Tuesday, December 04, 2018

80-word reviews from the weekend of Nov 30-Dec 2

All of this week's reviews feature teams
Leinster will face before the end of January


No points scored, muddy conditions, missed placekicks, multiple turnovers and errors...the first half was possibly the most boring 40m of pro rugby ever played.  Finally a short range lineout paid off as No8 Jean-Luc du Preez crashed over for Sale and his brother Rob added the conversion.  Bath only breached the tough-tackling Sharks D on 71m when a kick through from Vuna was finished by Rokoduguni.  As the evening rain got heavier the game mercifully fizzled out. 


Wasps began like they've worked on their D since the Leinster humiliation. Sarries dominated scrums, territory & possession from the start but thanks to stubborn tackling and two long range Daly placekics it was only 12-6 all the way to the 59th minute.  Eventually the pressure forced a breakthrough as MotM Jamie George crashed over.  As Andy Goode played a confident 10, with 10m left a Daly pass in his own 22 went straight to Iziekwe who got their second. 

All things considered SF would've been happy to be "only" 8pts down on 50m. ST threw the kitchen sink at them in the first half but despite several penalties and yellows  couldn't pull away until Huget crashed over for his second try.  Parisian indiscipline continued and during their fourth sinbinning Toulouse earned the bonus point with a pair of tries, even adding one near the end when a man down themselves. Comprehensive pre-Europe win for les rouges at noirs.


Ulster's chance to capitalise on Edinburgh's Friday defeat didn't start well when Morgan and Dacey crossed after sustained Cardiff pressure though Treadwell pinched one in between. But despite losing both skipper O'Connor and outhalf Burns to injury before the break, McFarland's men were able to introduce the likes of Best and Stockdale after it, and pulled ahead with a pair of John Cooney penalties in a second half slugfest, though a senseless Seb Davies yellow helped.  Four handy match points.

Injuries + mandated rest for internationals + 5-day turnaround + away from home + big Euro matches ahead + strong Munster lineup = 6 first half tries shipped by Edinburgh.  That said, Munster turned on the style for their 5-pointers with Earls helping himself to a hat-trick, although Hanrahan struggled from the tee.  The southerners understandably dropped a few gears after the break but from the 63rd minute the tries returned courtesy of Bleyendaal & MotM Farrell. A comfortable conquest of Cockerill in Cork. 

In a fast-paced first half Connacht forged ahead 15-0 including tries from ex-Leinster academy men Farrell and Thornbury but the margin was pegged back to five before the break.  The second period was more low key (much like the attendance) with the Cheetahs getting the only try but two Horowitz penalties and mostly strong defence kept the visitors ahead giving them a handy 9pts from 10 in South Africa moving them into the Conference A playoff picture. 


What was always going to be a competitive physical contest was well poised at 3-3 on 18m when Glasgow prop Alex Allen saw red for a shoulder/elbow to the head of Jake Ball. Then the Scarlets showed sympathy by shipping a penalty, yellow and a try before the break. The Scarlets woes continued when a Jonathan Davies fumble was punished by Grigg. The Welshmen pulled back tries but further poor discipline meant they improbably left Scotstoun with nothing.


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