It’s Munster v Leinster time, here’s Keego’s take on it…
And here we go…
The season kicks off in earnest this weekend. Usually this would mean me bidding adieu to the wife for an undetermined amount of time and heading off to our nations premier stadium, Lansdowne Road, with a twinkle in my eye and far too much Guinness in my belly (six pack).
This time, she is stuck with me while I sit on the couch with the OLSC president in waiting James Chew to watch the match in glorious HD (Horgan Definition). Ordinarily I would welcome the opportunity to go and take on our arch rivals on their home turf but they still haven’t recovered from the last time I was in Thomond. Many a Corkonian face was screamed off that day.
Both teams have been steady so far this season. Spectacularly steady! Munster have won 3 out of 4 so far against fairly weak opposition. Leinster has covered all the bases with 2 wins 1 draw and 1 loss against a far stronger opposition. This is what I think will stand Leinster in good stead ahead of the match. Against the Ospreys (I HATE the Ospreys ;)) Leinster went from sublime to comatose. The foot was lifted off the pedal and put out of the side window for air and the Ospreys capitalised, the blues came back and had the match won until a last minute penalty. My welsh nemeses will be top 3 this season.
Munster has played Edinburgh (in transition and rubbish), Zebre (improving but still rubbish), Benetton (see Zebre) and the Dragons (The Seapoint Thirsty Thirds could beat them). The red men are not battle hard yet. Word out of the wild wild west is that Paul O’Connell will start. He is one of the few Munster players who would be welcome in the mean streets of Dalkey County Dublin with open arms and a pint. A great man, who holds the whole of Munster (not the hole) in his hands. The game plan will not be anything new, he will lead. The beefy front row will try and boss and the former Leinster winger and full back combo will try and find space.
We’ve seen this all before. Nothing new.
Leinster has an evolving gameplan. Coach Matt has them tackling like demons while keeping the flair that has netted some sexy tries already this season. The front row is coming back together. Cronin looks to have made improvements at 2, we have Church and the ‘nearly as magic as magic mike’ Mike Ross ready to face whatever is thrown at them.
The one area of worry for the Leinster men is the second row. And that is the one area where Munster has no worries. With Captain Cullen out, we have Devon Toner and magic Mike McCarthy in the second row. Toner has been improving hugely over the last few seasons and will relish taking on the ginger king of Munster, fear / wanting to prove yourself bridges many a gap. Hopefully the lads can keep an eye on the Munster second row during the set piece, contain and control them.
If that happens then Munster are cooked, Leinster haven’t been able to get their set piece rumbling in the last few encounters which has cost them. Munster has a good squad of players with a coach that is about 4 steps behind.
I will finish this with a call to arms followed by a prediction.
To the blue army heading into the west, I applaud you. You will be challenged in the stands by people who speak another language, who only slightly look the same. GO AT THEM! Say hello, then cover the stadium in blue, shout them down with that Leinster dialect. The more understandable the English, the more befuddled they get.
I look forward to watching you all in Horgan definition.
As for a prediction…victories are always better when you beat the lion in its own den. That is what Leinster will do on Saturday. Munster is not ready for what is being brought down the motorway to them.
Always remember what Omar said in The Wire, ‘when you come at the king, best not miss’!
And as usual, and especially for my Munster friends because I have heard that they just got dial-up internet in last week and may have gotten on twitter. Come at me bro! @nkeegan is where the magic happens. And for more of the same classic punditry head over to www.thedailyclothesline.com .
Until next time…
Keego (@nkeegan): Blogger, former professional wrestler, sometime attempted rugby player (@TheThirsty3rds), professional procrastinator and attempted musician with a fondness for long walks on the bar, tea and the couch. Opinionated Leinster fan and constant gardener.