Wednesday 23 May 2018

Bump on road didn't halt Leinster’s 2009 march to glory

European Champions Cup Touchlines

Tommy O'Donnell, Munster
Tommy O'Donnell, Munster
Former Ireland and Leicester Tigers fullback Geordan Murphy
Malcolm O'Kelly, Leinster
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Leinster’s last European Cup meeting with Wasps isn’t one they’ll remember too fondly this week as they focus in on the English side.

While 2008-9 ended turned out to be their watershed season, this visit to Twickenham in round five of the pool stages saw Josh Lewsey inspire the Londoners to a 19-12 win that threatened to derail Michael Cheika’s men’s march.

Defeat to Castres in their previous outing meant Leinster’s grip on the pool had loosened when they travelled to London where Serge Betsen scored a try and Danny Cipriani kicked Wasps into an unassailable lead.

But, despite losing Rob Kearney and Malcolm O’Kelly (above) to yellow cards and losing two props injured with only one replacement allowed, meaning uncontested scrums, the eventual champions hung in for a bonus point that set them up to qualify against Edinburgh a week later. The rest is history.

LEINSTER – R Kearney; S Horgan, B O’Driscoll (G D’Arcy 57), F Contepomi, L Fitzgerald; I Nacewa, C Whitaker; S Wright (S O’Brien 37), B Jackman (J Fogarty 73), CJ van der Linde (C Healy 18); L Cullen (T Hogan 18), M O’Kelly; R Elsom, S Jennings, J Heaslip.

Geordan Murphy still has it ... over eight furlongs

In today’s beefed-up professional game,  former Ireland and Leicester Tigers full-back Geordan Murphy (pictured) could never be described as a ‘horse of a man’. . . until now maybe.

Don’t ask us the origins, but a four-legged version with the same name turned up at Windsor racecourse on Monday and very much in the style of the human version breaking out of defence in his heyday, the equine equivalent powered clear of his rivals to win at odds of 9/4.

A good deal younger than the Kildare native, who’s currently part of the Leicester backroom team preparing for the visit of Ulster, Geordan Murphy the horse is owned by a Mr BP McGuire and is in the care of by Classic-winning trainer Andrew Balding. To add to the curiosity, the Windsor winner was ridden by Oisin Murphy, the talented young Killarney jockey whom we assume is no relation to Geordan Murphy the man.

Number of the weekend


The weight in kg of the new trophy all 20 teams are hoping to lift next May

Know your jargonNo 1: Accuracy

The professional game is filled with a form of rugby management-speak that can be hard to decipher, so we’re endeavouring to translate those bits of jargon that casually slip into the talk around the game.

Right now, one of the chief culprits is the word ‘accuracy’, which seems to be the main difference between winning and losing these days. Whether it’s ‘accurate physicality’, ‘accuracy at the breakdown’ or just plain ‘we weren’t accurate enough’, the phrase is a one-stop shop for explaining performances good and bad.

Even players aren’t safe when they face the media these days, with Tommy O’Donnell being asked how much “accurate physicality” had played a part in Munster’s win over Leinster.

So, if you want to impress friends with how much you know during this week’s viewing, liberally drop in rugby’s favourite word and watch them try and keep up.

Bet of the weekend

Wasps +13 v Leinster – Given the Irish side’s form, there is little to justify a 13-point spread in their opening game

Tweet of the week

David Foley @davidfoley5

‘Eamon Dunphy......... Complete Turnip’

– Munster’s second-row takes a blunt approach to RTÉ’s soccer analysis

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