Sunday, October 27, 2013

Leinster go from side to side well, forward, not so well

Stuart Olding (

There were a host of matchs this Friday night, and just one on Saturday. I picked the Glasgow Munster match to watch live , and recorded half of the Ulster match.

That’s more like the Munster we used to know, a harder more abrasive style, and really just one moment of magic from JJ Hanrahan separating the sides. He’ll be pushing for more starts with form like that. Other stand out Munster players for me were Billy Holland, and James Cronin, both shaping up as names to watch. And honorable mentions for Archer and Kilcoyne – where did all these props come from? The watch just about wasn’t spoilt by ineffectual refereeing, which seemed to be the flavour of the weekend.

Ulster showed their form against Montpellier was no fluke, beating the Cardiff Blues in some style.  They have a lot of firepower out there these days . Stuart Olding is someone I really enjoy watching these days – he added a threat coming into the line, and linking with Jared Payne who seems to have a ridiculous amount of time on the ball. And in the pack, great matches from Ricky Lutton, and Lewis Stevenson. Ulster are picking up where they left off last year.

Finally for the Irish sides, a nugget derby to round things off as Connacht turned in a typically competitive performance to nearly pull one off against Leinster. The first half was theirs, but Leinster owned the second half, with the introduction of Mike McCarthy  giving them the scrum dominance that ultimately won them the game. You can see Matt O’Connor’s influence in the scrum with Martin Moore and Jack McGrath showing some serious form. Not Michael Bent as much, but he is just back from injury. Leinster seem to have lost their cutting edge though, they go from side to side well, but forward, not so well. Umpteen midfield combinations don’t help that, but they are missing something thats for sure. The ref seemed to feature way too prominently in the match, and not decisively either.  One that got away from Connacht, and a lot more work need by Leinster.

Finally, I also caught the Currie Cup final, which really need bang! and kapow! appearing in bubbles to go along with the action. Enjoyable stuff, physicality from the top draw, but great tries too, as the Sharks grabbed the cup back. Pieter-Steph du Toit is 20 year old juggernaut that the rest of the world is going to find out more about soon…

RaboDirect PRO12
Zebre 16 - 16 Scarlets 
Ospreys 40 - 17 Newport Gwent D'gons 
Glasgow 6 - 13 Munster 
Edinburgh 20 - 13 Benetton Treviso 
Ulster 39 - 21 Cardiff Blues 
Leinster 16 - 13 Connacht

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