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Summer Rugby: Japan and USA at Aviva Stadium



Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Irish rugby fans were disappointed at the Rugby Union’s cancellation of the three-test series planned for Fiji. The good news is that Ireland will be hosting both Japan and the USA at Aviva stadium in July. At first glance, it may seem that Ireland is set to slaughter these teams, but let’s look more closely at these matches before leaping to conclusions.

Betting on Rugby matches isn’t as easy as taking a flutter on football, with many external factors to consider. Still, you’ve got plentiful betting markets to choose from, and if you follow a few simple Rugby Union betting tips, you can win some extra cash. A few of the factors that can affect the outcome of a match include the availability of players, injuries and prior fixtures.

Ireland Vs. Japan July 3

The Irish team is ranked fourth worldwide, and Japan comes tenth, with Ireland winning seven of the last eight matches played between these two teams. No Irish fan can forget the last time these teams met at the 2019 Rugby World Cup. The Brave Blossoms defeated Ireland 19-12 in their group match, forcing Ireland into a quarter-final with New Zealand.

Japan’s coach, Jamie Joseph, called up 19 of the former World Cup players for the 36-man squad that will face the British and Irish Lions on June 26 before the July 3 match in Dublin. The manager plans to keep everything simple, relying on players that have international experience and proven form.

In the backline, Matsushima Kotaro joins the team in Europe from his French club, and we’ll also see former Munster winger Gerhard van den Heever playing in Edinburgh and Dublin. Kazuki Himeno is also joining the team in Europe, returning from a season with the Otago Highlanders.

Although hampered by limited preparation time, Japan’s management sees the tour as an opportunity to further develop Rugby Union in their nation. They hope to repeat or improve their performance at the World Cup and prove that they deserved their place in the quarter-finals.

Andy Farrel also takes these games seriously. The Irish tour to the USA and Japan four years ago proved worthwhile. With eight of his key players called up for the Lions, Farrel may decide to try some up-and-coming players against what should be weaker teams.

We should see some of the players snubbed from the Lion’s selection back to prove a point. We expect Joey Carbery and Garry Ringrose to make the cut, although 35-year-old Johnny Sexton may have to watch from the sidelines. James Ryan in the number five jersey is slated to captain the team.

We also expect to see new caps awarded, and there’s no shortage of talent to choose from in that regard. Munster’s Gavin Coombes would be a top choice for the back row, with Leinster’s number eight Caelan Doris returning to fitness for the matches.

The Irish team seems set to develop into a force that can proceed past the 2023 world cup quarter-finals with all its available talent. The lads will also want revenge for their 2019 defeat at the hands of The Blossoms, which forced them into a quarter-final match with the All-Blacks.

Ireland Vs the USA July 10

The Dublin match will be the Eagles’ second test since the 2019 World Cup, with punters able to judge their form in the July 3 match against England at Twickenham. Although the team hasn’t assembled in almost two years, coach Gary Gould has spent the last year tracking players and identifying new talent.

Although only ranked at number 16, the American team will be eager to prove their mettle and prepare for 2023 world cup qualifiers against up-and-coming teams in the Americas. With rugby gaining momentum on these continents, they’ll have to be on top form to secure a place in France.

The USA and Ireland have played 10 tests against each other, with Ireland emerging victorious each time. The last test between these two nations was at Aviva Stadium, with Ireland winning 57-14. The most significant Irish win was in 2000, with a final score of 83-3.


Although history shows that Ireland is the stronger team in both tests, the players and teams haven’t had much preparation, levelling the playing field slightly. The Brave Blossoms have also proved that they’re capable of delivering a surprise. All three teams will be using these games as essential preparation for Rugby World Cup qualifying matches.

Betting on these matches won’t be as straightforward as we’re used to. Sometimes the best players don’t meld well together as a team. With no recent games to prove these team’s form, choosing how to bet won’t be easy. Still, we’d bet on handicap markets, winning margin or take a punt on the first try–scorer.

6 Nations

Sean O’Brien to retire from rugby



Image Credit: London Irish

London Irish can confirm Seán O’Brien is set to retire from rugby at the end of the 2021/22 season.

The back-row forward will bring a storied 14-year career to a conclusion this summer after two-and-a-half years with the Exiles.

O’Brien spent eleven seasons with his home province of Leinster, winning four Pro12/ Pro14 league titles, four Heineken Cup/ Champions Cup honours and an Amlin Challenge Cup, whilst also earning the ERC European Player of the Year accolade in 2011. 

He was capped 56 times for Ireland between 2009 and 2019 and represented the British and Irish Lions on two tours, firstly to Australia in 2013 and then to New Zealand in 2017. 

O’Brien joined London Irish in December 2019 and has played a vital part across three successful seasons in west London, becoming a fan favourite amongst the Exile Nation. 

On his decision to retire, O’Brien stated: “After much deliberation and consultation with my family and friends, I can confirm that I have decided to retire from playing professional rugby at the end of the season.

“I’ve had an incredible career and am thankful for every second of my time at Leinster, Ireland, London Irish and the British & Irish Lions. 

“As a 20-year-old, I fulfilled my childhood dream by pulling on the Leinster jersey, and when I made my debut against Cardiff Blues in 2008, I never imagined what would then follow over the next 14 years. 

“A special mention must go to Colin McEntee for his ‘big brother’ approach when I joined the academy. 

“I feel lucky to have experienced so many wonderful highlights over the course of my career.

“At an international level, I feel privileged to have won 56 caps for Ireland. 

“I gave everything I could possibly give, and I will always look back with great pride at every time I pulled on the Irish jersey to represent my country, my county, my friends, and family.

“I feel very fortunate to have had the career I’ve had but none of it would have been possible without the support of so many people.

“Firstly, I would like to thank my Mam and Dad for taking me to Ballon Rathoe Community Games and then Tullow RFC when I was 8 years old. 

“They took me to every sport in my area which gave me the exposure to all types of sport. 

“They were the perfect role models who taught me to not be afraid of hard work, which certainly helped me progress my career and I can’t thank them enough.

“I was lucky to play alongside some great players and under some brilliant managers and coaches during my time at Tullow, Leinster, Ireland, London Irish and the Lions and I would like to thank every one of them. 

“I would also like to thank the backroom staff at each of those clubs, they all showed me fantastic support during my time with them.

“I would like to say a special thank you to some people who believed in me early on in my career, who are sadly no longer with us. 

“Jim Kealy (Tullow RFC) and David Wilkie (Edenderry RFC) always said the right thing to me and gave me direction when needed.

“Away from rugby, I feel lucky to have had such a close group of friends that I have always been able to count and rely on throughout the course of my career. 

“Thanks to all of you, especially James Foley and Daniel Davey. 

“Finally, the most important thank you is reserved for my family. 

“I can’t thank my Mum, Dad and brothers (Stephen and William) sisters (Caroline and Alex) enough for their unconditional support over the years. 

“It has meant everything to me and to have 6 nephews watching means the world to me.

“There is still a lot of rugby to be played this season before the time comes to hang up my boots, and I am fully focused on giving my all in the London Irish jersey until then. 

“I’m going to soak up every minute I get on the pitch and look forward to helping the team wherever I can.

“I am excited about the future and feel I still have a lot to offer the game, in whatever capacity that may be. 

“I am currently taking my time to consider a number of options and will make an announcement with regards to the next stage of my career very soon.”

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6 Nations

Ryan And Baird Ruled Out Of Scotland Game. 2 called up.



Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

The Ireland squad returned to Dublin on Saturday evening following the victory over England at Twickenham and reassembled at Carton House on Sunday evening.

James Ryan will not be considered for selection this week and his return to rugby protocols will be supervised by the Leinster Medical Team. Ryan Baird is ruled out of the final fixture of the 2022 Guinness Six Nations with a back issue.

Uncapped locks Ross Molony and Joe McCarthy have been called up to train with the squad. Ross has been involved in Ireland squads since the summer of 2021 while Joe, a former Ireland U20 player, made his Leinster debut against Cardiff in January having impressed for Dublin University in the Energia AIL.

Robert Baloucoune, Nick Timoney and Mike Lowry all return after lining out for Ulster in the URC against Leinster at the weekend.

Ireland play Scotland in the final round of the 2022 Guinness Six Nations Championship on Saturday 19th March at 4.45pm. The game is being televised by Virgin (ROI) and ITV (NI).

Ireland Squad Round 5 2022 Guinness Six Nations Championships

Backs (16)
Bundee Aki (Connacht/Galwegians) 36 caps
Robert Baloucoune (Ulster/Enniskillen) 2 caps
Joey Carbery (Munster/Clontarf) 31 caps
Jack Carty (Buccaneers/Connacht) 11 caps
Craig Casey (Munster/Shannon) 5 caps
Andrew Conway (Munster/Garryowen) 30 caps
Jamison Gibson Park (Leinster) 16 caps
Mack Hansen (Connacht) 3 caps
Robbie Henshaw (Leinster/Buccaneers) 56 caps
James Hume (Ulster/Banbridge) 3 caps
Hugo Keenan (Leinster/UCD) 19 caps
James Lowe (Leinster) 11 caps
Michael Lowry (Ulster/Banbridge) 1 cap
Conor Murray (Munster/Garryowen) 95 caps
Garry Ringrose (Leinster/UCD) 41 caps
Johnny Sexton (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 104 caps CAPTAIN

Forwards (19)
Finlay Bealham (Connacht/Buccaneers) 22 caps
Tadhg Beirne (Munster/Lansdowne) 29 caps
Jack Conan (Leinster/Old Belvedere) 26 caps
Gavin Coombes (Munster/Young Munster) 2 caps
Caelan Doris (Leinster/St Mary’s College) 16 caps
Tadhg Furlong (Leinster/Clontarf) 56 caps
Cian Healy (Leinster/Clontarf) 115 caps
Dave Heffernan (Connacht/Buccaneers) 6 caps
Iain Henderson (Ulster/Academy) 67 caps
Rob Herring (Ulster/Ballynahinch) 25 caps
Dave Kilcoyne (Munster/UL Bohemians) 47 caps
Jeremy Loughman (Munster/Garryowen) uncapped
Joe McCarthy (Leinster/Dublin) uncapped
Ross Molony (Leinster/UCD) uncapped
Peter O’Mahony (Munster/Cork Constitution) 83 caps
Dan Sheehan (Leinster/Lansdowne) 6 caps
Nick Timoney (Ulster/Banbridge) 2 caps
Kieran Treadwell (Ulster/Ballymena) 4 caps
Josh van der Flier (Leinster/UCD) 39 caps

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6 Nations

Johnny Sexton Signs Contract Extension to 2023 Rugby World Cup



Photo Credit - Irish Rugby

Ireland and Leinster out-half Johnny Sexton has signed a contract extension up until the end of the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

In November Johnny earned his 100th cap for Ireland against Japan and played a pivotal role in Ireland’s third defeat of New Zealand. He hit the milestone of 500 Six Nations Championship points against Wales in Round 1 of this year’s tournament and has represented Ireland on 103 occasions to date.

The former World Player of the Year was appointed Ireland captain by Andy Farrell in January 2020 and has led the team to ten victories in his 13 game tenure as the on field general.

Johnny made his international debut against Fiji in November 2009 and has represented Ireland at three Rugby World Cups (2011, 2015 & 2019). Johnny is a two time Lions tourist (2013 & 2017) and has won three Six Nations titles with Ireland and five European Cups with Leinster. He has represented his provinces on 178 occasions, scoring 1549 points.

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented: “Johnny’s performances continue to be of the highest standard and he remains an integral member of the Ireland and Leinster squads.  He has always been a leader on the field and in the past two years since taking on the Ireland captaincy his leadership off it has been top class. Johnny is a generational player and we are delighted that he has extended to 2023.”

 Johnny Sexton, commented: “I always said that if I am enjoying my rugby and the Ireland and Leinster set-ups believe I can add value to the environment then it would be an easy decision to sign another contract.  There is some great talent coming through at Leinster at present and I am excited about the prospect of competing at a fourth World Cup with Ireland and the potential for growth in this group between now and then.”

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