Sunday, April 16, 2017

Leinster and Munster win the derbies!

 Josh van der Flier

Leinster came away with a bonus point win and a home semi final from their trip to the Sportsground in Galway. I was pleased with the Leinster performance, from a team which included only a few players likely to feature next week. I wouldn't a take a lot of pleasure from beating Connacht though, they are a team that is always struggling against the odds. Add in Matt Healy, Jake Heenan and guys who've left like AJ McGinty, Ali Muldowney and Robbie Henshaw, and it could have been a different match. As it was, it was a day when both teams threw the ball around and took chances, and the crowd were treated to plenty of tries, with the lead changing hands several times.

For Connacht, O'Halloran and Marmion were superb, and for Leinster, Van der Flier, Maloney, McGrath and Ross Byrne put in strong performances. Leinster have scored 20 more tries than anyone else this season, and are building nicely to finish the season with a bang.

It was a far tighter affair at Thomond Park, with Munster just sub their normal performance levels, and Ulster trying too hard and not being able to get the passes to stick. Charles Piatau didn't look like he wanted to be there. Ulster could have gone up to third, but as it is they hang in fifth, with a tough run in. It sums up their season, they could have won the match but still lack a bit of real grunt, and don't have the composure when the opportunities present themselves.

The highlight for Munster was the debut of Angus Lloyd, who added a lot of pace and variety to their attack. However the injury to Rory Scannell is a big blow, as he's been a rock in their midfield.

April 2017
Saturday 15th April
Cardiff Blues 35 17 Ospreys
Munster 22 20 Ulster
Dragons 16 21 Scarlets
Treviso 21 6 Edinburgh
Connacht 24 37 Leinster
Friday 14th April
Glasgow Warriors 45 10 Zebre