Thursday, October 2, 2014

Has to be Leinster! Also, I'm saying the Springboks and the Pumas.

 Performance needed (picture

The BIG match of the weekend, in Ireland anyway, has to be Leinster v Munster. Albeit, it’s 5th v 6th, and one team is going to come out of this with a played 5, won 2 record. And that team is going to Munster obviously! Of course the match is pretty finely balanced, neither Leinster nor Munster has been setting the world alight so far, but this is a match they’ll always be up for. Home advantage definitely gives Leinster the edge, plus I don’t think everyone is on the same page at Munster, they certainly didn’t have plan B for the Ospreys.  For Leinster, Reddan and Gopperth and their game management are absolutely key, as well as the ability of the pack to stand up and fight. And for Munster, still, it’s about the forwards, their ability to batter Leinster (go on, they’re no relation). If they can disrupt Leinster by force and intensity, that’ll be the key to their victory. Still going with Leinster though.

Connacht have named a strong team for the Cardiff Blues, who also arrive with a potent looking line up. Another acid test for the ‘new’ Connacht, its 4th v 10th they should win this. Think if the weather plays along they’ll do it.

Ulster have a strong team out for  Edinburgh, with Bowe and Payne included, looking to bounce back after last week’s embarrassment against Zebre, caused in fairness by Fitzpatrick’s red card after 10 minutes. If they can subdue Edinburgh’s forwards they should be fine, and Edinburgh aren’t good tourists.

In the Rugby Championship, the competition is dead, but… two massive matches coming up. The meeting between the Springboks and the All Blacks last year ranks in my mind as one of the best matches ever, and I think this year’s won’t be far behind. It’s a match both teams will refuse to lose, and the Springboks will be near fanatical in their attempts to win. The Springboks and the Al Blacks are clear one and two now, but it’s whether the Springboks can find that extra 10% and exploit any tiredness from all the travelling New Zealand have been doing. I really think the Boks can do it, of course I thought that last year too, but I’m going with them. Aside from the match, the All Blacks kept it classy off the field as well as on, taking time to posing with legendary Springbok and motor neuron disease sufferer, Joost Van Der Westhuizen. That’s why I love rugby.

Finally, the Australian men’s drinking team rolled in to Argentina, with the unenviable task of keeping a desperate Pumas side out. Kurtly Beale has been ejected after an in-flight contretemps, which won’t have helped. Think this is one for Argentina, and a bit of pressure starting to mount on Ewen McKenzie

Guinness PRO12
Friday , October 3
Connacht vs Cardiff Blues  
Ulster vs Edinburgh  
Zebre vs Ospreys  
Saturday , October 4
Leinster vs Munster    18:30
Sunday , October 5
Benetton Treviso vs Glasgow    14:00
Scarlets vs Newport Gwent D'gons    16:00
Rugby Championship
Saturday , October 4
South Africa vs New Zealand    17:05
Argentina vs Australia    19:40

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