Sunday, January 17, 2010

Leinster-27 Brive-10

BOD Brive

SUPER OFFLOAD TAKES A LOAD OFF

There’s a good chance I’m the only Leinster fan on the planet who had negative thoughts about Brian O’Driscoll’s last-gasp try at the RDS.

The reason?  Some urgent though not life-threatening family business required me to forego travelling to the game in person, and the crucial score, preceded as it was by a cracking offload by Shane Horgan, happened right in front of where I would have been sitting (I can even see the faces of two of my mates in the above photo).

But despite that missed opportunity, what a weekend it was for the Irish provinces, and I suppose the best results went to both Connacht and Leinster, with the former booking their place in the quarterfinals and the latter getting a massive favour from the Scarlets yesterday.

I was forced to watch RTE’s highlights package that evening and have to say I was a bit annoyed they weren’t able to show footage from the Showgrounds in Galway.

And I was also bemused by reports that Leinster hadn’t played too well on the night.  Perhaps that is true, but they got the result.  Once in a while it’s ok for us to put a Munster spin on things you know!  If they had played the same way with the same outcome it would no doubt have been a “typical display of southern grit and determination”!

Besides…considering we had Sexton and Jennings back after prolonged spells on the sidelines, AND we had a frustrating couple of postponements over the cold snap while our visitors, albeit with 11 starting changes from their last Top14 match, have shown good form of late in their domestic league so signs of rust in our performance would be understandable.

So the way things stack up now, both Leinster and Munster require any kind of victory in their final matches to ensure a home quarterfinal, and that’s as good a position as any team who lost their first game in this competition can ask for.

I mean no disrespect to Ulster’s chances of progressing in the Heineken Cup when I say this, but with this year’s new format which has three HCup pool runners-up parachuting into the Amlin Challenge Cup, the possibility of having ALL FOUR provinces in the two European finals is a distinct possibility!

Of course that’s a pipedream, but it’s also a reflection of the confidence that is all around in Irish rugby at the moment, and hopefully we’ll get some more good results next weekend so the good vibes can be brought through to the Six Nations!

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