Friday, October 02, 2015

Preview : Leinster v NG Dragons

Leinster team NGD

logo post blueI try hard to put last season behind me, yet things just keep happening to remind me.

Hey what do you know, I’m a poet and I didn’t realise it.

Sometimes I wake up screaming in the middle of the night as I remember our home match against the Dragons last February.  As it wasn’t on TV it was the first one I did a “liveblog” for and I was treated to a horror show of a performance which, for me anyway, spelled the beginning of the end of our Pro12 chances.

But hey...these are happier times now...I couldn’t let this match pass without referring to our last meeting as it is still fresh in my memory, but there is a new sheriff in town now and plenty to feel good about when it comes to our team selection.

One thing about it is consistency...if it was anything but a Rugby World Cup accounting for the 2-week gap I’d be pretty annoyed this team couldn’t keep their momentum going.  Still, one good thing about the layoff was that it meant Rhys Ruddock and Marty Moore could return to the matchday squad and this can only be a good thing.

An interesting switch has been Isaac Boss starting ahead of Luke McGrath - wouldn’t be many Leinster fans’ ideal choice but you certainly can’t argue it brings some experience to our halfback pairing which could come in handy when it comes to dealing with the ref around scrum time.

Once more we have the opportunity to see Messrs Reid and Te’o terrorise down the centre channels - I would be very surprised if at least one of them doesn’t make the scoresheet here.

In the pack the return of Ruddock only strengthens our already-impressive back row options (especially given the absentees) and seeing how Rhys is wearing 19 it will be interesting to see how he is used off the bench.  He can of course play lock as well but assuming Mike McCarthy is fit for a full 80-minute shift I reckon both he and Molony might be in for one.

As often is the case when we play the Dragons during international time, they aren’t missing nearly as many key players as we are...their halfback pairing of Pretorius and Tovey can definitely do some damage and for the latter stages they have Aled Brew, who must have thought a season or two ago he’d be involved in the World Cup at this stage, to introduce to the fray.

But whatever their threats, and whatever happened last season, as Leinster fans we should be expecting to make full use of home advantage.  The bookies have us by 12, I think we can beat that and I’m optimistically going for 18-20.

Tickets are still available why don’t you head on down and watch for yourself?  But if you really can’t make it keep an eye out for our liveblog which should start around 2:15pm.

#COYBIB

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