Sunday, January 8, 2012

Ulster thump, Connacht slump, Leinster slide in on their rumps, and Munster shouldn't get down in the dumps!

Legend! (picture
Leinster welcomed back their internationals, and put last weeks performance behind them as they narrowly beat the Cardiff Blues at Cardiff City Stadium. The Blues were still in holiday mood for the first 10 minutes, asLeinster ran in two excellent tries that the Blues were interested bystanders to. But  the Blues fought their way back into the match and could have sneaked a win with better kicking. The Leinster pack stood up to be counted, Heaslip was immense, Cronin was lively, Toner played the best match I’ve ever seen him play, and in the backs Kearney and McFadden always looked threatening. Reddan has his detractrors, but he sets perfect tempo for Leinster, like a master traffic director. For the Blues, Halfpenny was great, but I thought I’d see more of Warburton than I did.

Munster looked a bit ring rusty as they beat Treviso and landed the bonus point for four tries. The match was closer than the final score suggests, and Munster have to be concerned with the ease with which Treviso scored their try. The International camp, had the biggest influence on Munster of all the four provinces, but this is the sort of warm up they needed for the Heineken Cup matches coming up. The highlight of the match was Nigel Owens’ dressing down of the Treviso scrum half Botes. ‘I don’t think we’ve met before. I’m the referee, you’re the scrum half, you do your job, I’ll do mine. If you keep on shouting at me, I’ll penalize you – this is isn’t soccer’! Legend! Bloody right as well! Munster had a few good touches, Earls, unrecognizable with a new hair cut was sharp, Zebo was useful, and O’Connell led from the front. They need to calm down a bit when they’re in the red zone, and not descend into one off runners, as they left a good few tries behind. And Treviso, to their credit, are a much improved side.

Connacht were in dismal form as they were trounced by Aironi in Viadana. They can turn it around though, they just need to work on tackling, handling, scrums and lineouts then they’ll be there. They can play so much better than this, and they will next weekend in the Heineken Cup. It’s time for them to settle on a fly half, and from what I’ve watched it should be O’Connor or Nikora. At their best, they have a running style similar to Leinster, but we didn’t see any of that.

Ulster got a good win away to Edinburgh, that’s never an place to come away with a result, and they did it emphatically.

London Irish were back to win winning ways with a close win over Sale.

I watched the Saints/Quins match, where Northampton ran a tank over Harlequins, giving them a comprehensive hammering in every facet of the match. Quins miss Nick Evans badly, and have no big guns to bring in and save the day either, while Saints had a really powerful bench. I’m still expecting Quins to bounce back though. Lee Dickson must be in hot contention for an England place, especially after party boy Danny Care ruled himself out with a series of drink related incidents.

RaboDirect PRO12
Aironi Rugby 20 - 6 Connacht 
Munster 29 - 11 Benetton Treviso 
Cardiff Blues 19 - 23 Leinster 
Scarlets 16 - 14 Glasgow 
Newport-Gwent D'gons 21 - 20 Ospreys 
Edinburgh 20 - 42 Ulster 
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , January 8
Saracens 26 - 19 Bath 
London Irish 21 - 19 Sale 
Saturday , January 7
Worcester 21 - 15 Gloucester 
Newcastle 10 - 16 Exeter 
Leicester 29 - 11 Wasps 
Northampton 24 - 3 Harlequins

1 comment:

  1. I would like to wish Treviso Rugby team more luck in future games.