Sunday, January 18, 2015

Tricky weekend for the Irish teams, with only Leinster getting a win.

 21 October 2013; Connacht's Matt Healy during squad training ahead of their Celtic League 2013/14, Round 6, match against Leinster on Saturday. Connacht Rugby Squad Training, Renmore Recreation Centre, Galway. Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE

Tricky weekend for the Irish teams, with only Leinster getting a win.

Munster had a tough day at the office against Saracens on Saturday.  It just wasn’t happening for them, too many dropped passes, poor scrumming, and cheap penalties. Saracens seem to always be going forward with purpose, while Munster, apart from a purple patch in the second half when they got their try, played in fits and starts. They really missed Murray, both his control of the match and the physicality he offers around the fringes. A couple of players put their hand up – I thought Felix jones was excellent, while Denis Hurley goes from strength to strength, and both must be in the Ireland frame now.

Ulster also had a difficult day on Saturday, conceding 8 tries against the Galactecos of Toulon. It was always going to be a tough ask, and not helped by a rash of early injuries. What you can say for the Ulstermen is that they stood up and fought as well as they could – they picked the strongest team   they had available, and played right  to end, picking up a four try bonus point.

Leinster finally turned in the performance that the fans have been waiting for. Castre are long out of this competition, but they at least still brought their full squad  if not their A-game. Leinster had their tempo back, and attacked relentlessly   running in 7 tries altogether. The starting 15 played well, the subs all had an impact, and if they can keep that momentum going they could top their group. Castres would have been slightly peeved to have scored a perfectly good try, and see Leinster get a penalty, but apart from that they should have no complaints.   Hard to pick stand out performances, everyone was good!

Finally, Connacht fell to a very committed Exeter side. The men from Galway had a good first half, then saw it all slip away. Their scrum couldn’t handle the pressure, and they just played way tto loose. They did get a try bonus point though, and Healy and Carty, kicking aside, were excellent.         

Glasgow 21 - 10 Montpellier        
Saracens 33 - 10 Munster        
Toulon 60 - 22 Ulster        
Leinster 50 - 8 Castres        
Sale Sharks 13 - 22 Clermont Auvergne        
Harlequins 3 - 23 Wasps    
Leicester Tigers 40 - 23 Scarlets
Connacht  24 - 33 Exeter Chiefs

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