Leinster 54 – Dragons 10
After 12 minutes played, Dragons were 10 nil up, they looked very sharp in attack and controlled possession well. However, for the following 68 minutes, they didn’t score another point while Leinster went up a few gears to score 8 tries and leave Dragons bewildered behind their try line.
A little rustiness was maybe expected given the changes in the team selection for this week but after the Leinster players settled in and found their feet, they were far too strong and many levels above the Dragons in terms of skill and precision.
For all that has been said during the week about Carbery needing more game time at 10 and he should be Ireland’s future out half, Ross Byrne showed that he is as solid as you can get at out half and is getting better and better with every game in my opinion. He was flawless throughout, kicking 6 from 6 conversions and sending two players in for tries courtesy of his pin point accurate cross field kicks. When it came to choosing who should be man of the match, it was clear by half time that Byrne was most deserving.
Another lad that shone very bright in Leinster blue was Jordan Larmour. His work rate, pace, and incredible step is a joy to watch and he’s developing into a very serious attacking weapon, further adding to a Leinster armoury already stacked with explosive talent. He danced around defenders and broke the line on so many occasions and managed to bag himself a try in the second half. This young Leinster fullback has a very bright future ahead of him and I won’t be shocked at all if we’re all missing him during the 6 Nations period next Spring! Ireland beckons for this great talent.
With all that being said, is there a point where Leinster’s strength in depth becomes so great that it’s nauseating? Yes, it certainly does, well if you’re a supporter of any other team that is! It’s a very exciting time for Leinster, their strength in depth is unparalleled and it seems to be growing stronger as the season progresses. Leo Cullen has been doing a fantastic job at bringing in a lot of youth into the side like Carbery, Byrne, Larmour, Porter, McCarthy, Deegan etc. and they’re quickly showing great return in that investment. Another player that looks to be breaking through is Josh Murphy who put in a great shift after just getting his second cap. His work rate was excellent and was rewarded with a try. These guys and many other newcomers are what Leinster need right now, it’s the youth in this squad that will get us to finals and eventually lift some silverware. Cullen knows this, take the starting 8 for example, Max Deegan. He started the match, got himself a try, and was then replaced by Jack Conan. Cullen could easily have gone for the easy and most obvious option of starting the mighty Conan but he knows what these younger lads are capable of given the opportunity, and most importantly trust. Of course, our big guns on international duty are highly important and key to our success, but this new crop of Leinster players are showing the way to the playoffs and their confidence and hunger is reminiscent of the glory days a few years back. So in terms of strength in depth, the more the merrier!! The key for Cullen is to keep this squad hungry, mentally strong and ready to take on the strongest of opposition coming our way!
Oh, I can’t finish this review without mentioning our returning captain Isa Nacewa who seemed to take a step back to let the young squad shine, and allowed new leaders take a pivotal role in the outcome of the game. But of course, Isa being Isa couldn’t help but score a couple of tries himself. With all this great youthful talent, they have to respect their elders!!
Next up, Treviso away! Bring it on.