Score to be settled; Munster v Leinster preview

27 03 2010

Next Friday sees one of the most eagerly anticipated games of this season taking place in Thomond Park. Earlier in the season Leinster annihilated Munster in the RDS 30-0. There are some serious scores to be settled in this game.

The game is set against the backdrop of much media focus due to the game being played on Good Friday, one of the two days of the year that the sale of alcohol is prohibited in Ireland. This, however has not stopped the bars in Limerick successfully obtaining a special exemption which allows them to serve alcohol between 6pm and 11:30pm on the evening of the game.

Munster are the experts in peaking at exactly the right time each season, this season being no different , after some pretty shaky performances, it seems they are finally hitting form. They faced a strong Glasgow side last Friday night in Limerick. A Glasgow side that fielded all of its international players that beat Ireland the previous week. Munster emerged as 27-19 victors after arguably the finest try that the new Thomond park stadium has seen from Jean de Villiers.  Both Munster centers De Villiers and Mafi are hitting a rich vein of form and this could be the greatest potential threat to Leinster next Friday. No doubt Mafi is a potential target for Leinster, they will be doing everything they can to wind him up, with his short fuse and a propensity for yellow cards.

Munster will also be bolstered by Keith Earls who is in fine form off the back of being the joint-top scorer in this years 6-Nations. Jerry Flannery will return to Munster after his 6-week ban. The Munster pack has missed Flannery and certainly looks weaker without him in it.

Which brings me to the weakness in this Munster team, the scrum. Julien Brugnaut the Munster tighthead was in trouble from the off against Glasgow the other night, John Hayes will start on Friday night, this combined with Flannery’s return and Marcus Horan on the loosehead side makes a massively experienced front-row. The lineout is another potential weakness for the Munster men, They will be facing one of the best lineout ball-stealers in the Magners League, Leo Cullen.

The positives for the Leinster side, Rob Kearney had a string of awful performances in the 6-Nations but played quite well in attack against Connacht. Their scrum has looked pretty solid all season, Cian Healy and CJ van der Linde are bossing most packs they come up against. As for the negatives, we know that Brian O’Driscoll and Gordon D’arcy will not be 100% fit if they do start against Munster. Leinster have an outhalf who has struggled with his primary job of kicking points. The Sexton v O’Gara build-up again for this game should be ignored, the real battle in this game will be in the front-rows, who wins this battle wins this game.

Roll-on Friday!




2 responses

27 03 2010
Ciaran Kelly

Good blog, think you have te bases covered. Munster will be v strong in backline, ball from ROG will make or break it. Ur right on te battle of front rows, as much as I completely admire te Bull, I think his days of full 80 mins has arrived.

Leinster pack I believe will dominate scrum, but I fear Munster will control te wings if BOD and Darcy aren’t 100 %. Mc Fadden if he starts could shine, but that’s probably 6-12 mts away

Tight score sheet, 6 pt win either side !!!

27 03 2010
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