Sunday, April 19, 2015

Leinster go down fighting

Jordi Murphy 
 Jordi Murphy (picture

Leinster went down fighting in Marseille in a contest that was as tight as a ducks bottom. It wasn’t pretty, there wasn’t much running rugby, Leinster relied on their defence, their excellent set pieces and the boot of Ian Madigan to keep them in th ematch. Madigan was also the man who threw the intercept pass, but at that stage of the match, it was time to take risks, and that one didn’t pay off. The scrum were massive, Murphy, O’Brien, and the front row, all exceptional. The backs never came into the game much, and that is where Sexton will come in when he returns. The only fault we had was a bit of loose kicking – Madigan fluffed two restarts, kicked out on the full a few times, as did Gopperth with his missed drop kick and conversion – he’s is a good standard player, but he’s no magician pulling the strings.

Out of Toulon, Steffon Armitage was probably the pick of the bunch, apart from Halfpennies sweet boot of course. They didn’t play much running rugby either, and this could well be their last win in the tournament. It’s a pretty averge season for Leinster now, but at least they gave it their all.

In the other semi, Clement eased past Saracens, in a match that was much tighter than I thought. Saracens probably play the smartest game plan of any team around, they have great players, but Clermont are possibly the best club team in the  world right now, and at home near unbeatable. It’s an all French affair in the final then, bit ironic when you look at the state of the national team, with Clermont ahead in my book with their superior scrum.

Edinburgh made short work of the Dragons – putting Leinsters loss to them into even more horrid light, with Hidalgo-Clyne the stand out player. Gloucester put Exeter away, I though Exeter were a bit harshly called in the scrum, but apart from that Gloucester were good value for their win.

Champions Cup
Saturday, April 18
Clermont Auvergne 13 - 9 Saracens    14:15
Sunday, April 19
Toulon 25 - 20 Leinster    14:15

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