Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Eye spy - Wasps bitten by Sharks

Here's the latest intelligence dossier from our spies who are keeping their beady eyes on Leinster and Ireland's upcoming opponents...

TARGET - Wasps, Leinster's first Rugby Champions' Cup opponents in less than two weeks

WHO, WHEN, WHERE - they played Sale Sharks last Sunday in the Premiership

OFFENCE -  Option 1 - create space for Wade. Option 2 - create space for Wade.  They get some purchase from Leiua at 12 though he played 13 here.

DEFENCE - Only two starters had zero missed tackles and Andy Goode was only one of them because he didn't attempt any! Also they still appear to be extremely vulnerable to a ball put in behind them.

SCRUMS - Statistically best scrum in Premiership going into the match but though they won 1st put-in it was under pressure from heavier Sale pack and the front row got on wrong side of ref early.  Should improve in Europe with regular starters.

LINEOUTS - Scrappy - locks not the tallest here but will be better with Launchbury & B Davies; they often used Johnson as option.  They do set up a decent maul off them, though Sale were able to disrupt by standing off the jumper.

BREAKDOWN - clearing out very slow when in possession, didn't cause Sale many problems when they had the ball either

DISCIPLINE - silly tackle in the air by Helu saw yellow, plus many penaltiess at scrums

Nathan Hughes - wants the ball and can use it, got 1st try
C Davies - not afraid to go himself from the base but Simpson better when he came on
B Davies - Wasps were better all round with his presence
Goode - outshone by Cipriani though that wasn't saying much. An extremely vanilla outhalf
Leiua - keen to run, will prob play at 12 and pose defence some questions
Wade - had a fumble leading to try similar to Madigan's v Cardiff, but squeezed through for one himself late on.  Sums up not only his game but Wasps' in general IMO.

VERDICT - When Leinster played Wasps in Amlin QF in 2013 my verdict on them was that for every one point they gain putting in the effort to set up the likes of Wade & Varndell, they ship as many as two down the other end.  That opinion has not changed.  They did rest some key players here (I thought the Premiership clubs never did that?) but I reckon going on current form, Leinster have more to worry from themselves than they do Wasps.

NEXT WEEK - We'll be keeping tabs on Harlequins as they travel to face another big club which has struggled so far this season, Leicester.


Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019