Sunday, November 3, 2013

Leinster and Munster just about get the job done, while England get home with a bit of intensity and luck

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First up for me was Leinster v the Dragons, I’d said that LOeinster would lose, so all in all, I was pretty pleased. It was scrappy, and they were hanging on for dear life at the end, but I’ll take it! Leinster had all their Irish internationals yanked out, and had a few players making their debut off the bench – generally not very auspiciously – so it was never going to be a flash performance. When you’re on your third choice scrum half, it’s not going to be fluid. Positives to take out are the scrum, who looked imperious, and the form of Zane Kirchner who never looked flustered, and even better, looked like he was enjoying himself. The Dragons crowd weren’t too happy with the ref, but if you’re going to give away silly yellow cards and ship 14 points in 5 minutes you only have yourselves to blame.

I was sorry to see Ulster falter but the Scarlets are the Jekyll and Hyde’s of the PRO 12, you never know what you’re going to get. Connacht, meanwhile, did well to get a point out of Glasgow.

Finally, it was a top of the table clash between Munster and the Ospreys, both obviously a bit strung together with their internationals gone.  This was not an expansive game, this was a stick it up your jumper game, and once Munster got the grip of that,  and stopped passing to the opposition, they slowly ground their way to victory. Duncan Williams is no Peter Stringer, but I thought CJ Stander, Dave O'Callaghan and Dave Foley all put in good shifts.

England  v Australia was a tough, gritty match, which England edged with more intensity and a bit of luck. The Aussies had the better of the first half, and then England came roaring back, a pretty creditable performance for their first of the season. Australia can’t buy luck or a win at the moment, hopefully they’ll continue the trend at least until they play Ireland.

RaboDirect PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 19 - 23 Leinster 
Edinburgh 25 - 23 Zebre 
Cardiff Blues 17 - 13 Benetton Treviso 
Connacht 12 - 19 Glasgow
Munster 12 - 6 Ospreys
Scarlets 17 - 9 Ulster
England 20 - 13 Australia 

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