they could overhaul Wales rather than Scotland looking to secure their best placed Six Nations finish in years and prove that they were on an upward trajectory.  However, as has happened throughout the 2021 Six Nations, Scotland overturned the home advantage and the pundits predictions to score a late victory and thwart ‘Les Bleus’ championship hopes.  Scotland have become a very dogged side to play against, coupled with a big threat out the backs ably lead by Stuart Hogg, with big South African wing Duhan Van Der Merwe also proving a big hit in attack.  As sometimes happens with the favoured team, France’s focus seemed to be on racking up the four tries and points differential, without putting in the hard work first.  Scotland made it difficult for them and if you can be in with a shout against the French late on, there is always a chance of an upset.  Credit to Scotland on scoring away victories in Twickenham and the Stade de France.  

Overall, this was one of the most exciting and unpredictable Six Nations in years, with all teams excluding Italy potentially able to beat the other on any given day.  For Wales it was something of a redemption, especially for coach, Wayne Pivac.  They certainly rode their luck at times but stayed in games and played better and better rugby as the Six Nations went on.  For France it was one that got away, especially against England and Wales. However, Fabien Galthie has a very young squad, dotted with world class players such as Antoine Dupont and seem to be ominously building toward the World Cup in 2023.  Ireland finished the Championship with a superb display against England, which left most supporters with a definite glass half full outlook.  Everyone including the squad, management and supporters would have liked to see Ireland play again this week, purely to see if the performance versus England is a new benchmark for performance and style under Andy Farrell or merely one of those big performances against the old enemy.  Scotland definitely have made progress and are now a hard side to beat with a hardened pack of forwards and magic in the backs.  However, they are very reliant on a few players, none so than the brilliant Stuart Hogg to make things happen and do not have great squad depth, although you could argue the same as regards Johnny Sexton and Ireland.  England are in a state of flux and maybe it is the players are jaded with Eddie Jones very intense style of coaching.  He probably needs to renew the squad as there are undoubtedly a number of players such as Sam Simmonds, who are crying out for international recognition.  The last time England finished fifth, they regrouped and went all the way to World Cup final.  Interestingly some of the English papers carried stories over the weekend that Warren Gatland was being sounded out to take over!  Lastly and very much least comes Italy.  The trip to the Eternal City is undoubtedly one of the best weekends away in the Six Nations but this cannot justify the continued inclusion of a team that are now merely making up the numbers.  Surely, it is time to look at a promotion/relegation playoff into the Six Nations for the winners of the European Championship, normally Georgia, to get a shot at playing on the biggest stage and give Italy a chance to regroup against lower standard opposition? 

Six Nations 2021 Final Table




















































Finally, Leinster made it four in a row as regards Pro 14 titles.  There was a general feeling that this could by Munster’s year, as they went into the final fully loaded including Joey Carberry, while Leinster chose to leave many of their Six Nations stars such as Sexton, Furlong, Gibson Parke and Lowe on the bench.  The only player Munster had missing was RG Snyman.  Furthermore, the general sentiment was that Munster could use the hurt of losing so many Semi-Finals and Finals against their arch foes and the motivation of the impending retirements of CJ Stander and Billy Holland to push them over the line.  Like true champions who have the habit of winning, Leinster did not read that script and after weathering a Munster storm towards the end of the first half, never looked back.  In truth the score line could have been a lot better from a Leinster point of view, with them being held up over the line three times, allowing for two missed penalties by Munster.  It was always looking ominous for the red army if Leinster were in the lead moving past fifty minutes, as they had their stellar bench to onload.  Leinster’s Ireland players, fresh from the England win, performed outstandingly well with Conan, Van Der Flier and Henshaw to the fore.  The likes of Tadhg Beirne, CJ Stander and Keith Earls struggled to make the same impact.  Munster must now swiftly pick themselves off the floor for the visits of the French aristocrats, Toulouse to Thomond Park on Saturday, while Leinster welcome another French side, Toulon to the RDS on Good Friday.  Two home wins would be great but going out at this stage is not the end of the road for the Irish teams for this season, as a new competition, the Rainbow Cup, has been bolted on to the end of this season to accommodate the four ‘Super Rugby’ South African sides with a view to them entering the Pro 16 proper next year.  It is also the only chance a lot of South African players will have to warm up, for the Lions tour in June, assuming it goes ahead.

It starts with derby round’s; Leinster will take on all the Irish sides and then then three of the South African sides.  The tournament is configured in a similar manner for all teams, with each team playing six games and a final between the top two (whoever has the most points at the end of the six games).  All the Pro-14 matches versus South African sides will be played in Europe to side step travel restrictions.

Irish Champions Cup/Challenge Cup Fixtures

02/04/2021 Leinster v Toulon RDS KO 17:30

03/04/2021 Munster v Toulouse Thomond Park KO 15:00

03/04/2021 Leicester v Connacht Welford Road KO 20:00

04/04/2021 Harlequins v Ulster The Stoop KO 20:00 

Skills Challenges

Log on to our Club Community Rugby Officer Dylan Quinn’s Twitter page for weekly skills challenges from Dylan and other Leinster CCRO’s https://twitter.com/quinn_dylan

The Longford/Mini Youth Section have also launched an initiative where club coaches will be posting weekly skills challenge videos.  Log onto https://www.facebook.com/minisrfc to view these.

 It is tough for everyone not being able to train but now is the time to work on your skills especially something you have always wanted to work on as hopefully come September rugby will be back in full swing.  Why not contact your coach and ask him to help you plan a training strategy which you can do from you own home?


All collective training is currently suspended in line with Government and IRFU guidelines.  At the moment, there is no date for a resumption of activities but needless to say we will be ready and willing as soon as we are allowed to do so.  It is possible that a Rugby 7s programme will take place during the Summer to allow players to get back playing rugby.  Rugby 7’s on faster harder pitches is normally a great spectacle.

We would urge all our players and members to keep active during this time. 

New 3G Pitch

Like all non-essential construction sites work on our new state of the art 3G pitch has been suspended since the start of the year.  However, be assured that all systems are ready to go to take advantage of the improving weather to have the pitch ready to go for the start of new season, when hopefully we will be back to playing rugby.


Great news, www.longfordrugby.com is back up and running with an updated club crest, which goes back to the future and an updated header and footer.  Check out our website for all things Longford Rugby and more.  If you want to contribute articles or pictures, they are welcome, please email lrfconnects@gmail.com.


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