Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Eye spy - Leinster's Pool 2 opponents square off


Eye spy is a new weekly series from HarpinOnRugby where we'll have a look at an opponent either Leinster or Ireland are due to face in a big contest later in the season, sharing with you some brief notes on general headings and individual performances.

TARGETS - Harlequins and Wasps, both in Leinster's RCC pool 2.

WHO, WHEN, WHERE - Faced each other in the Aviva Premiership last Saturday at The Stoop.  Quins won a see-saw battle 26-23.

OFFENCE -  (Q) - Acquire points through applying pressure on opposition in contrast to their opponents.  But as we saw last week v Sarries, against a decent D they'll struggle to break through.  (W) - On one hand, pretty easy to read with Daly aiming to link up between halfbacks and pacy wingers.  But on the other hand, they are good at it and hard to stop when in full flow.

DEFENCE - On the evidence of this plus both clubs' outings against Sarries this season, I'm not entirely sure either club has the full 80 minutes of D required to compete against top Euro clubs in them.

SCRUMS - All 14 scrums (10 Q 4 W) went with the put-in.

LINEOUTS - Wasps struggled on their own throw generally but did have one massive rolling maul leading to try number 3.

BREAKDOWN - Pretty much cancelled each other out in this area, though if you had to pick a winner between Robshaw and Haskell it would have to be the England skipper.

DISCIPLINE - Not bad overall but I have no idea what Wasps lock Kearnan Myall was thinking with his trip that caused Quins' penalty try. Locks Mathhews & Launchbury had a dustup early on.

INDIVIDUALS (Q) -
Robshaw - His try was opportunist to put it mildly, but still a good outing by which included a key lineout steal towards the end.

Sloan - "credited" with 5 missed tackles, a criminal amount for a 13.

Botica - Just missed the one kick; f Evans is fit he'll no doubt start in RCC but Botica will often be needed for final quarter and can do a job

Care - His tendency to do the unexpected is what could hurt Leinster the most. He even dropped a goal in this match!

INDIVIDUALS (W) -
Goode - If he lived up to his name from the kicking tee Wasps could have pinched the victory.  I think losing Ruairidh Jackson as backup could be very costly for their Euro hopes; not sure if Andy can play 80 week in week out.

Masi, Varnell, Daly, Wade - All dangerous with the ball when given space, but if supply to them can be curtailed Wasps will struggle

Simpson - the man to stop in order to cut off the supply I mention above.

VERDICT - I have a feeling these two could well do Leinster a favour by splitting their two RCC pool matches taking points away from each other.  If we have realistic ambitions of winning the tournament we should be looking for at least 13 of the 20 points on offer in our matches against the pair.


NEXT WEEK - Ahead of the big clash with Leinster at the Aviva Stadium we look at Munster's Pro12 meeting with the Ospreys.
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