LEINSTER'S NEXT OPPONENTS
Not the best outing for the 2017 champions but that shouldn’t take anything from the 2016 champions who got the most out of their strongest lineup of the season that featured many fine performances especially from centres Aki and Farrell. Connacht led from 5m dominating territory & possession and while the Scarlets got within 6pts in the closing stages, a powerful O’Brien run had the pacy Adeolukun in support to deny the BP. Leinster have another tough Galway trip ahead.
OTHER IRISH PROVINCES
Two decent first quarter tries from Conway were lost in a sea of Cardiff scores thanks to fine runs up the middle by Ray Halaholo, fine finishes by Tomos Williams, plus fine place-kicks and overall leadership from Gareth Anscombe. Carbery showed some nice early touches but was outplayed by his opposite number and there were worrying gaps in Munster’s central defensive channel. For the first time in four attempts the Blues managed to hold a lead beyond13428709 the 80th minute.
Superb entertainment for the neutral unless you’re a defensive coach as most of the ten tries were scored too easily down central channels. The lead changed hands many times like neither team wanted to win; if so, both got their wish. A 79m long-range penalty should have clinched a home win but Ulster claimed the restart and after the buzzer Speight dragged it over and with no Cooney to kick the vital points this time, Billy Burns did the honours.
LEINSTER'S EURO POOL OPPONENTS
(WASPS & TOULOUSE)
(WASPS & TOULOUSE)
Wasps are missing Gopperth, Launchbury and a host of props among others, and this was apparent in the opening stages as a 1st minute Hughes yellow card and 2nd minute Ross try looked ominous. But from there they gradually took control making their hosts look very ordinary in the process with quality tries from Carr, Bassett, Stuart and ironically Hughes for the bonus point. They look like a squad ready to compete at the RDS in October regardless of injuries.
Why would your skipper dump an opposing winger on his head after just 17m to earn a red card? Maybe Faasalele’s frustration came from being already 3-19 down? Meanwhile home skipper Picamoles was leading by example with 4 of his side’s 10 tries as Pienaar, Goosen and Nadolo also kept them in control. Still, Les Rouges et Noirs rested many starters, it was their first defeat in 5 and no doubt they’ll be more than ready for Leinster’s October visit.
OTHER PRO14 MATCHES
The Pro14 definitely needs results like this. Coach Rennie won't be happy with the amount of errors, both handling and system, that led to the Kings building a 31-0 lead. Credit to the home side for taking their chances well, with Klaasen’s BP try the pick of the bunch. Hastings’ introduction plus a 56m Kings yellow finally helped the Hogg-less Glasgow not only lose their duck-egg but also snatch a hardly-deserved four-try BP of their own right at the death.
Young Italian 10 Antonio Rizzi missed two early kickable penalties and the points were badly needed, as Ospreys’ vastly experienced pack thwarted them with turnovers at several rucks and mauls throughout. Tries from Dan Evans and Tipuric either side of halftime established a cushion; McKinley steadied the Benetton ship somewhat but eventually a strong finish from Sam Davies clinched the win, although given the home side managed just 43% in both possession & territory, a 4th try was beyond them.