Sunday, October 8, 2017

Leinster get the bragging rights in the big derby!

 Rory O'Loughlin

Well, it was another enjoyable trip to the Aviva Stadium - I haven't been there to see Leinster lose yet, nor Ireland. Not that I've been there that often. There was a good crowd, a genial family atmosphere, and a bit of good natured banter between the fans. Pretty impressive support for Munster, but then I suppose a lot of them live up here (taking our jobs, stealing our partners etc ).

The game itself was a bit of a relief for me, as Leinster actually turned up and played some decent rugby. They still have to work on their defense, and Munster hurt them a couple of times on the counter attack. But apart from that, our scrum shaded theirs, our lineout was rock solid, we kicked better, attacked better, and our handling was better. We controlled the match all the way through really. Robbie Henshaw made a welcome return, Sexton is looking awesome, and Joey Carbury is combining well with the other backs. Daly and Berne competited well in the air for Sextons kicks, and O'Loughlin took his try superbly. And the pack put in a muscular controlled performance, letting the backs shine.

In fairness to Munster, they are really missing Taute who is a rock in midfield for them. Robin Copeland in the lock probably upset their scrum too. Keatley took his try well but his kicking was ordinary, and their handling let them down. A few tweaks needed. Tommy O'Donnell is a real gem for them.

Ulster overcame Connacht with reasonable ease, with Tommy Bowe putting a good performance, and John Cooney more than earning his keep. Connacht look like they're on the cups of better things, and I think Tiernan O'Halloran was a big loss for them early on.

Saturday 7th October
Leinster 23 17 Munster FT
Benetton Rugby 31 3 Southern Kings FT
Ospreys 18 19 Scarlets FT
Friday 6th October
Cardiff Blues 43 29 Dragons FT
Cheetahs 26 29 Glasgow Warriors FT
Edinburgh 16 15 Zebre FT
Ulster 16 8 Connacht

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