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'Ultimate speed bump': The John Cooney reaction to TV pundit praise

By Liam Heagney
John Cooney celebrates Ulster's win over Leinster (Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

John Cooney has celebrated the painful lengths he will go to to help Dan McFarland’s Ulster achieve success. The effort of the 33-year-old scrum-half was pivotal in his province’s New Year’s Day URC win at Leinster and he has now reacted on X to that body-on-the-line, one-point RDS victory.

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It was Bernard Jackman, another former Ireland international, whose comments on the inspired Cooney resulted in the No9 commenting on social media.

Following the 22-21 rain-soaked contest, which put an end to Leinster’s nine-match winning streak this winter, Jackman posted a clip from the game that showed Cooney making a try-saving tackle when it seemed certain that Dan Sheehan was about to score following some maul chicanery.

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Jacques Nienaber on evolution and why he left international rugby

Former Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has given his first Leinster press conference and at it spoke about how big a role family played in his decision to leave Test rugby. He also spoke about evolution and how it will take a while to get things right at Leinster.

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Jacques Nienaber on evolution and why he left international rugby

Former Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber has given his first Leinster press conference and at it spoke about how big a role family played in his decision to leave Test rugby. He also spoke about evolution and how it will take a while to get things right at Leinster.

Jackman said: “Great win for Ulster in the RDS and Billy Burns was superb. I know he got his head on the wrong side but this is some tackle by John Cooney to stop Dan Sheehan scoring in the corner.

“Especially as he would have seen him late with the NFL-style obstruction from the maul.”

Delighted that his successful last-ditch tackle has been highlighted, Cooney replied: “I’ve had three shoulder surgeries and neck disc damage, but I would still dive in front of anything for this jersey! I’m the ultimate speed bump.”

The victory lifted Ulster into fourth place on the URC table, six points behind leaders Leinster with nine of the 18 regular-season fixture rounds played.

They now have a break from league action until the middle of February, with the focus shifting to their upcoming Champions Cup games at home to Toulouse and away to Harlequins.

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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