Sunday, April 5, 2015

Madigan sees Leinster home!

 Ian Madigan ( picture

Leinster started the weekend of Champions Cup with an astute win over Bath. If they’d tried 1% less, missed one more tackle the game would have been up for grabs, but with Madigan on song, they played in the right part of the field, held on to the ball, and kept the scoreboard ticking neatly. George Ford was excellent for Bath, but also left 5 points behind they could have badly done with. While Leinster defended well (except of course against Ford, who they couldn’t seem to see), and trucked the ball up efficiently, they don’t seem to have the x-factor on attack anymore. Yes it’s a no from him, a no from her and a no from me. Luke Fitzgerald tries to use his dancing feet, but the cutting running lines which were the signature of Leinster’s play, has departed with BOD. Bath could have won that match with less mistakes, but Leinster live to fight another day.

Northampton had a bit of a nightmare against Clermont, ‘bit of’ being a major understatement. The Frenchmen were absolutely rampant, ripping the Saints apart in the most clinical manner you canimagine. Absolutely beautiful to watch, apart from the Northampton fans, but Clermont had it all, pace skill, power. Clermont are absolute favourites to take the title, if they can just keep this form.

Saracens played a really smart game to take down Racing Metro in Paris. It wasn’t always pretty to watch, and they had a bit of luck as Racing Metro butchered a couple of tries, but they played to plan, and had a great variety to their game that Racing found hard to contain. I really liked the grubbers they were putting trhough, which caused chaos in the Racing defence. It doesn’t get any easier for them though, they have Clermont to face now.

Finally, Toulon played within themselves to beat Wasps. It wasn’t one sided at all, Wasps scored some good tries too, and Leinster won’t go into their semi final with no hope. Toulon had an awesome team, but it not’s the youngest around that for sure, so if Leinster can keep the pace up, and can hang in until the last 20 minutes, you never know what could happen.

Connacht didn’t have their best night against Gloucester, they didn’t start that well, and they didn’t seem to be attacking with enough venom to be troubling the Gloucester defense often enough. But they gave it their all, and to end the game within a score is some achievement. If Pat Lam can keep this team together, the wins will start to accumulate.

Champions Cup
Saturday, April 04
Leinster 18 - 15 Bath    14:15
Clermont Auvergne 37 - 5 Northampton    16:45
Sunday, April 05
Racing Metro 11 - 12 Saracens    11:45
Toulon 32 - 18 Wasps    14:15

Gloucester 14 - 7 Connacht    18:45

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