leinsterfans.com: Supporting Leinster Rugby
skip to content
Subscribe to the RSS Feed for this page


SU Agen vs Leinster Rugby,
Stade Armandie, Agen,
16th December 2006, 3:30PM IST

Leinster head over to the south of France this weekend to face an Agen side looking for revenge. Leinster beat them 26-10 last week with a tough, gutsy performance. In the afterglow of a bonus point win, it was easy to forget what a tough game Agen gave us. They dominated possession in the first half, doing a number on the Leinster scrum in the process. In fairness to Stanley Wright though, it was a big ask to fly into the country and take on one of the best scrums in France only fours days later. Things did improve though when Reggie came on and Ronnie moved over to tighthead.

It took a massive effort from the Leinster pack in the second half to batter them back and gain control of the ball. A special mention must go to the Leinster backrow who were excellent. Keith Gleeson tackled his heart out, Jamie Heaslip took the ball on bravely and consistently and Steven Keogh had his best game for Leinster. A special mention must also go to the two "patients" Brian Blaney and Brian O'Driscoll who left their sick beds to deliver superb performances.

The place-kicking was still a worry though with only two kicks converted from seven attempts. We got away with it last week but it's hard to see us getting away with it again. Leinster have won three times in France against Monferrand, Bourgoin and, (most famously) Toulouse. They were all narrow wins though and on each occasion the place-kickers (Nathan Spooner, David Holwell, Felipe Contepomi respectively) kicked pretty much everything on offer. Girvan Dempsey didn't look confident taking the kicks last week and Gordon D'Arcy seemed to strike the ball better when he took over. D'Arcy may well take the kicks from the start this week.

The Agen pack were very big and very tough last week. But as a team, Agen rarely threatened the Leinster try-line in the first half. The forwards were let down by the backs who created very little dynamism. Rupeni Caucaunibuca showed his quality and broke through for their only try but other than that, the Leinster defense survived quite comfortably. For Leinster to win, they'll need to repeat their sterling defensive display of last week. They'll also need the pack to repeat their second-half performance, especially in the lineout, which was excellent.

With three Italian teams in other groups (and bonus points galore being scored!) Leinster may need more than four wins to get out of the group this season. A win on Saturday of any sort would be a major step towards winning the group, regardless of whether Edinburgh beat Gloucester (a draw would be nice!).

Agen has a passionate crowd, but the 800 odd Leinster fans that are making the trip over will hopefully make themselves heard. It's comfortably the biggest crowd that Leinster have ever brought to France for a pool game. It's going to take a major effort but hopefully the fans can roar the boys onto another famous win.


by Jim O'Connor, © 2006-12-16