Armed with all the usual seasonal puns for this post, and given our demolishing of the Scarlets, I was expecting this to be a Christmas cracker in which we’d knock the stuffing out of our visitors. Instead we were served up something more resembling cold turkey.
Setanta’s commentators seemed to spot an entertaining quality in this contest from their booth that I just couldn’t see from my seat in the Grandstand. I reckon the fact that the score at 45 minutes was the same as it was at fulltime says it all.
Of course it has to be said that Leinster will have an elephant in their room for the next few weeks with the crucial Heineken Cup pool match in Reading on the horizon, so despite the fact that we had our best lineup on the park while the northeners were without Ferris, Trimble, Wallace and for the first half Humphreys, there are blessings to be counted in four league points and no injuries.
In fact you have to wonder if the LettinOn Irish will take heart from Ulster’s performance. They clearly came to Dublin with a mentality similar to Mick McCarthy’s Wolves when they played at Old Trafford a few weeks ago…and they very nearly earned themselves a bonus point for their defensive trouble.
Leinster’s success has been built around their prowess when their opponents have the ball…but it seems they struggle when opponents give them a taste of their own medicine.
The two tries we did get on the day needed strokes of luck and genius respectively for their execution…D’Arcy’s offload to Kearney was clearly forward for the first try, while Rob was clearly back to his high-kicking best as he caught his own Garryowen and quickly offloaded to Heaslip who steamed down the touchline to be able to give his Sheareresque salute before touching down.
But you can’t fault Cheika’s men for hanging in there in the Magners League…to be second at the halfway stage is just fine and with Connacht away on Saturday and current table-toppers Glasgow to follow, we’ll have every opportunity to improve on that before the bigger contests come around.