Thursday, April 02, 2015

The Curious Case of the Warriors on Friday Night

As predicted Leinster v Glasgow at the RDS was an interesting match. The Glaswegians certainly showed up looking for a win and it looked that way for the entirety of the first half. Leinster were a bit skittish and weren't gelling all that well. Eventually Fergus McFadden went over for a try but things weren't promising for Leinster as the first half finished 27 - 7 to Glasgow. Hogg was dangerous in the backline until he unfortunately had to come off injured.

Leinster's pack struggled in the first half but we saw an immediate impact from both Cian Healy and Sean Cronin. Suddenly we were winning scrums and using the maul tactic that can be so effective. One area of weakness around our set pieces I noticed was our lineouts. We lost a couple when we really could have done with them. Devin Toner unfortunately goes unnoticed in most matches but when he's gone you can see where he is a reliable 4.

The second half was strange. I can't really think of another way to describe it as I came away not sure how to feel about a 34 -34 draw. Not a very common end to a match. I felt neither disappointed or particularly happy just a bit confused. There were some exciting parts as a Leinster supporter and also some for Glasgow, mistakes were made on both sides... It wasn't terrible but it wasn't great either but at least we've seen what some of the players can do.

Madigan couldn't have kicked better on Friday night, converting all three and his 70th minute penalty.  It certainly wasn't made easy for him as all of Leinster's tries were scored in the far corners of the pitch. Hopefully he hasn't been beating himself up too much about that missed kick against Scotland because from a blue supporter's point of view, he has certainly made up for it. Madigan is not only skilled but mentally very strong too which will prove crucial for the rest of Leinster's season.

Perhaps I'm too hard on Isaac Boss because of my soft spot for Luke McGrath as scrumhalf, but in fairness he had a fantastic game minus a few low passes. Two tries and man of the match, what more can you say?

Murphy made a lovely break avoiding 3 tackles to score one of Leinster's four tries. He performed well in the scrum too and definitely deserves his jersey against Bath. He's young but is showing great skill as a flanker. Fitzgerald performed well also making breaks after receiving beautiful long passes from Madigan and I think would be exciting on the wing for Leinster against Bath.

With our internationals coming back there should be a bit of energy and buzz in the squad for this upcoming fixture. A hunger for success propelled by the strength and skill of the team should make for a thrilling day at the Aviva. But simple errors will cost Leinster dearly so I'd like to see a disciplined show on Saturday.

This is the team I'd like to see to face Bath:

15. Rob Kearney

14. Fergus McFadden

13. Luke Fitzgerald

12. Ian Madigan

11. Dave Kearney

10. Jimmy Gopperth

9. Eoin Reddan

1. Cian Healy

2. Sean Cronin

3. Tadhg Furlong

4. Devin Toner

5. Mike McCarthy

6. Jordi Murphy

7. Sean O'Brien

8. Jamie Heaslip CAPTAIN

 

16. Richardt Strauss

17. Jack McGrath

18. Martin Moore

19. Shane Jennings

20. Jack Conan

21. Isaac Boss

22. Gordon D'arcy

23. Ben Te'o

Emma McGarry - Hugely interested in all aspects of rugby. Supporter of Irish and Leinster Rugby. "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad" - Brian O'Driscoll

*****

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