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Match Preview: Leinster Rugby vs Ulster Rugby

by Jim O'Connor, 2015-11-27

These are tough times for Leinster rugby. After the defeat last week to Bath, they've now lost their opening two games in Europe for the first time since 1996. That was only the second season of the European Cup, but it was the first season that English clubs participated and in those days it did seem that the Irish provinces would be perennial also-rans. There was the odd big win at home like Leinster beating Leicester or Munster beating Wasps but just qualifying from the pool was tough enough, never mind winning the competition. It all changed in 1999 with Ulster's incredible win, albeit in a season where the English clubs boycotted the tournament. By the next season, Munster had gone all the way to the final, even with the English clubs involved, and between those two achievements there was now real belief in Irish rugby that they could compete with the best teams in Europe. It took a number of years and a few heartbreaks along the way but eventually the success arrived with five Heineken Cups in seven seasons between 2006 and 2012.
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Match Preview: Bath Rugby vs Leinster Rugby

by Jim O'Connor, 2015-11-20

In the light of events in Paris last week and the untimely death of Jonah Lomu, we shouldn't go overboard about a defeat in a rugby match. But taken purely in a sporting context, last Sunday's match was grim viewing for Leinster fans. It started off reasonably okay and Leinster were ahead after twenty minutes. Then Wasps were gifted a try before halftime but even then, most of those present thought Leinster would come back in the second half. However when Wasps scored their second try all the fight went out of Leinster and they succumbed to their biggest home defeat ever in European competition.
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Match Preview: Leinster Rugby vs Wasps

by Jim O'Connor, 2015-11-13

After five wins from their first seven league games, Leinster head into European competition in good heart. They will need to be because they're in the toughest pool of the competition with three teams that they played last season. They had Wasps in their pool last season and beat them at home and drew with them away. They had Bath at home in the quarter-finals and were somewhat lucky to beat them and they had Toulon in the semi-final when they lost in extra time.
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Match Preview: Leinster Rugby vs Scarlets

by Jim O'Connor, 2015-11-05

In their last Pro12 match before the Champions Cup starts next week, Leinster take on league leaders the Scarlets at the RDS tomorrow evening. The Scarlets were undoubtedly the winners of the World Cup in terms of the Pro12, racking up six wins from six. It wasn't like they were unaffected by the World Cup as seven of their players were over there and they had their fair share of injuries too. But coach Wayne Pivac has managed his resources really well to maintain a consistency of performance to grind out results when needed but also showing some of the flair rugby the Scarlets are renown for. An example of this would be Phil John's first try last week against the Dragons which is well worth checking out on YouTube as it featured a remarkable number of offloads in the build-up.
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Match Preview: Benetton Treviso vs Leinster Rugby

by Jim O'Connor, 2015-10-30

When this match is played the World Cup will be over and what a wonderful tournament it's been, in many peoples book, the best ever. It hasn't been too bad a tournament for Leo Cullen either. When he saw his under-strength team badly beaten away to Edinburgh in his first match in charge, he probably would have taken three wins from the first six games. Last week's scrappy but gutsy win over Glasgow meant he's already achieved that target. A win on Sunday should get Leinster into the top four for the first time this season, with four of the teams ahead of them playing each other, Ulster v Munster and Connacht v Edinburgh.
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