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Match Preview: Connacht Rugby vs Leinster Rugby

by Jim O'Connor, 2016-05-27

After what's been a pretty tough season for Irish rugby, it's great to finish on a positive note with a fantastic final in prospect between Leinster and Connacht at Murrayfield. Of course, everyone in Ireland outside Leinster (and probably one or two in it) will be shouting for Connacht and that's fair enough. If Ulster had beaten Leinster last week, we'd all be shouting for Connacht too. They were 50-1 to win the league at the start of the season so it would be a great romantic sports story if they go on to win. The comparisons with Leicester City winning the English Premiership are a little over the top, that would be more like Zebre winning the league. Connacht have been gradually improving under Pat Lam over the past few seasons and only narrowly missed out on Champions Cup qualification last season. However they've undoubtedly been the feelgood story of European rugby this season and they will take the pitch with the support of all the neutrals present.
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Match Preview: Leinster Rugby vs Ulster Rugby

by Jim O'Connor, 2016-05-19

Leinster beat Treviso comfortably a fortnight ago to finish top of the Pro12. However of the four teams in the semi-finals, they're probably the least fancied. Connacht, Glasglow and Ulster all have their backers, but the fans and the media are cool on Leinster despite them being at home in the RDS where they've never lost a semi-final since they play-offs began in 2010, indeed they won five in a row until they failed to make the play-offs last season. Leinster's opponents Ulster have been on the losing end of two of those semi-final in 2011 and 2014, as well as the final in the RDS in 2013. Indeed their record in Dublin is fairly wretched with only one win there in 17 years.
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Match Preview: Leinster Rugby vs Benetton Treviso

by Jim O'Connor, 2016-05-06

Well it's been coming. Leinster's embarrassing defeat against Ulster last week finally woke up people to the truth about their form. It's not very good and hasn't been for a while.

The attempts at attacking rugby have been so stilted, dull and unimaginative that it looks at times like Matt O'Connor never left. Girvan Dempsey took over at attack coach and admittedly there were some early season glimpses of promise in attack. However in the last two months, with the exception of one crazy half against Endinburgh, any invention in attack has largely evaporated.
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Match Preview: Ulster Rugby vs Leinster Rugby

by Jim O'Connor, 2016-04-29

So it's down to the last two matches of the season and everyone has their calculators out. Leinster may be on top of the table but they're on the same number of points as Connacht and two ahead of Glasgow. It's all about finishing in the top two at this stage to get a home semi-final. The situation is further complicated by Connacht and Glasgow squaring off against each other in the final game, while Leinster will likely get five points at home to Treviso. So could Leinster lose tomorrow and still finish in the top two? Yes, but it's far from certain, so it's far better to just go out and win tomorrow.
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Match Preview: Leinster Rugby vs Edinburgh Rugby

by Jim O'Connor, 2016-04-14

Leinster left the Aviva Stadium two weeks ago having gone top of the league but it didn't really feel like that amongst the departing fans. They had beaten their oldest rivals Munster but were hanging on for dear life at the end and frankly it was a poor match. Leinster have got a case of the rugby drabs, one try in three games and worryingly, they don't often look like scoring either. With two of their final three games at home to Edinburgh and Treviso they should be able to secure a top two finish to get the home semi-final. But they are going to have to find some form from somewhere if they are to wrestle the Pro12 trophy back from Glasgow, who have won their last seven games straight and who are now playing a lot more like the team from last season.
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