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Nicholas Bishop

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Joined January 2016

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Nick Bishop has worked as a rugby analyst and advisor to Graham Henry (1999-2003), Mike Ruddock (2004-2005) and most recently Stuart Lancaster (2011-2015). He also worked on the 2001 British & Irish Lions tour to Australia and produced his first rugby book with Graham Henry at the end of the tour. Three more rugby books have followed, all of which of have either been nominated for or won national sports book awards. Nick’s latest is a biography of Phil Larder, the first top Rugby League coach to successfully transfer over to Union, entitled “The Iron Curtain”. He is currently writing articles for The Roar and The Rugby Site, and working as a strategy consultant to Stuart Lancaster and the Leinster coaching staff for their European and Pro 14 playoff matches. Leinster achieved the double of European Champions Cup and Pro 14 league winners in 2018.

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Cutler is an interesting story, because IIRC he was in something of a rugby wilderness before Alan Jones identified him. It took a fresh pair of eyes coming from the outside to realize his value as a lineout operator.

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

The 2019 6N will tell us a lot on that score R. It will be highly competitive with Wales on a long unbeaten run and having both England an Ireland at home this year. It will be tough for Ireland to repeat last season’s Grand Slam.

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Yes – it prob also helped that the Bokke’s second row resources were not as rich as they usually are. I doubt ‘Moaner’ van Heerden and Keven de Klerk would rank high in the pantheon historically!

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

I’d always prefer to see a Joe Launchbury ahead of Kruis I think Sherry 🙂

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

“whatever your opposite number can do or deliver, at least match it or better it on the park. In other words read what’s going on, adapt and deliver.”

It’s a great starting point in your planning Freddie, and I’m sure Ireland had it in mind after Brodie superb display against England. Should also give props to Dev Toner, who had one of his very best games for Ireland vs. NZ.

Someone like Adam Coleman for example, should relish such a challenge – and part of it in his case would be to be aggressive but without the concession of unnecessary pens 🙂

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Not conceding too many against the Azzurri is not exactly an advertisement though John… The average points shipped against the ABs and England is somewhere in the high 30’s from memory!

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Yep I seem to remember that stat too Carlos – and Petti by no means a huge man by modern standards – Lofty Nel size in fact!

Is life in CA slowly getting back to normal now?

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Cheers BF, thanks for the heads-up…

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

… yes, and a great pity we do not see as much of Nakarawa as we might internationally. He was a big part of Glasgow’s rise to prominence in the UK before he left for France…

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

It was a steady tale of decline after his outstanding performance in the SR final against the Lions C…

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

No worries Jig – it’s nice to be able to use the time after the season ends to reflect on some broader aspects of the game (inc how it is played in other countries), you don’t get that chance so much during the season proper…

It will be interesting to see who goes and who stays – I suspect they will keep MC and sacrifice one or two assistants 🙂

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Tbf Geoff Whitelock looked dog-tired on the European tour, he had played so much football… On the other hand perhaps Brodie suffered the drawbacks of not playing enough top drawer football over the course of the season because of injury. I imagine both will be carefully managed in 2019 to produce their best when it counts 🙂

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

It appears Cheslin Kolbe stands a good chance of being the new Shane, could be a star for SA at the WC next year Hugo…

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Yes I anticipate the 6N will form a big part of my off-season coverage Riddler. There seem to be a lot of folk here who like to hear what is happening in the NH – and ofc how Aussies up North are going!

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Thank you for setting the scene so evocatively MZ! I already look forward to your next article 🙂

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Yes Aaron Smith was not quite his imperious self in 2018, which is prob why TJ got so much more playing time. 9 is becoming quite a physical position (again), so it may be that there is a chance for a Bryn Hall or a TTT to make a move on the position…

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Good spot BF – he will be under pressure for his spot from Laulala and poss even Taavao before the WC.

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Yes I think the Campbell/Cutler combination was the first time that a combination of two ‘number 5’ lineout operators had been picked together successfully. Before it had always been one lineout specialist and another more rugged, all-purpose forward.

After it happened countries were pretty quick to follow suit. For example England started selecting Paul Ackford and Wade Dooley together, even though previously they had only been considered as rivals for the same spot. That partnership was highly influential for the Lions on the 1989 tour.

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Staniforth had some pretty influential games off the bench for the Brumbies IIRC… whatever happens to these guys when they get up to SR level??

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Aye John – a great player and a scholar…

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

I always remember the story about ‘Bubba’ Paris who played for the 49ers. He had a pre-season weight limit of 318 pounds which earned him a big bonus if he stayed underneath it. Sadly he spent pre-season at around 350-360 typically – until he had a dime ground down so that he could jam into the weighing machine at just over 315! It took Bill Walsh a few seasons to cotton on to that trick!

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

“I think that James Ryan was born a mature player, totally lacking any petulance, mean streaks, always concentrating on the basic tasks of his position.”

I could not have put it better myself MZ – he was born with that good head on his shoulders and it is only a matter of time before he becomes Ireland captain. I feel Itoje has been suckered into playing that niggly, confrontational role rather too much for his own good – maybe the Eddie influence?? It’s taken something off the development of his game…

Describe the scne before you as you wakes up please – that has become a great tradition on this forum now 🙂

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

Yes Dan Vickerman had that typical hard-nosed, implacable Springbok quality didn’t he? And he formed an ideal combination with Nathan Sharpe too…

The ‘Ox’ prob had the quick feet, as well as the size to be able to be play Guard or Center in the NFL. Ofc he would have had to have put on a few pounds to become another Nate Newton!

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

They will prob identify the key veterans who need to be more carefully managed throughout the year leading up to the WC Fionn – at least that is the way it usually works… The three you mention would certainly form part of that group, prob Sam Whitelock too after his astronomical workload this year.

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin

It will be very interesting to watch how Dane Coles goes in 2019 BF… Ofc, he is the wrong side of 30 now and will he be able to uproot a hooker as good as Codie Taylor?? Big Q right now.

How Ireland won the battle of the big men in Dublin