Sunday, May 19, 2013

Leinster and Toulon prosper...

I watched the Leinster Stade Francaise with a fair amont of trepidation – there’s a good word. I wasn’t sure about the team that Joe Schmidt had picked, and thought Stade had looked impressive beating Perpignan. I guess that’s why I write a blog and Joe is just about to coach Ireland. With consummate team management, he’s 2 from 2 in the knock matches in the last two weeks, and has a fresh team going into the Rabo final. Quinn Roux is starting to come into his own, prop xxxx had a decent outing, and McFadden and Madigan could go a long, long way as a centre pairing. This was one touch rugby from Leinster – get one chance, string passes together, try! They made it look embarrassingly easy, and their defense was more than able to cope with anything Stade came up with. I hope we some game management and new faces like that from Scmidt in the Ireland job too.It’s not the Heineken Cup  - but is A Cup!

Then on to the final itself, as Dublin was overrun with rugby fans. The first half was brutal in every sense of the word – no tries, a penalty each, and unbelievelable physicality. It had Clermont playing all the rugby, and Toulon just about holding them out. Then after half time – two quick Clemont tries (which I missed because I was getting the salmon en croute ready to put in the oven –as you do) and it looked like the game was up. How Clermont lost it from there, I don’t know, but they’ll be deeply sickened they didn’t go on to close this out, as Toulon hung in, snatched the lead and defended it.  I really wanted Clermont to win, and thought they deserved to, but they have only themselves to blame for not going on and winning it. – that and Toulon’s defense. Fair play to Toulon for holding their nerve.

Heineken Cup
Saturday , May 18
Clermont Auvergne 15 - 16 Toulon 
Amlin Challenge Cup
Friday , May 17
Stade Francais 13 - 34 Leinster

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