As the full time whistle blew at the RDS yesterday, Jamie Heaslip raised his hands in the air in jubilation.
Though of course the home fans were happy Leinster had reached the quarterfinals, it was the mother of all anti-climaxes to a pool campaign which promised so much before Christmas.
And it’s not as though we did a whole lot wrong in this game. But it has to be said, that for the entirety of our last three outings, we have failed to score a try, and when you look at our backline, that is not a record to be proud of, even if we did win two out of those three.
It was like Messrs Whittaker, Nacewa, O’Driscoll & Contepomi formed some kind of a black hole into which the ball would be sucked after every phase, and that the two men on the park who actually seemed to be capable of making something out of nothing, Kearney and Fitzgerald, had to rely on scraps falling off the grownups table.
This has to be rectified at once, for once you are into the knockout stages of this competition you can ill afford to rely on your goal-kicker’s boot for victory, however celebrated he may be.
Luke Fitzgerald is too good to be stuck out on the wing, but if you MUST play him there, then for God’s sake do whatever you can to get him the ball. And I mean into his HANDS, as he’s running at pace. Two or three times they tried to find him with cross field kicks that were just never on.
And though Rob Kearney showed some flashes of brilliance, they only came when he was given the ball by the opposition, and quick-footed though he may be there was just too much real estate for him to cover before he’d be forced to pass the ball on and it would once again get sucked into the black hole.
A word has to be given for the forwards as well, I’m not sure much more could be asked of them and they gave a plentiful supply of good ball to their backline.
To put it simply, playing like this offensively against Harlequins will put our ailing Heineken Cup campaign out of its misery.
But of course there is another factor to be considered.
Thanks to the ludicrous European rugby calendar, Michael Cheika, like the seven other remaining quarterfinal coaches, can only now sit and pray that the upcoming Six Nations tournament doesn’t decimate their squad.
So by the looks of things, I reckon Leinster will need to summon the spirit of their famous victory in Toulouse back in 2006 to get anything from the Quins, who surely will play the match at Twickenham.
We can only wait and see.