Sunday, September 07, 2008

Cardiff-16 Leinster-16


If I really thought this league was worth taking seriously I’d be saying that Cardiff must really be kicking themselves right now for not winning this match.

The only two positions at which Leinster were not outplayed on the evening were at numbers 4 and 5, where Toner and O’Kelly respectively put in accomplished performances.

Everywhere else across the park we were beaten, and the only thing for me between us and a losing scoreline was the fact that the home side paid us way, too much respect and opted for drop goals when they could have surely crossed the line at least once more for a five-pointer.

The way things shaped up, the team that finished the match for Leinster could very well be the XV that should have started it, particularly the backline.

For all of O’Driscoll’s huffing and puffing, it never looked like he and Contepomi (who seems to be carrying an excess pound or two this season) would break the line and our only real attacking option seemed to be the new boy Ica Nacewa, who proved this by following up his own kick for our only score on the night.

But what can you say about a Leinster squad that can bring on the likes of Girvan Dempsey and Luke Fitzgerald from the bench. And with van der Linde, d’Arcy and captain Cullen all to come back, you can only assume things can get better for this bunch of players, especially when the real competition starts, ie the Heineken Cup.

All in all Michael Cheika should be happy to be travelling back to Dublin with two points in the bag and an unbeaten record intact.

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The original opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of Leinster Rugby, the IRFU, Gavin Henson or anyone else who isn't JL Pagano.