This week we take a look back at Leinster’s victory over Wasps in the first round of the European Champions Cup at the RDS and look forward to the next match away to Castres. We take a look back at the rest of last weekend’s European rugby and preview the upcoming fixtures. Ireland’s Autumn International squad is discussed as is Michael Cheika’s elevation to the top job in Australian rugby.
This week on Blues Talk we take a look back at Leinster’s loss at home to Munster, the away win over Zebre and preview Sundays ERCC clash with Wasps. We also take a look at the rest of the European action.
Due to a bereavement there will be no video episode this week. Blues Talk TV will return next week to discuss the Munster and Zebre games
Where to begin? Leinster’s proud home record?
Last loss to Munster in Dublin was October 2008. 18 0. From memory that was the only time Leinster have been nilled in the RDS.
In the intervening years home league losses have been fairly infrequent.
2011/12 Glasgow, Ospreys and Final
The season with the most home league losses (2011/12) was our best season ever. We only lost 4 games in all competitions. 3 of those were to the Ospreys. 2 of them were by a single point and only one was by more than 4 points.
Many would say Leinster have been living on their reputation since that season. That performances have been slipping and that the results would finally catch up with those performances.
One school of thought is that when a team can grind out wins while playing badly, that is the sign of a great team. In some ways the opposite is that if you look after the performance then the results will follow.
So. Have the chickens finally come home to roost for Leinster? Or will this loss make them stronger because of what they will learn about themselves from it?
The game itself has been written and spoken about ad nauseam since the weekend. Suffice to say that Leinster were bullied by a Munster team who perhaps “needed” the win even more than they did. Even when they shot themselves in the foot with 4 yellows and a penalty try we could not nail a losing bonus point.
Matt O’Connor certainly did not have his finest hour. The mindset of the team for a game is developed by the coaches and senior players in the week leading up to it. Of course individual players have to put in the work and develop their own motivations, but the basic “mood” is set by the coaching staff in their preparation and gameplan. If the players have confidence in this they will be more likely to deliver on the day.
The gameplan seemed to include under resourcing rucks, kicking the ball away when we had 1 and even 2 player advantages, and not kicking smartly enough in general.
Add in the bit of “sillybuggers” that he played with injuries and team selection, and the complaining about the ref on the radio the following day (whether he was right or wrong) and it all adds up to a very poor weekend for Mr O’Connor.
We missed Shane Jennings of course for this fixture as was widely predicted. Both for his deck work and even more importantly for his leadership. Dom Ryan started well and showed a good bit of aggression early on. Perhaps a little too eager in giving away the first penalty, but he just doesn’t have the smarts (or obviously the experience) of Jeno.
Fanning gave his increasingly solid performance, Cronin carried well, Madigan showed some spark, the Byrne twins did not look out of place in such a high profile fixture, but most of the rest were “meh” at best. Jimmy Gopperth having one of his worse displays in particular.
Hopefully this is the low point of the season and the lessons learned will fuel a “comeback” that puts our season back on track.
Looking at the fixtures between this game and our next game v Munster on Stephen’s day our target should be to go into that game on a streak of 9 wins in a row. 2 Italian away games. Home games v Edinburgh, Connacht and a meeting with the Ospreys in the RDS (while Wales play their 4th Autumn International) are the 5 very winnable Pro 12 games.
None of the teams in our European group are in great form either.
First up are Wasps who have been thrown into turmoil with their impending move to Coventry. That has got to be a distraction.
The away trip to Castres is possibly the hardest, but they have just come off the bottom of the league by putting 50 points on “Bernard Jackman’s Grenoble”. Finally there are the back to back games v “Conor O’Shea’s Harlequins” in December. Losing one of these OR the Castres game would be about the only acceptable loss in the 9 games.
In most other recent seasons you would put your wages on an accumulator for Leinster to successfully negotiate this sequence of fixtures. From where they are now though it is hard to be so confident.
We don’t seem to know our best 10 12 13 combo. We are not playing well, and we have some long term, high profile injuries to our 2 best ball carriers.
On the plus side…… Most of the other injured players will be returning in the very near future. Strauss, Kirchner, Jack McGrath and Moore as soon as this weekend, with Jennings and Kevin McLaughlin not far behind. Fitzgerald (Fingers crossed) Dave Kearney, McFadden and Jordi Murphy should be ready after the break for the November tests, (Some perhaps sooner) and hopefully we can sustain a minimum of new injuries to crucial players in the meantime.
So. Onwards and upwards with a half full glass. This is the time that the team needs our support the most!
This weeks episode takes a look back at Leinster’s bonus point victory over the Cardiff Blues and previews the derby clash between Leinster and Munster in the Aviva Stadium. The team take a look at Leinster’s form under Coach Matt O’Connor and the rest of the weeks news and results.
This week on Blues Talk we take a look back at Leinster’s one point loss away to local rivals Connacht in the Sportsground and review the rest of the weeks action. We look forward to Cardiff’s visit to the RDS, preview the rest of the weekends action, and wonder about the Union’s attitude to female supporters
This week on Blues Talk we take a look back at Leinster’s bonus point win over Llanelli Scarlets and preview the always difficult trip to Galway to take on Connacht in interpro action. We also discusss the rest of the Guinness Pro12 action this weekend and last.
This week on Blues Talk we take a look back at Leinster’s loss away to Glasgow and debate whether it was a bonus point gained or matchpoints thrown away. We also take a look back at the rest of an exciting first week back for the Guinness Pro12 and preview the coming weekends fixtures.