Sunday, September 29, 2013

Leinster Ulster and New Zealand get the BP's

Good to have you back (
Leinster looked a lot sharper as they rolled over the Cardiff Blues at home. They have a bit of work still to do – Cuthbert, class as he is, got in way too easily for his try, and they lose their shape and their way a bit too regularly. BOD just adds class to the backline, everyone feeds off his confidence, Heaslip has added grunt and leadership to the scrum, while Healy is such is a big part of the team. They are starting to motor again, and with some tweaks on defense, they are shaping up well for the season. Madigan’s try for the bonus point was the highlight of the match. For the Blues, there is so much talent there, but it doesn’t come together, Halfpenny and Cuthbert must wonder sometimes why they stick it out.

Ulster got a good bonus point victory out of Treviso, and Munster got the job done against the Dragons. The men in red still look like a team in transition, but it’s starting to come together. While I like some of the things they are trying with the backline, I think they should play to their traditional strengths and concentrate on a forwards based game. How profound is that!

In Cape Town, it looked like South Africa were going to tear Australia limb from limb at one stage, when they got two quick tries in the first half…but they kind of last their way after that. A couple of yellow cards, and a lack of concentration let the Wallabies back into the game, and the bonus point eluded them, which probably means this Championship is gone. They have all the talent out there, they use their bench well, but it’s still not quite happening in the top two inches. Australia are struggling – a horrible trip to Argentina to try and avoid the wooden spoon is all that left for them now.

The All Blacks had to be a bit patient, but once the Argentinean adrenaline ran out in the second half, New Zealand eased through the gears and ran out convincing winners with the bonus point to boot. Argentina didn’t do themselves justice – the intensity and vigor of their defense is second to none, but their handling was nearly comical sometimes. This tournament would be a hard ask for any team in the world to join, it’s going to take time, but I think in a few years you’ll be going to Argentina expecting to lose.

RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 17 - 24 Glasgow 
Ulster 32 - 13 Benetton Treviso 
Leinster 34 - 20 Cardiff Blues 
Edinburgh 9 - 22 Scarlets 
Connacht 26 - 43 Ospreys 
Munster 23 - 9 Newport Gwent D'gons
Rugby Championship
South Africa 28 - 8 Australia 
Argentina 15 - 33 New Zealand 

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