If you’re looking for a metaphor for Leinster’s 2009/10 campaign to date, Ica Nacewa’s opening try couldn’t be further from it. With the exception of a 30-0 drubbing of an opposition whose name escapes me, there’s been nothing “runaway” about any of our victories to date.
And the way the first half went at the RDS Friday night, the only way we were going to score would be an intercept try, since the visiting Welshmen seemed to have borrowed Clermont’s “how to play Leinster” playbook and had us pinned in our own territory most of the time.
But as effective as that gameplan may seem on paper, there’s one crucial component to make it work…you HAVE to establish a sizeable lead early, because if the boys in blue are still there or thereabouts in the last 15 minutes of the game, you’re always going to struggle to come out on top as several sides have learned in the past few months.
As it turned out, despite an impressive showing from the star-studded Ospreys particularly outhalf Dan Biggar, they only went into the break 16-10 ahead, and when Shaun Berne (who although he wasn’t taking place kicks impressed at 10) made early 2nd half pressure tell by crossing to bring us back into it, the tide had turned and to be fair the visitors can count themselves lucky to get away with the bonus point.
A couple of missed kicks by McFadden together with a Berne drop goal which could/should have been called good might have made the final margin wider, but we’re more than happy with our 7th Magners victory in a row which leaves us just four points from a guaranteed 1st seed in the new playoff format.
With Connacht and Glasgow away to come in quick succession before the big showdown in Toulouse, surely Michael Cheika will take our strong standing on the table and focus on squad management in the near future.
Despite our high winning percentage to date, all it takes is two defeats at the wrong time and it will all be for nought. It’s certainly all to play for, and I’m in no doubt Leinster have the squad to keep this impressive winning streak going to the finish line.