Leinster v Dragons – Preview

Leinster v Dragons

Three games into the season and a third Welsh side awaits Leinster this weekend. Leinster return to their RDS fortress and will be looking to improve their performance and secure maximum points following their disappointing defeat seven days ago away to Scarlets.

Let’s face it, I could go on and on about the threat that the Dragons will pose, but this game should be straight forward enough for Leinster to win, on paper at least. However, apart from our very shocking loss at home against Treviso last season, the only other team to come away with a win away at the RDS in a regular season fixture since 2013 is Dragons in 2015. So, although Leinster will be hot favourites to come out of this fixture victorious, I will be a tad wary of the Welsh outfit as hopefully the Leinster squad will be too!

Looking at the team sheet for tomorrow, it looks like Cullen & Co. are aiming for a big scalp following their selection of a lot of big guns. Here is what the match day 23 looks like:

15. Rob Kearney (197)
14. Jordan Larmour (23)
13. Garry Ringrose (50)
12. Robbie Henshaw (25)
11. Dave Kearney (123)
10. Johnny Sexton (148) CAPTAIN 
9. Jamison Gibson-Park (53)
1. Ed Byrne (24)
2. Seán Cronin (154)
3. Andrew Porter (32)
4. Scott Fardy (23)
5. James Ryan (15)
6. Max Deegan (23)
7. Josh van der Flier (60)
8. Jack Conan (75)

16. Bryan Byrne (27)
17. Peter Dooley (49)
18. Tadhg Furlong (85)
19. Ross Molony (65)
20. Caelan Doris (2)
21. Hugh O’Sullivan (0)
22. Noel Reid (101)
23. Joe Tomane (2)

Johnny Sexton returns for his first game of the season, and a season which sees him taking over as the new squad captain! Sexton is the perfect choice for captain as he’s been one of Leinster’s strongest leaders over the past few years. His presence in training and on the field is invaluable. It’s no coincidence that Leinster didn’t lose one game last season where Sexton was in the starting 15. He’s like a great orchestra conductor, he maintains and builds the melody with immense precision, then executes the right key change cues at the right time and with results that warrant the encore! He “pulls the strings” perfectly for Leinster!

Other returnees for Leinster this season are Rob Kearney, Garry Ringrose, James Ryan, Josh Van Der Flier, and Tadhg Furlong. Needless to say, these lads will have a huge impact in the team. The most notable returnee is Josh Van der Flier however who returns following an injury he sustained during the 6 Nations in February. With Sean O’Brien yet to return to the match day lineup, Josh will be looking to solidify his place with a strong performance and keep his competition on the bench!

Hugh O’Sullivan who is a promising young scrum half who featured in Ireland’s U20s championship last season will be eager to make his Leinster debut off the bench. Caelan Doris also gets his opportunity to come off the bench for his third cap should he be required. It’s great to see Cullen continuing to dig into the academy in search of more jems to add to the ranks. This kind of forward thinking from Cullen is what’s required to successfully defend the title!

Dragons have their big guns too and capable of causing trouble if the boys in blue don’t have their heads up.

Where the game will be won

Leinster will want to cut down on their penalty count and handling errors which hampered their performance last weekend. I think going back to basics will be the order of the day, no majorly flashy combinations will be required to get over the line. The Dragons on the other hand will be keen try new things and throw the kitchen sink at Leinster as they know that nothing but their best will be required in order to come away with a win or a losing bonus point. My cheeky prediction is that Larmour will get more time on the ball this week and will slice and dice the opposition’s defence to score the first try of the match.

Prediction

Dragons will huff and puff and we may see a few sparks, but the fire will be reigned down from the Leinster squad and will be too much for Bernard Jackman’s men.

Leinster 40 – Dragons 13

Match day result: Leinster 52 – Dragons 10

One thought on “Leinster v Dragons – Preview

  1. Great write-up with a nice sprinkling of cheese and historical facts- forgot the Dragons beat us at home in 2015. And Sexton being the conductor, say no more, he’ll be hungry for a great performance. I think we’ll slay the dragons by 20 at least, great to see such a great squad for our 1st home game of the season, I hope Cullen sends a strong squad up to Galway too! Anyway, Carbury had a great win against Ospreys yesterday, fair play to him 😉

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s