Scarlets 23 – Leinster 21
Not the result we wanted and what I expected but I’m not shocked given the opposition we faced. Scarlets did their homework and applied a more solid approach to their overall game which was the undoing of Leinster’s on the day.
In my opinion, it was Leinster’s slow start to the match, especially the first 20 minutes, that brought about the eventual result. Scarlets started very aggressively which Leinster could only defend for large periods of time, albeit very valiantly. Once Scarlets eventually got across the try line, Leinster began to wake up and start deploying their own attacking game. However, at that point, you could see that the home sides’ tails were up and they were determined to get the better of their visitors. There appeared to be more hunger from the home team which is a little worrying from a Leinster perspective.
Leinster fought very hard to get back into the game and saw themselves going into half time ahead on the scoreboard. Funnily enough, it was James Lowe who scored a beautifully worked try in the corner at more or less the same time as he did in the Pro14 final just over 3 months ago, his 4th try against Scarlets since the beginning of last season. He’s developing a knack of scoring at the half time mark against this team! Fergus McFadden also scored almost the same way he did today as he did in that same final, perhaps Cullen and Co adopted some of the same playbook. However, it all came up short in the second half unlike the eventual result experienced at the Aviva back in May.
The standout performers for Leinster were Jamison Gibson Park, Ross Byrne, Rhys Rudduck, James Lowe and Jordan Larmour. Scarlets did very well nullifying a lot of Larmour and Lowe’s possession and did very well disrupting the breakdown. This in turn limited the amount of platforms from which Leinster could launch their attack, and allowed Scarlets to create a very settled defensive line for the most part.
Credit to Scarlets who did a great job of keeping Leinster out at the end where it looked like the boys in blue would take the win at the death. A valuable bonus point was secured which keeps us up towards the top of the table.
Hopefully some lessons are learned for Leinster and they’ll come back swinging next week against the Dragons for our first home game of the season!