Sunday, September 25, 2016

Connacht struggle, Leinster, Munster and Ulster fly, and Jonny 1 - Dan 0!

The animal that is Cian Healy

Friday night saw the visit of the Ospreys to the RDS. The Welshmen have caused us lot of problems over the years, and with Biggar and Alun wyn Jones on board, it looked like this visit would be no different. But Leinster ver 2016/7 had other ideas, they came screaming out of the blocks and hit the Ospreys like a ton of bricks. This was potent, high tempo rugby, with lots of players putting their hand up - Cian Healy is playing like an animal for a start! Jonny Sexton made an assured return, Josh van der Flier just never stops, and it's been a really smart move to continue playing Ringrose and Reid in the centers, there's a real understanding building up now between them. And Isa Nacewa is worth his weight in gold. Leinster obviously have a lot of work to do to keep focused for 80 minutes, but with more continuity in selection, that should come.

For the Ospreys, Justin Tipuric was excellent as was Alun Wyn Jones, but apart from that they looked ordinary for long stretches. And it has to be said, cough, Jonny 1 - Dan 0!

Ulster pulled off a fantastic win at Scotstoun, Leinster came close, but they went all the way, with Paddy Jackson playing a blinder by the sound of things.

Munster got a bonus point win over Edinburgh, who were sorely misseing their regular front row. That scrum dominance bled into the rest of Munster's game, and they were full value for their four tries. But the match was stop a start all the way, with injuries, substitution confusion, and a lot of knock ons. Great performances from Stander, John Ryan and in particular Conor Oliver - cometh the hour, cometh the man!

Finally Connacht are just out of luck this season. They played a lot better than they have, but still came up short. They are missing the players who left, and just making too many mistakes - how many fluffed lineouts, and Marmion charged down twice on his line. They are going to get there eventually, but the bar seems to have been raised across the board by all teams this season. Adeolukan looked brilliant, lots of good performances across the team,close  but no cigar. And in fairness, the Scarlets finally delivered on the bags and bags of talent in their team.
 
24 Sep 2016
Scarlets 17-8 Connacht
Munster 28-14 Edinburgh
23 Sep 2016
Glasgow Warriors 17-22 Ulster
Leinster 31-19 Ospreys
Benetton Treviso 27-11 Newport Gwent Dragons