Sunday, April 29, 2012

Heineken Cup - Ireland 2 Europe 0

Ulster, at their temporary home of the Aviva Stadium, kicked off the weekend with their match against Edinburgh. The flags waved, the sun shone, and a good time was had by all. I didn’t give the Scots nearly enough credit for how well they were going to play, producing a running style of rugby that I’m sure the whole of Scotland would like to see more often. If either of the teams looked like they had stage fright, it was Ulster, who got a bit of a shock with the way that Edinburgh ran at them. It was a step down in intensity from the Munster match for them, they like to be underdogs as well! What is it with Irish teams? Ruan Pienaar was ice cold with his place kicking , but Laidlaw was none too shabby either, and the match the whole way through was wide open, staying within one score. Ulster’s senior players lead the way home though , playing smart, finals rugby, keeping it tight and grinding out the win.

Well talk about flags waving , if you had a euro for every flag waving at the Clermont Leinster match, you’d be rich. Those French crowds are ultra passionate, and the racket, the flag waving, and the booing of Wayne Barnes was second to none. Wayne Barnes has now turned another nation off to him, I don’t think he did a bad job at all, but then I wouldn’t, would I. Leinster did get a lot of the tight calls, but that’s swings and round abouts, in the blue of Leinster and the green of Ireland they’ve been at the rough end of a few decisions themselves., and the team that scored the try won.

Leinster started hard, and gave Clermont a fright with their early intensity. But they French turned it around, and it was all Clermont at the end of the first half, going into the break with the lead. Now Leinster were proper underdogs, they were happy. Cometh the hour, cometh the man, and that man was Rob Kearney, splitting open the defense with a run that lead to Healy’s try, and putting in a drop goal as good as you’ll see. After that, Leinster stayed on the front foot, up until the last unwatchable 5 minutes, when Clermont rocked them back with wave after wave of attacks, and Fofana came within inches of stealing a win. That brings to an end Clermont’s run of 42 home games unbeaten, incredible really. Good thing they don’t play Leinster too often! Also, a record 14 Heienken Cup wins a row for Leinster. Not that I’m boasting or anything. They have a few things to sort out, namely an appalling line out, but apart from that , it couldn’t look better.

Job done, the final in Twickenham is 100% Irish!

Best tweet of the weekend @nathinhines to @seanobrien : ‘My team is playing the Hcup tomorrow – please can I get a retweet’

Heineken Cup
Ulster 22 - 19 Edinburgh
Sunday , April 29
Clermont Auvergne 15 - 19 Leinster

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic matches as always in the Heineken Cup.

    Can't wait for the final!