Eoin Redahan was couch-side for another Leinster victory this weekend and gives his tupence worth in five easy to plagiarise points. Steal as you see fit……
- Marty Moore mania – Last week’s performance seemed to have kindled a sort of Marty Moore mania among Irish media types. Moore did just about okay on Saturday, as did the rest of the pack, after some creaky times in the scrum. But we shouldn’t be too hard on the front row. After all, they came up against a Castres side that toppled both Clermont and Toulon to win the top 14 last season; and, in Taumoepeau and Wihongi, they came up against two formidable scrummagers. The reality is that we’re going to struggle against the best packs in Europe – something that will stop us winning the Heineken. But back to Marty: the weight of desperation leans heavy on any young Irish tighthead. Let’s not forget, he is only 22. Amazingly, he is also 5’11”.
- There is room for Madigan yet – Jimmy Gopperth looks like a more shrewd signing with every passing week. However, his decision-making and kicking from hand could have been sharper on Saturday. While these same shortcomings are often levelled against Ian Madigan, the backline missed Madigan’s moments of unpredictability and inspiration. Nevertheless, Gopperth had another superb game on Saturday and deserves to retain his place. We have two classy operators at 10. We will need them both.
- The defensive line-speed is a joy to behold – Castre’s try owed as much to opportunism as it did to clever scrummaging. Apart from being denied a late try by the TMO, the Top 14 champions didn’t look like particularly threatening. Why? The Leinster defence were all over their French counterparts like 15 cheap suits. One try conceded in two pool games is excellent work.
- Matt O’Connor has not gotten the backs moving fluidly (yet) – It’s all very understandable. In a sense it is like watching an orchestra play without its conductor. As impressive as Jimmy Goperth has been, we are still recovering from the post-Jonny breakup. We are also missing a little-known veteran at outside centre.
- More SOB stories – Sean O’Brien has come back from the Lions with a sharper armoury. He has been talismanic so far this season. His carrying and creasing defensive work have been eye-catching, though we pretty much take that for granted. It is his work at the breakdown that is now making him look like the complete 7. We must light candles for Sean now, and pray to Bejaysus that he stays fit.
Extended highlights of the game via Leinster TV are below. Usual abuse to @EoinRedahan