Sunday, December 11, 2011

Leinster the butchers at Bath, and Munster are like Jason from Friday the 13th!

Strings (picture )

Ireland 3 / 4
Scotland 1 /2
France 3 / 6
England 3 / 6
Italy 1 / 2
Wales 1 / 2

I started off the weekend rugby viewing early by taking in Newcastle/Toulon. In terms of interest and excitement levels I put it somewhere between Crown and Dulux, with watching Crown Paint dry definitely having a slight edge over this match. Dulux Paint, now that’s really boring stuff to watch dry.

I thought I was going to catch a bit of the Ulster match on TV on Friday, but I thought wrong, as the match wasn’t shown anywhere in the universe. No weedy excuses Sky, you could have showed it and didn’t. I did, however, get to see the rather excellent Harlequins/Toulouse match. Top of the Premiership v top of the T14, and the Frenchmen were clear winners. They were just better, more skilled, bigger, more physical and clinical. What made it a great match to watch though was the way Quins took the game to them, getting them on the back foot and scoring a good try in the process. There’s no shame in losing to that team, and Quins need to suck their methods into the DNA of their young players.

Saturday I saw the Scarlets/Munster match, another hard fought but enjoyable match. Munster are like Jason, you think you’ve killed him but he always comes back, there’s always a sequel. Munster were pants for the first 20 minutes, the ball was shooting out the back of the scrum, their line outs were shocking, and they couldn’t kick or pass the ball. Scarlet should really have been 15-0 up and that could have the match. Instead, Munster clawed their way back to parity, when they clearly weren’t playing as well as the Scarlets, then got into the lead and never looked back. Munster have leaders like O’Connell and O’Gara that pull together the young talented players around them and give them purpose and direction. Scarlets really let that one slip, but same as Quins, they are paying their dues, and will be back themselves one day.

Sunday I watched the ‘mighty’ Leinster take on Bath, and I watched that one on Sky+, which was handy, so I could fast forward past all the shitty bits. So it took me about 15 minutes to watch the game then. Leinster took three absolutely golden chances to score, hung them from a hook, and butchered them in front of a shocked crowd. Bath have some talent, but they are team in transition, and Leinster should have had them gutted and filleted in the first half. Instead it was Leinster eking out a win with penalties while Bath scored the only try of the match. I think Leinster had ‘bonus point win’ lit large in their minds before the match, all the planning went out the window and it was every man for himself. SOB, you SOB! Oh well, still an away win, and they get the chance to make up at home next weekend.

Finally, I saw the Saracens/Ospreys match in x6 speed. Feck me, Saracens have a big team! Mauritz Botha is a giant, they are all massive, and players like Goode give them a cutting edge too. Fair play to Ospreys for getting a point and living with the physicality. Strings put in a good little cameo. What the Ospreys could have done a with a few cool heads at fly half and scrum half though, they could even have pinched a win.

Connacht lost to Gloucester but certainly didn't disgrace themselves.

Irish got a good win over Metro!

Glasgow 20 - 15 Montpellier 
Bath 13 - 18 Leinster 
Clermont Auvergne 30 - 12 Leicester
Connacht 10 - 14 Gloucester 
Benetton Treviso 30 - 26 Biarritz 
Scarlets 14 - 17 Munster 
Racing Metro 92 14 - 34 London Irish 
Castres 41 - 22 Northampton 
Saracens 31 - 26 Ospreys
Ulster 31 - 10 Aironi Rugby 
Cardiff Blues 25 - 8 Edinburgh 
Harlequins 10 - 21 Toulouse

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