Sunday 13 January 2013

Leinster vs Scarlets

Having watched the rest of the weekends action, read reports on this match, and twitter's reactions, I can conclude.

This was not a performance of Champions. Let me explain.

Yes, Leinster looked impressive.
Yes, they had some super individual performances.
Yes, they dominated the game.


for all the domination they had, up until Madigan's try in the last few minutes, Scarlets in theory could still have won it, from only 12 points behind.

Champions, and Leinster of a few months ago, used to win comfortably even when not in as "devastating" form as that.
It might be the lack of form recently meant that they didnt trust themselves, but the constant looking for tries nearly cost them and kept Scarlets in the game, as opposed to using penalties to kill Scarlets off and dishearten them.

Neil Francis is a bit over the top here but he has some good points. While 5 tries is good, it glosses over the fact that the dominance meant it should have been a lot more. There were a good few mistakes and the gap between the 4th and 5th tries was quite big.

Harsh what he says on Denton, Bent and Dundon, as I was mildy surprised/ impressed with their contribution.

On individual notes; Cian Healy. WOW. What a half, no idea why he was taken off. Although Heinke stepped up too.
Cronin was ferocious in open play with one scything break and offload to Sexton sticking in my memory. Mike Ross seems to be more than just a scrummager as I noticed him in play a number of times, and I didn't feel the need to shout at him to get out of the way. I think he should try and focus on what Afoa and Botha do so brilliantly in the breakdown.
Heaslip was one of the few to carry effectively, and while I agree with Franno about Ruddock's carrying, he was great on the floor, creating a few turnovers.
Boss had one of his better games, and on form is ahead of Reddan at the moment, who wasn't brilliant when he came on.
I didn't think Kearney was that great. I mean he looked dangerous with ball in hand, showing his obvious class, but he seemed dodgy trying to pass, especially to Nacewa. I'll put it down to rustiness.

But there was no rustiness about Luke Fitzgerald. I was never a big fan of his. He seemed a bit stupid on attack, and too poor on defense. AND far too cocky.

But he looks bigger, defensively a lot more solid, some great aerial fielding. But he looks more appreciative of being a rugby player. He looks like the long break away means he's grown up, less cocky, more intelligent. I'm looking forward to watching him in the next few weeks. I never considered him for the Lions, but on this form... let's not get too ahead of ourselves.

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