This match was a battle between one team who wanted to entertain and one that wanted to thwart, and since the home side failed to get the bonus point I suppose you could say the latter came out on top.
Though as hard as I find it to understand, there’s actually a thread over on Babbling Brook which suggests Leinster were wrong to go on the attack so early in the contest, one poster even suggesting that it was their determination to go for the bonus point that ultimately cost them one.
What absolute, utter, complete bollocks. These detractors clearly went to the Eamonn Dunphy School of Punditry, where to get your diploma you have to find as many clouds in you can in some silver lining.
Leinster Rugby had been plugging this match for weeks, as the “Halloween Thriller”, no less. Clearly it was an attempt to swell the crowd by using the fact that the game fell on Halloween night. Fans were encouraged to come in fancy dress, and there was other entertainment billed for the night.
And since it was all over the papers that Warren Gatland insisted the Welsh internationals stayed at home, plus the fact that Leinster had one of their strongest starting XVs of the season so far taking the field, why on earth WOULDN’T they try to give the crowd their money’s worth?
We had two penalty chances in the first few minutes that Johnny Sexton could have gotten in his sleep, but instead we kicked for touch and went for the try. Apparently the fact that we didn’t get them proves we should never have gone for them? I respectfully disagree.
Sure, Cardiff weren’t at full strength, but it was hardly a schoolboy XV they had on the park. They were still full-time professionals, and their goal was clearly damage limitation. They took every opportunity to eat up some clock, most notably deep in second half when we had some momentum and they chose to substitute their left winger Chris Czekaj who was furthest from the touchline.
They lined up in such a way that it made them hard to break down, and though the destination of the four points was rarely in doubt, they at least succeeded in preventing us getting the fifth, and they deserve credit for that.
But credit must also go to the home side, not only for their early statement of intent, but also their opening try by Shane “Shaggy” Horgan. I think my message to twitter right after it claimed it wasn’t merely “champagne rugby” it was Dom Perignon! Have a look at the YouTube clip of the sweeping move from one end of the field to the other yourself if you don’t believe me.
So at least the Halloween crowd was treated to a moment of rugby greatness, and my son for one thoroughly enjoyed his first taste of the RDS and is hungry for more.
And with results elsewhere going perfectly for us, we are left top of the Magners League going into the Autumn Internationals, and surely even the Babbling Brook boo-boys can’t find a way to moan about that!!!
Back to Sexton, who yet again was my man of the match, I repeat my call for him to be given the Number 10 jersey for the internationals against Australia and Fiji. We’ll see if Mr Kidney will answer the call.