Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

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carlow man
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Re: Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

Post by carlow man »

Not sure we dominated that much in an attacking sense..lar never looked stressed when we had the ball. I know they conceded pens but they were happy to do that. They gave us no space to attack outside and forced us inside all the time. When that happens you need to win the gainline. Only henshaw did that for us today. Our big ball carriers didn't get any change out of lar. The pitch seemed to get smaller when we had the ball as we just ran up dead ends. Very frustrating but we seemed so nervous today. The experience will stand to people like Hugo, doris and sheehan. Think porter and furlong were under huge pressure out there. Don't think I've ever seen the pair of them look so quiet with ball in hand as they had their hands full just keeping the scrum secure.
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LeRouxIsPHat
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Re: Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

Post by LeRouxIsPHat »

carlow man wrote: May 28th, 2022, 11:49 pm Not sure we dominated that much in an attacking sense..lar never looked stressed when we had the ball. I know they conceded pens but they were happy to do that. They gave us no space to attack outside and forced us inside all the time. When that happens you need to win the gainline. Only henshaw did that for us today. Our big ball carriers didn't get any change out of lar. The pitch seemed to get smaller when we had the ball as we just ran up dead ends. Very frustrating but we seemed so nervous today. The experience will stand to people like Hugo, doris and sheehan. Think porter and furlong were under huge pressure out there. Don't think I've ever seen the pair of them look so quiet with ball in hand as they had their hands full just keeping the scrum secure.
Do you not see the correlation with the pressure we put them under and the number of penalties they conceded though?

I’m watching it again now and we did so many good things and then just blew it.

1st minute - strong maul and they concede a penalty.
2nd minute - Kelleher makes a good run off a lineout. Doris drops it off nicely to Johnny who has Lowe and Ringrose running into space but holds on to the ball and we get turned over. The pass had to go.
7th minute - good carry by Henshaw leads to JOB’s break up the wing. Finishes with Keenan firing a bad pass at Kelleher who drops it. We have a penalty though.
17th minute - Doris makes a strong carry in midfield after a lineout. There’s a bad pass from JGP and the move finishes with Johnny picking the wrong pass to Doris who knocks on when Keenan had been the right option and would have made a break.
20th minute - good maul and they concede a penalty. Off the advantage Johnny delays the pass and ends up passing to deck.
27th minute - Robbie makes a great break off a scrum and Ringrose makes a strong carry just after it. Johnny should pop it out the front to Josh but he picks the wrong ball to Robbie out the back. We start going backwards and it ends with the chip for Keenan to chase.
39th minute - another brilliant maul leads to JOB breaking down the wing and kicking ahead which ends up with the 5m scrum
40th minute - great pick and go from Doris recovers momentum, Josh then makes a great carry to get close to the line but JGP has his pocket picked when he breaks right for what was a 3 on 2. We have a penalty though.

I’m not going to put myself through the second half now but there was another maddening one when Conan made a great break off the scrum and popped it to Henshaw who made a good carry but the whole thing ended with Ross dropping the ball really poorly.

Sorry this OTT post is for my own benefit more so than disagreeing with you Carlow man but it wasn’t one of those games where we came up against a brick wall. We had plenty of opportunities but managed to undo most of the good work we did. There was enough of a platform there for us to play much better than we did which is what will make this a particularly frustrating one in the years to come IMO.
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Re: Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

Post by tingman »

LeRouxIsPHat wrote: May 29th, 2022, 1:23 am
carlow man wrote: May 28th, 2022, 11:49 pm Not sure we dominated that much in an attacking sense..lar never looked stressed when we had the ball. I know they conceded pens but they were happy to do that. They gave us no space to attack outside and forced us inside all the time. When that happens you need to win the gainline. Only henshaw did that for us today. Our big ball carriers didn't get any change out of lar. The pitch seemed to get smaller when we had the ball as we just ran up dead ends. Very frustrating but we seemed so nervous today. The experience will stand to people like Hugo, doris and sheehan. Think porter and furlong were under huge pressure out there. Don't think I've ever seen the pair of them look so quiet with ball in hand as they had their hands full just keeping the scrum secure.
Do you not see the correlation with the pressure we put them under and the number of penalties they conceded though?

I’m watching it again now and we did so many good things and then just blew it.

1st minute - strong maul and they concede a penalty.
2nd minute - Kelleher makes a good run off a lineout. Doris drops it off nicely to Johnny who has Lowe and Ringrose running into space but holds on to the ball and we get turned over. The pass had to go.
7th minute - good carry by Henshaw leads to JOB’s break up the wing. Finishes with Keenan firing a bad pass at Kelleher who drops it. We have a penalty though.
17th minute - Doris makes a strong carry in midfield after a lineout. There’s a bad pass from JGP and the move finishes with Johnny picking the wrong pass to Doris who knocks on when Keenan had been the right option and would have made a break.
20th minute - good maul and they concede a penalty. Off the advantage Johnny delays the pass and ends up passing to deck.
27th minute - Robbie makes a great break off a scrum and Ringrose makes a strong carry just after it. Johnny should pop it out the front to Josh but he picks the wrong ball to Robbie out the back. We start going backwards and it ends with the chip for Keenan to chase.
39th minute - another brilliant maul leads to JOB breaking down the wing and kicking ahead which ends up with the 5m scrum
40th minute - great pick and go from Doris recovers momentum, Josh then makes a great carry to get close to the line but JGP has his pocket picked when he breaks right for what was a 3 on 2. We have a penalty though.

I’m not going to put myself through the second half now but there was another maddening one when Conan made a great break off the scrum and popped it to Henshaw who made a good carry but the whole thing ended with Ross dropping the ball really poorly.

Sorry this OTT post is for my own benefit more so than disagreeing with you Carlow man but it wasn’t one of those games where we came up against a brick wall. We had plenty of opportunities but managed to undo most of the good work we did. There was enough of a platform there for us to play much better than we did which is what will make this a particularly frustrating one in the years to come IMO.
Over analyse it all you ....like but we got done over again by a team we should have beaten all ends up. I am pissed because it will
become a ROG fest and I don't think he's all that. Said before on this ....offensively we were poor today. We picked the wrong day to play like sh!t.
Started well but soon reverted to something we don't usually see in "regular" games but becoming a bit of a pattern at the business end. Where was our high tempo game. Anyone remember anything our backs did going forward?
We got sucked into their game plan...and couldn't find a bloody way out of it.....again.
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Re: Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

Post by curates_egg »

LeRouxIsPHat wrote: May 28th, 2022, 11:48 pm
enby wrote: May 28th, 2022, 10:58 pm

Ruddock should probably have replaced Doris sooner and its a pity Larmour didn't make the bench as his speed might have unlocked the LR defence.

In hindsight I think it was a mistake not to have Larmour on the bench because Lowe wasn’t fit. Maybe Henshaw is carrying something so they wanted Frawley to cover for him but thinking about it now that seems like an obvious error.

I don’t necessarily think Frawley is our second best ten but I do think he’s our best 22. Ross had a bad day but I think it was just a one off so I’m not having a cut off him, but Frawley is a better bench option and having the two of them there always seems like an awkward selection. Frawley hasn’t played much at ten recently so I get it for today but in future I think he should be 22 for big games even if Harry kicks on like I hope he does.
Game was crying out for a second playmaker. The only problem was that Henshaw was head and shoulders the best back, and probably our best player.

It seems to me that we should be investing in Frawley at 10 but are not doing so because the establishment is invested in Harry Byrne. It was too late/unrealistic to chuck him on at 10 in a final, having failed to develop him there. But a Frawley-Larmour split does indeed feel like it might have been the right choice on the day.
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Re: Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

Post by lummix »

We played their game at their pace. It was a tactical masterclass. Slow it down then play in bursts. This allowed Skelton, Antonio etc to stay in the game.
They ploughed into our breakdown (often illegally) and made it a mess. No fast ball and we looked very average. I expect the south African teams will have watched and taken note.
carlow man
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Re: Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

Post by carlow man »

LeRouxIsPHat wrote: May 29th, 2022, 1:23 am
carlow man wrote: May 28th, 2022, 11:49 pm Not sure we dominated that much in an attacking sense..lar never looked stressed when we had the ball. I know they conceded pens but they were happy to do that. They gave us no space to attack outside and forced us inside all the time. When that happens you need to win the gainline. Only henshaw did that for us today. Our big ball carriers didn't get any change out of lar. The pitch seemed to get smaller when we had the ball as we just ran up dead ends. Very frustrating but we seemed so nervous today. The experience will stand to people like Hugo, doris and sheehan. Think porter and furlong were under huge pressure out there. Don't think I've ever seen the pair of them look so quiet with ball in hand as they had their hands full just keeping the scrum secure.
Do you not see the correlation with the pressure we put them under and the number of penalties they conceded though?

I’m watching it again now and we did so many good things and then just blew it.

1st minute - strong maul and they concede a penalty.
2nd minute - Kelleher makes a good run off a lineout. Doris drops it off nicely to Johnny who has Lowe and Ringrose running into space but holds on to the ball and we get turned over. The pass had to go.
7th minute - good carry by Henshaw leads to JOB’s break up the wing. Finishes with Keenan firing a bad pass at Kelleher who drops it. We have a penalty though.
17th minute - Doris makes a strong carry in midfield after a lineout. There’s a bad pass from JGP and the move finishes with Johnny picking the wrong pass to Doris who knocks on when Keenan had been the right option and would have made a break.
20th minute - good maul and they concede a penalty. Off the advantage Johnny delays the pass and ends up passing to deck.
27th minute - Robbie makes a great break off a scrum and Ringrose makes a strong carry just after it. Johnny should pop it out the front to Josh but he picks the wrong ball to Robbie out the back. We start going backwards and it ends with the chip for Keenan to chase.
39th minute - another brilliant maul leads to JOB breaking down the wing and kicking ahead which ends up with the 5m scrum
40th minute - great pick and go from Doris recovers momentum, Josh then makes a great carry to get close to the line but JGP has his pocket picked when he breaks right for what was a 3 on 2. We have a penalty though.

I’m not going to put myself through the second half now but there was another maddening one when Conan made a great break off the scrum and popped it to Henshaw who made a good carry but the whole thing ended with Ross dropping the ball really poorly.

Sorry this OTT post is for my own benefit more so than disagreeing with you Carlow man but it wasn’t one of those games where we came up against a brick wall. We had plenty of opportunities but managed to undo most of the good work we did. There was enough of a platform there for us to play much better than we did which is what will make this a particularly frustrating one in the years to come IMO.
Lots of good points there but we at no point did we cut them open and really cause them to start panicking. They were happy to slow the ball down and allow us 3 points. A team that scores 3 tries and stops the other getting even 1 is a better team. So that's the reality. They are better than us. Maybe we aren't as good as we think. Interesting that rog said that the time to beat us is in the last 20 mins. Does he mean we switch off? We are mentally fragile in that time? Do we panic? Do we fail to use the right tactics? He obviously saw something that we haven't noticed.
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Re: Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

Post by Dexter »

LAR are definitely not better than us, overall. They played us in effectively a home final for them, we played particularly poorly, and they won with a try in the last play of the game.
They were better than us yesterday however, and thats all that counts for now.
BTW, what happened with the ball that was kicked dead by LAR, which led to a goal line drop out? Couldnt really see from where we were in the stadium..
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Re: Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

Post by Blueberry »

Under pressure decision making not to go for 7 and settle for 3 continuously is not what this team has been doing this season but we did yesterday. Ultimately is it a mix of nerves and just trying to cling on and do enough rather than having the confidence to go out and win it in style ?

Who knows but Sexton reflected on the decision to go for 3's post match so there are questions to be asked.

Game had a similar feeling to Bilbao in many ways, we went into our shell that day too but squeaked it.
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Re: Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

Post by kendalgerty »

I haven't posted on here in a long time but I was following the comments on here in the week and after the game and a lot of salient points have been made. My two (or three) penn'oth...

1. It was painfully gutting. An absolute sickener, I think this will go down as one of those uber-painful defeats that years on you still hate to even think about. I'm thinking of Vincent Clerc under the posts in Croke Park, New Zealand in Dublin with the second-take conversion, ROG's kick from the touchline in Thomond when we gave up a huge lead. Shudder. Last year's defeat and the loss to Sarries in the final were easier to take because I could accept that really we were beaten by the better team on both occasions, but I think this was a match we should have won. Even having played badly, on 65 minutes we were in position to see it out but we had a really poor last 15. This was not an awesome La Rochelle team.

2. Hugonaut is right about the emotional pitch of finals being impossible to replicate. I started getting very worried about this when I listened to the Second Captains podcast and heard Shane Horgan describing the sheer stress of playing in a final. As noted elsewhere, our game requires a lot of moving parts and I would imagine needs the players to find that balance between focus and relaxation in order to function at their best. I often think of Thom Yorke's description of playing live as being like 'driving at night, you're sort of on autopilot but also very focused'. As a racing cyclist I used to call it 'finding the zen place', where you're just relaxed enough to not be stressing about every attack, but focused enough to know what you have to be doing. Golfers talk about the same feeling. Would the stress of being in a final stop us getting to the 'zen place'? I think we succumbed to this factor. It was very similar to the final against Racing in that respect, except this time we came out just the wrong side.

3. It was an away match. I said to my rugby fan chums on Friday the fact this was a French team in France was being massively underrated as a factor. If it was a pool match or an away quarter final against any of the top six French teams would Leinster ever be 10 point favourites? It would never be more than a two point spread with the bookies.

4. The semi-final extrapolation error strikes again. How many times have we seen a match where in the previous round one team plays brilliantly while the other scrapes through, only for the scraper-throughers to turn the tables in the next round? I can think of Us v Toulouse in 2006, while Munster came through an arm wrestle against Perpignan. Cue the semi-final where we got mashed. Role reversal in 2009: we had that nailbiter in the Stoop, while Munster got all 45 squad players picked for the Lions after beating Ospreys so handsomely; we all know what happened next. England / South Africa in the most recent world cup is another more recent example, France in most world cups at some point. It's so hard to back up a really great performance. It's especially true when it's a really emotional performance and I think because it wasn't that against Toulouse - it was highly technical - it wasn't really considered a factor, but it's still hard to play equally well two weeks later.

In hindsight, we probably played a little too well for our own good in the semi-final. No fault of anyone, it's just life. You can't aim to not play well, or try and just do enough, rugby just doesn't go like that. But in doing so, it fed into the view in the media (and among most people I talked to) that Leinster were overwhelming favourites. We can talk all we like about the players being sheltered from this and I've no doubt they wouldn't have been as complacent, but it almost certainly fed into a nervy, edgy performance where we dropped ball and compounded errors and never really showed that slickness we had in previous rounds. La Rochelle will probably feel that they timed their run of form to perfection and I'm sure they relished the underdog status.

5. Dominated physically? I'm not so sure... I think it would be an easy narrative to say La Rochelle's huge pack ground us into the dirt and we couldn't cope but I don't think it's quite correct. In all honesty I just think we butchered this one. Let's not forget we still almost won playing way below our best. We made huge inroads with our attacking maul and while the scrum creaked a lot it didn't fold. They had to play off the penalties where they chose scrums and never threatened a pushover penalty try. I also thought we generated plenty of quick ball at rucks, we just managed to stuff it up through handling errors. Someone cited the Byrne knock on after two great gainlines by Conan and Henshaw, a classic example. There were others.

6. The Jimmy O'Brien knee touch was pivotal. Somebody said we compounded three errors here but in actual fact it was four when you account for the ball bouncing off Jimmy's knee. It would have been our lineout from way way back. From the ensuing kick, we then had the drop goal, the bounce, the failed clearance(s), off feet at ruck all leading to a maul and try.

7. Ross Byrne had a day to forget but was the right call. Yes, he had a shocker but it wasn't like him. I don't think any of us would have seen him dropping balls like that. He has his limitations, but has rightfully earned a reputation for being a pretty clutch-y player. Remember the match-winning penalty in Scotland? You'd have thought he was the obvious man to have to have to close out a match where we were leading. It didn't play out that way, but that's rugby.

Ugh. I could weep.
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ronk
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Re: Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

Post by ronk »

Blueberry wrote: May 29th, 2022, 10:12 am Under pressure decision making not to go for 7 and settle for 3 continuously is not what this team has been doing this season but we did yesterday. Ultimately is it a mix of nerves and just trying to cling on and do enough rather than having the confidence to go out and win it in style ?

Who knows but Sexton reflected on the decision to go for 3's post match so there are questions to be asked.

Game had a similar feeling to Bilbao in many ways, we went into our shell that day too but squeaked it.
We've lost both ways. In a tight game there were lots of moments that could have changed the course.

The problem with the tactic is that you only win a low scoring game. You have to keep their score down too. As it almost worked it wasn't even necessarily the wrong tactic.
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Re: Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

Post by carlow man »

Dexter wrote: May 29th, 2022, 10:11 am LAR are definitely not better than us, overall. They played us in effectively a home final for them, we played particularly poorly, and they won with a try in the last play of the game.
They were better than us yesterday however, and thats all that counts for now.
BTW, what happened with the ball that was kicked dead by LAR, which led to a goal line drop out? Couldnt really see from where we were in the stadium..
We have played them twice in 12 months are they were the better team on both occasions. If we won yesterday it would have been undeserved. They played much more rugby than us. Every time rhule got on the ball he made yards. They looked to play with width and we went more and more into our shells the longer it went on. Credit where its due please. I'm absolutely gutted we lost but if we played this lot again next week they would be favourites and rightly so. They gave the blueprint to beat us, the same way saracens did. But I actually think they play better rugby than saracens..
Last edited by carlow man on May 29th, 2022, 10:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

Post by enby »

Great post Kendalgarty. Really interesting analysis
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Re: Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

Post by kendalgerty »

Blueberry wrote: May 29th, 2022, 10:12 am Under pressure decision making not to go for 7 and settle for 3 continuously is not what this team has been doing this season but we did yesterday. Ultimately is it a mix of nerves and just trying to cling on and do enough rather than having the confidence to go out and win it in style ?

Who knows but Sexton reflected on the decision to go for 3's post match so there are questions to be asked.

Game had a similar feeling to Bilbao in many ways, we went into our shell that day too but squeaked it.
These analyses always involve a lot of hindsight bias. Someone posted (I think it wsa Hugonaut) this week that Leinster take very few penalties and usually kick the corners. In almost all individual instances there was an obvious argument for taking the three. Not saying it was definitely correct, but there was a clear case to be made for it. The main one being the penalties were almost all gimmes, in front of the posts. Had they been out on the touchline we would have gone to the corner I'm sure. When you look at the sheer accumulation of them though, you do start to wonder if yu have given a sucker an even break, and if we had got a try off one or two of them would the game have taken on a different complexion. Who knows?

The one I was slightly questioning was Ross Byrne's penalty because they were down to 14. I felt with our attacking maul going well if we could get a try we would push it out to a two score game. I can again understand why we took the three - going from a 1 point game to 4 is significant.
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Re: Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

Post by Blueberry »

ronk wrote: May 29th, 2022, 10:22 am
Blueberry wrote: May 29th, 2022, 10:12 am Under pressure decision making not to go for 7 and settle for 3 continuously is not what this team has been doing this season but we did yesterday. Ultimately is it a mix of nerves and just trying to cling on and do enough rather than having the confidence to go out and win it in style ?

Who knows but Sexton reflected on the decision to go for 3's post match so there are questions to be asked.

Game had a similar feeling to Bilbao in many ways, we went into our shell that day too but squeaked it.
We've lost both ways. In a tight game there were lots of moments that could have changed the course.

The problem with the tactic is that you only win a low scoring game. You have to keep their score down too. As it almost worked it wasn't even necessarily the wrong tactic.
I suppose my question is why did we so obviously change this yesterday, that is what is frustrating and it feels like a clear change from what we have been doing all season.

I think ultimately the result yesterday has to lead to the conclusion it was the wrong tactic despite nearly getting away with it.
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Re: Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

Post by LeinsterLeader »

enby wrote: May 29th, 2022, 10:26 am Great post Kendalgarty. Really interesting analysis
Yeah good posts kendalgerty. Very reasoned and fair analysis I think.
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Re: Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

Post by Blueberry »

kendalgerty wrote: May 29th, 2022, 10:30 am
Blueberry wrote: May 29th, 2022, 10:12 am Under pressure decision making not to go for 7 and settle for 3 continuously is not what this team has been doing this season but we did yesterday. Ultimately is it a mix of nerves and just trying to cling on and do enough rather than having the confidence to go out and win it in style ?

Who knows but Sexton reflected on the decision to go for 3's post match so there are questions to be asked.

Game had a similar feeling to Bilbao in many ways, we went into our shell that day too but squeaked it.
These analyses always involve a lot of hindsight bias. Someone posted (I think it wsa Hugonaut) this week that Leinster take very few penalties and usually kick the corners. In almost all individual instances there was an obvious argument for taking the three. Not saying it was definitely correct, but there was a clear case to be made for it. The main one being the penalties were almost all gimmes, in front of the posts. Had they been out on the touchline we would have gone to the corner I'm sure. When you look at the sheer accumulation of them though, you do start to wonder if yu have given a sucker an even break, and if we had got a try off one or two of them would the game have taken on a different complexion. Who knows?

The one I was slightly questioning was Ross Byrne's penalty because they were down to 14. I felt with our attacking maul going well if we could get a try we would push it out to a two score game. I can again understand why we took the three - going from a 1 point game to 4 is significant.
Who knows is right, easy for us from here to comment but funny it was actually a couple of the ones right in front of the posts where both myself and my son (who is way ahead of my critical skills) were screaming for tap and go's and felt we needed killer blows.....

Anyway like many on here absolutely gutted because it was one we SHOULD have won......
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Re: Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

Post by Ruckedtobits »

kendalgerty wrote: May 29th, 2022, 10:19 am I haven't posted on here in a long time but I was following the comments on here in the week and after the game and a lot of salient points have been made. My two (or three) penn'oth...

1. It was painfully gutting. An absolute sickener, I think this will go down as one of those uber-painful defeats that years on you still hate to even think about. I'm thinking of Vincent Clerc under the posts in Croke Park, New Zealand in Dublin with the second-take conversion, ROG's kick from the touchline in Thomond when we gave up a huge lead. Shudder. Last year's defeat and the loss to Sarries in the final were easier to take because I could accept that really we were beaten by the better team on both occasions, but I think this was a match we should have won. Even having played badly, on 65 minutes we were in position to see it out but we had a really poor last 15. This was not an awesome La Rochelle team.

2. Hugonaut is right about the emotional pitch of finals being impossible to replicate. I started getting very worried about this when I listened to the Second Captains podcast and heard Shane Horgan describing the sheer stress of playing in a final. As noted elsewhere, our game requires a lot of moving parts and I would imagine needs the players to find that balance between focus and relaxation in order to function at their best. I often think of Thom Yorke's description of playing live as being like 'driving at night, you're sort of on autopilot but also very focused'. As a racing cyclist I used to call it 'finding the zen place', where you're just relaxed enough to not be stressing about every attack, but focused enough to know what you have to be doing. Golfers talk about the same feeling. Would the stress of being in a final stop us getting to the 'zen place'? I think we succumbed to this factor. It was very similar to the final against Racing in that respect, except this time we came out just the wrong side.

3. It was an away match. I said to my rugby fan chums on Friday the fact this was a French team in France was being massively underrated as a factor. If it was a pool match or an away quarter final against any of the top six French teams would Leinster ever be 10 point favourites? It would never be more than a two point spread with the bookies.

4. The semi-final extrapolation error strikes again. How many times have we seen a match where in the previous round one team plays brilliantly while the other scrapes through, only for the scraper-throughers to turn the tables in the next round? I can think of Us v Toulouse in 2006, while Munster came through an arm wrestle against Perpignan. Cue the semi-final where we got mashed. Role reversal in 2009: we had that nailbiter in the Stoop, while Munster got all 45 squad players picked for the Lions after beating Ospreys so handsomely; we all know what happened next. England / South Africa in the most recent world cup is another more recent example, France in most world cups at some point. It's so hard to back up a really great performance. It's especially true when it's a really emotional performance and I think because it wasn't that against Toulouse - it was highly technical - it wasn't really considered a factor, but it's still hard to play equally well two weeks later.

In hindsight, we probably played a little too well for our own good in the semi-final. No fault of anyone, it's just life. You can't aim to not play well, or try and just do enough, rugby just doesn't go like that. But in doing so, it fed into the view in the media (and among most people I talked to) that Leinster were overwhelming favourites. We can talk all we like about the players being sheltered from this and I've no doubt they wouldn't have been as complacent, but it almost certainly fed into a nervy, edgy performance where we dropped ball and compounded errors and never really showed that slickness we had in previous rounds. La Rochelle will probably feel that they timed their run of form to perfection and I'm sure they relished the underdog status.

5. Dominated physically? I'm not so sure... I think it would be an easy narrative to say La Rochelle's huge pack ground us into the dirt and we couldn't cope but I don't think it's quite correct. In all honesty I just think we butchered this one. Let's not forget we still almost won playing way below our best. We made huge inroads with our attacking maul and while the scrum creaked a lot it didn't fold. They had to play off the penalties where they chose scrums and never threatened a pushover penalty try. I also thought we generated plenty of quick ball at rucks, we just managed to stuff it up through handling errors. Someone cited the Byrne knock on after two great gainlines by Conan and Henshaw, a classic example. There were others.

6. The Jimmy O'Brien knee touch was pivotal. Somebody said we compounded three errors here but in actual fact it was four when you account for the ball bouncing off Jimmy's knee. It would have been our lineout from way way back. From the ensuing kick, we then had the drop goal, the bounce, the failed clearance(s), off feet at ruck all leading to a maul and try.

7. Ross Byrne had a day to forget but was the right call. Yes, he had a shocker but it wasn't like him. I don't think any of us would have seen him dropping balls like that. He has his limitations, but has rightfully earned a reputation for being a pretty clutch-y player. Remember the match-winning penalty in Scotland? You'd have thought he was the obvious man to have to have to close out a match where we were leading. It didn't play out that way, but that's rugby.

Ugh. I could weep.
Superb analysis. Thoughtful, analytical and yet sensitive to the emotional nuances of a big sporting occasion. Thank you for those insights
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Re: Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

Post by LeinsterLeader »

Blueberry wrote: May 29th, 2022, 10:31 am
ronk wrote: May 29th, 2022, 10:22 am
Blueberry wrote: May 29th, 2022, 10:12 am Under pressure decision making not to go for 7 and settle for 3 continuously is not what this team has been doing this season but we did yesterday. Ultimately is it a mix of nerves and just trying to cling on and do enough rather than having the confidence to go out and win it in style ?

Who knows but Sexton reflected on the decision to go for 3's post match so there are questions to be asked.

Game had a similar feeling to Bilbao in many ways, we went into our shell that day too but squeaked it.
We've lost both ways. In a tight game there were lots of moments that could have changed the course.

The problem with the tactic is that you only win a low scoring game. You have to keep their score down too. As it almost worked it wasn't even necessarily the wrong tactic.
I suppose my question is why did we so obviously change this yesterday, that is what is frustrating and it feels like a clear change from what we have been doing all season.

I think ultimately the result yesterday has to lead to the conclusion it was the wrong tactic despite nearly getting away with it.
I think kendalgerty made a good point that the penalties were pretty much guaranteed 3 points whereas had they been wider we probably have gone for the corner. That's just way the chips fell I suppose.
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Re: Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

Post by curates_egg »

Blueberry wrote: May 29th, 2022, 10:31 am
ronk wrote: May 29th, 2022, 10:22 am
Blueberry wrote: May 29th, 2022, 10:12 am Under pressure decision making not to go for 7 and settle for 3 continuously is not what this team has been doing this season but we did yesterday. Ultimately is it a mix of nerves and just trying to cling on and do enough rather than having the confidence to go out and win it in style ?

Who knows but Sexton reflected on the decision to go for 3's post match so there are questions to be asked.

Game had a similar feeling to Bilbao in many ways, we went into our shell that day too but squeaked it.
We've lost both ways. In a tight game there were lots of moments that could have changed the course.

The problem with the tactic is that you only win a low scoring game. You have to keep their score down too. As it almost worked it wasn't even necessarily the wrong tactic.
I suppose my question is why did we so obviously change this yesterday, that is what is frustrating and it feels like a clear change from what we have been doing all season.

I think ultimately the result yesterday has to lead to the conclusion it was the wrong tactic despite nearly getting away with it.
We’ve been in three finals in five seasons and scored one try.

I’m normally a ‘take the points’ guy but I think we are now making a habit of going into our shells in the biggest games and not playing our own game.

Kendal (great post, welcome back) rightly pointed out the option to kick the three points after we went a man up. with their second most important lineout operator in the bin, who is also good in mauls, it was crying out for a 5 metre lineout maul.
It was, even without hindsight, a poor decision. It was, I assume, made by Ryan, which is even worse. He is getting into a habit of making bad decisions.
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Re: Leinster v La Rochelle Heineken Cup Final Sat 28th May 4.45 Marseille

Post by Blueberry »

Yes super post from Kendal.

Sobering stat that re the one try in 3 finals in five years....
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