Both committed foot-soldiers of the 12-county army, RK & Z convene to ponder the province’s fortunes…
#1 : THE 11TH HOUR
A public house, somewhere in south Dublin...
Z: Gonna be interesting tomorrow looking at the teamsheet. I see Hagan is back too.
RK: Yeah, decent looking pack. A lot of youth in the backs & midfield. Will be hard to get a win this weekend methinks.
Z: Indeed. It’ll be interesting to see if Carr has matured at all, as in spent the summer doing weights.
RK: New season, fresh start. He's got the gas, but he needs to concentrate more on his offload & definitely his defence. Isn’t he on North's wing?
Z: Staring down the barrel. Make or break match for him so.
RK: Yup. Big duck to try and break, the traditional losing of the first game.
Z: It can be done! Just not tomorrow.
RK: I've my doubts too to be honest, looking like a strong Scarlets side. I fancy Ulster to squeak it tonight though.
Z: Yeah they should do - depends on how much of a hangover from the Heineken Cup final they have confidence-wise. Munster have it easy in comparison, though it could be interesting, looks like the Edinburgh are actually going to play in the league this year.
RK: I reckon they'll be bucked up by doing as well as they did, even without silverware. All in all it was their most successful season in years, and they'll be looking to build on it. Reckon they could too.
Z: I think it’s more to do with the fallout than anything else. Reckon there may have been words behind the scenes about their attitude to the league.
RK: I was talking about Ulster!
Z: Ah yes could be a great fillip for them. It should help them but will have to wait and see.
RK: But yeah, I reckon there have been words had about Edinburgh’s “selective” focus last year. Can't have a European competition without a domestic one, and Scottish rugby has enough problems as it is.
Z: Indeed. Has to have been it was a disgrace.
RK: I think it was a one season deal. Bradley's smart enough to know he wouldn't get away with it more than once, and it was great for their profile & I’d imagine the players are well set psychologically for the new season.
Z: Have to wait and see, but I reckon so.
RK: Fairly full strength side they're putting out. Certainly a statement of intent.
Z: Most definitely, but it’s also their first home game.
RK: Plus Bradley knows full well to make hay while the sun shines and all the Irish internationals are being 'managed'.
Still, Munster have a fairly decent squad going over as is.
RK: True. Not an easy place for a win at the best of times. Will be tight for them at best. Be interesting to see how Dougie gets along with his captaincy.
Z: Yes indeed. Never really seen him as a direct vocal leader, rather as by example.
RK: Never really held much truck with winger captains, but he's got the head for it. And I think a leader by example suits Munster down to the ground. We'll see how he gets on with his ref haranguing skills.
Z: Could well be.
RK: Necessary part of the game these days!
Z: That’s going to be the hardest part. Yeah but the difficulty will be in having to come off the wing every time a move, ruck, scrum is broken down or pinged. Wingers in their nature never too central to the action.
RK: Less than ideal position on the pitch to make calls on alright. Still, closer than the touch judges at least.
Hopefully more vocal too. So, Connacht?
Z: They’ll be fine.
RK: Blues may be there for the taking.
Z: Yep too many players lost. Nice side Connacht are putting together too.
RK: And you do not simply walk into a win at the Sportsground. Could be a surprise win there.
Z: Don’t think it would be much of a surprise win to be honest. More likely you walk into the driving rain and wind at the Sportsground than anything else.
RK: Too true. Pint?
Stay tuned to HarpinOnRugby for more views from the Laighin Pit…