Friday, October 23, 2015

Preview : Leinster v Glasgow

LEIvGLA TA

logo post blueSunday to Friday might be a short turnaround for a rugby player but this particular week has seemed longer than ever.  Of course I always look forward to kickoff at the RDS any week, but tonight’s absolutely cannot come soon enough.

It wasn’t so much the disappointing result last weekend that made this week drag, more the amount of online experts telling us how they always knew we had no chance against Argentina and to help their narrative along, they’d offer the notion that everyone else in the Irish Rugby bubble was convinced we’d go all the way and win the World Cup.

Sorry - that was a mini rant I wanted to get off my chest.  Better I type it here than as a comment on some of the nonsense offerings around the web as no doubt that would lead to an endless rabbit-hole of replies and counter-replies that wouldn’t do anyone any good.

During the week we had “Back To the Future” day…and for me the only way to help forget about what happened last Sunday is go back to Ballsbridge and look at the future of the game on these shores, because there is certainly plenty to suggest Ireland can rise from the ashes of this latest World Cup disappointment.

In Leinster’s lineup tonight there is a decent amount of experience in the form of Isa, Ferg, Mike McCarthy and Rhys Ruddock but if we are to succeed tonight against the champions one of the main components we will need to work for us is that the next generation, or as I call them “Cullen’s Cubs”, step up and show us what they can do.

Our halfback pairing of Luke McGrath and Cathal Marsh have certainly demonstrated that they can mix things up and create chances.  And out on the wing there’s Garry Ringrose who has definitely shown us signs of his talent in the starts he has had so far and also would appear to have an understanding with his skipper.

Then we move into the pack where Josh’s Leinster career has gotten off to a van der Flier (sorry) and he, Ruddock and Conan will be sure to get stuck in tonight with quality off the bench as well in Dom Ryan and Dan Leavy.

And having two back rowers on the bench shows the faith Leo has in young Ross Molony who has done well in all aspects of the game in recent weeks.  I’m assuming he and Mike McCarthy are down for 80-minute shifts tonight with Rhys Ruddock as injury cover.

Tack all of the above on to the continuing centre partnership of Reid and Te’o and you have quite a decent Leinster side.

But the individual personnel won’t be enough, especially against this particular opposition.  What I’ll be looking for more than anything else tonight is composure on defence.

Naturally the opening quarter in Cardiff last weekend is a strong motivating factor in that opinion but we also  must not forget the corresponding fixture from last season.  We went from down by 20 at halftime to up by seven in the closing stages only for it to finish in a crazy 34-34 draw.

Even though Glasgow will also be missing their World Cup players, Gregor Townsend has instilled a culture about the club and should they get into their offloading stride in the early stages we could struggle once more.

Having said that, we have a certain Mr K McQuilkin on our side and he knows a thing or six about instilling a successful culture too.  In fact, he’s SO good at it I’m wondering just how long he’ll be staying at Leinster - yes, he signed a contract but the Irish position is up for grabs soon.  But what say we don’t look THAT far into the future just yet!

Basically if we can handle the Warriors when they have the ball, I reckon we can do enough when we have it to finish on top.  The bookies make this too close to call and I’d be inclined to agree but I’m being positive with my Leinster preview this week and I’m backing us by 4-6 points.

Hope to see you there!  Here’s to the rain staying away and the boys in blue getting back to winning ways.  JLP

#COYBIB

Glasgow : S Lamont, Naiyaravoro, Vernon, Lyle, Hughes, Weir, Blair.
Allan, MacArthur, Fagerson, Swinson, Cummings, Harley (c), Favaro, Wilson.
Bench : Bryce, Yanuyanutawa, Cusack, Peterson, Ashe, Blake, Hart, Clegg

Guinness Pro12 2015/16 Round 5
At RDS Arena, 7.45pm. Live on Sky Sports
Referee: Ian Davies (WRU, 36th competition game)
Assistant Referees: Leo Colgan, Olly Hodges (both IRFU)
Citing Commissioner: Eugene Ryan (IRFU)
TMO: Dermot Moloney (IRFU)

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