Play Badly, Lose Ugly

Whenever John Giles is asked the age-old question about the sign of a good team being that they can play badly and win, he usually has the same response: ‘Well, Eoin, there’s nothing wrong with playing well’.

So it goes with Leinster, who made a lot of brouhaha about their ability to ‘win ugly’ last weekend. Winning ugly is fine in so far as it goes – no team can play at their best for 40 weeks in a row, and it’s better to peak in May than in December. But winning ugly should be no sort of aspiration; at some point the team has to aim to perform. Better to play well and win handsomely, surely? That needn’t mean flinging the ball around in the name of Leinstertainment, it just means playing with a high degree of accuracy and intensity. More often than not ‘winning ugly’ is a euphemism for playing badly, but thankfully the opposition were that bit more useless than we were.

It’s one thing to win ugly in a hard European away game, it’s another to repeatedly win ugly at home to the lesser teams in the Pro12. If you win ugly at home to Zebre, chances are you played badly. Leinster’s problem is that they play badly a lot. In fact, it’s hard to recall a game this season in which they haven’t played badly. That’s translated into winning ugly a lot, because most of their opponents have been fairly poor. But any time they’ve come up against even remotely decent opposition, they’ve lost. They lost to Connacht, they lost at home to Munster and last week they lost to Harlequins. They lost those matches because they played badly in them.

Last Sunday’s defeat to Harlequins was another error-strewn performance to add to the catalogue. To be fair, Leinster tried to play a bit more rugby than they did against Ospreys the previous week, with Gopperth taking the ball to the gainline and causing problems with his running game, which is generally pretty good. But their handling was poor for a side graced with so many internationals and once they found themselves in wide channels they were hopeless. It was as if the touchline was alien territory: ‘Do we run straight over this thing, or throw the ball over it, or do we just throw it one of their chaps?’

By contrast, Harlquins’ skill levels were superior. In Nick Easter and Luke Wallace they had two forwards capable of creating space by passing the ball in tight traffic, and creating a link between forwards and backs. Nick Easter must be ageless, because I thought he was ancient five or six years ago, but he’s still as good as ever; a fantastic player with great hands and a tack-sharp rugby brain

Leinster have picked up bad habits in the last 18 months, and the thing about bad habits is they’re hard to break. It’s rarely a question of simply saying ‘Right, this is a proper game against a real team, so let’s sharpen up the passing today because we’re going to move it wide.’ Good teams forge the right habits week after week and stay true to the team’s identity no matter the personnel on the pitch.

This Leinster team’s identity is becoming one of a team which plays pretty ugly. That’s fine when you’re winning ugly, but once you start losing ugly, it becomes a problem. Another ugly, or bad, performance this weekend, and Leinster could be out of Europe. Leinster need a win, but they need a performance to get it.

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53 Comments

  1. bozo

     /  December 10, 2014

    A few years ago we had strong provinces and a weaker Ireland, now we have a strong Ireland and weaker provinces.
    Why are they mutually exclusive?

    • They’re not. It was Farmer Farrelly and the other Kidney-apologisers who tried to convince everyone that was the case. A few years ago the best coach was working for Leinster, now he’s working for Ireland.

    • Yossarian

       /  December 10, 2014

      Leinster won the H-Cup the same year Ireland won the Grand slam.

    • One reason might be when we had a weaker Ireland, the gate receipts would have been down at the Aviva, which according to Plan Ireland funds the game and at the same time there was a focus on the recruitment of overseas internationals at the provinces. Another might a recent refocus by the IRFU on the recruitment of players who are irish qualified or development players rather than overseas internationals at the provinces. This could be a reason for the loss of David Humphreys to Gloucester. Interestingly a by product of the Leinster success has been an increased number of players from Leinster in the academies of Connacht and Ulster. So in the absence of strong provinces on built on overseas international recruitment it appears that there is a deficit in development that is not attracting youth who are capable of competing in the provinces for the match day squads.

    • Bueller

       /  December 10, 2014

      As an average mean one could argue that the provinces are probably at their strongest ever this season. Connacht and Ulster are far superior than they were in the 00s. Munster and Leinster have waned somewhat but are still likely to be at the business end of the Rabo and both still have a decent shot of qualification from their ERCC groups. Let’s be honest neither could ever sustain their success forever consistently. All provinces are less relient on NIQ players these days and it may be that having 4 competitive sides is much better for the national team than 1 or 2 super sides?
      ‘A few years ago the best coach was working for Leinster, now he’s working for Ireland.’ A very similar statement was bandied about in 09 after the grand-slam. No doubt Joe Schmidt is a brilliant coach, but his is not the only departure from Leinster that has left massive holes unfilled – since their pomp they have lost probably 4 of the best players in Europe at the time (Sexton, Drico, Nacewa, SOB….and you could nearly throw Healy in there too) and it may be difficult to accept it but what is left are no world beaters (Heaslip and Kearney aside).

  2. I think one thing that summed up Leinster’s backs play was (a) Kearney trying essentially the same thing on the right touchline three times and getting increasingly worse results to the point that he threw what was probably the easiest try of the weekend and (b) the fact that all BT Sport had to say about D’Arcy were “how old school” his boots were compared to Madigan’s.

    One positive though which I haven’t seen anyone really mention: It was Great to see Fitzgerald get 80 minutes under his belt, although did anyone else get unnecessarily squeamish any time he got the ball or ended up in a ruck?

    • D6W

       /  December 10, 2014

      It was great see Fitzgerald get 80 minutes, and he looked as sharp as ever. He has had a few games back now, so I am not so worried re his long term injuries. However, now that MO’C has had a chance to see what a talented and creative player he is, my main concern is that he will bench him!

      • Has he played that much this season? All I remember these days are the false starts where he’s named in the team but doesn’t get to the pitch for kickoff.

        • D6W

           /  December 10, 2014

          He has had 3 full games this season, but yes, he had a late pullout against Ospreys, and possibly a 1 or 2 more. BUt when he has been on pitched has looked very sharp and not hampered.

    • JT64

       /  December 10, 2014

      Haha shat myself too anytime he contested any rucks, but thankfully he got through 80. I really hope we see a run from him and eventually he makes that 13 jersey his own.

  3. connachtexile

     /  December 10, 2014

    The only time I remember Leinster playing well under MOC was last year vs Northampton which was nearly straight after the November series. I’m now convinced that the senior internationals who came back were still enjoying the post-coital glow of the Schmidt training they received over the training weeks with him which took a while to fade before they went back again to MOC levels of Doggerel.

    • Oonagh Kerr

       /  December 10, 2014

      If that’s true couldn’t the same, or further improvement, for this year? Last year we had 1/3 and this year it’s 3/3. Shouldn’t the players then be even more improved?

    • Riocard Ó Tiarnaigh

       /  December 10, 2014

      In fact that match came one week after the defeat to NZ. We started an Ireland 15 looking for revenge!!!

  4. Smithers

     /  December 10, 2014

    In a completely unrelated side note – does anyone know how long MOC’s contract is for? Is he gone at the end of the year or do we suffer another year of this? Any chance we could coax Vern Cotter from Scotland post RWC?

    Also, I was shocked to Jimmy “I hate the Gainline” Gopps is worth 300k sterling to Wasps… what do they know that we don’t?

    • curates_egg

       /  December 10, 2014

      3 years but nobody is sure is it 2 plus 1 or a full 3.

      Gopperth is a decent player (maybe not 300k decent but still). Like a lot of the decent players in the Leinster squad, he is being made to look bad through poor preparation and tactics.

  5. JT64

     /  December 10, 2014

    Rumour has it that Gopperth will again start 10 at the weekend. His running game is actually pretty good (when he’s allowed to use it) when he goes flat, but he seems to be ordered to play deep the whole time. Granted he isn’t the answer at 10 anyway, but does anyone have any inside track on why MOC insists on not picking Madigan there? And why he persistently seems to undermine him, a la his recent ill-advised, smarmy comments on Against The Head?

  6. Billy

     /  December 10, 2014

    I fear Leinster supporters’ expectations have become disentangled from reality.

    Harlequins are a good team. Their fortunes over recent years have mirrored Leinster’s funnily. Both teams effectively peaked in 2012 but unlike Leinster Quins have mostly the same personnel as they did at their peak and their main failing since then has been a paper thin squad. As we saw on Sunday, when motivated, with a full-strength team they are a serious outfit capable of rolling anyone at The Stoop so there is no terrible shame in losing to them and claiming a bonus point, especially when the difference is essentially an intercept try.

    Leinster are not the outfit they once were in personnel terms. Their only starting Irish international back, Rob Kearney (and one of only five starters on Sunday which played the H-Cup final in 2012) was exceptionally poor going forward but he’s never been very effective joining the line like many leading full backs are.

    Joe Schmidt has been prematurely beatified after an opening fifteen months which were only slightly worse than Deccie’s first fifteen months. He had some shockers too. Failing to get Leinster out of their group in 2012-13 was poor, losing to the Ospreys in the Rabo final was poor… Big games with better players. I’m not picking on Joe as he is undoubtedly an excellent coach but people need to take their rose-tinted glasses off for a second.

    Also, the sight of fans laying into players and coaches as they have done lately is a little unedifying and quite football-like. I realise I’m only speaking about a certain cohort but if you really support the province, get behind the team rather than bitching about them.

    • There’s a lot in this Billy, I don’t know how much of it is in relation to the post above and how much is venting at the general cohort of Leinster fans. The point of the post is simple: Leinster aren’t playing very well. Is that really that unedifying to point it out?

      Harlequins are a good team, of course. At no point did we say they weren’t. You don’t beat Harlequins unless you play well, and Leinster didn’t play well. They haven’t really played well yet this season.

      We never mentioned Schmidt in the post above. Obviously Matt O’Connor has taken over from Schmidt and a certain amount of comparison is inevitable but we didn’t want to go down that road today. Five players started the 2012 final? Sure, but 11 were in the 23 for Ireland’s win over Australia. The resources may not be at the 2012 level but they’re better than they’re playing this season. This is Matt O’Connor’s team and they’re not playing well. As a Leinter fan, I’m 100% behind the team, but that doesn’t mean that I have to pretend the team are doing great.

    • D6W

       /  December 10, 2014

      You are factually incorrect, D’Arcy is also a starting Irish international back (regardless of the debate as to whether he still should be).

      • Billy

         /  December 10, 2014

        With a full hand to choose from against South Africa, D’Arcy failed to make the match day squad

        • Hairy Naomh Mhuire

           /  December 10, 2014

          To claim on this basis that D’Arcy is not a starting Irish international back is both ungracious and ridiculous. You may recall that he had been unable to train fully in the week leading up to that game due to a groin strain and Joe has form in not selecting those who have not trained fully in the build-up to a match.

          • Billy

             /  December 10, 2014

            OK, the point remains – if you are waiting on Rob Kearney or a 34 year old Gordon D’Arcy to provide an attacking spark, you’ll be waiting a long time

    • curates_egg

       /  December 10, 2014

      Harlequins is not a good team this year. That is a straw man. They are 9th in the premiership and have won 4 games (2 of which were against Londons Irish and Welsh). They have not been scoring many tries but there defense is ok.

      Another straw man is the bandied about notion that any criticism of a coach amounts to criticism of the team/soccer fan approach. What utter poppycock. The fans, the players and the team have been around for a long time, coaches come and go. If a coach is perceived to be holding back or hampering the team, it is the duty of real fans to criticise the coach for the good of their team. Criticising the coach does not equate to not getting behind the team. I think this current coach is doing serious damage to Leinster but (as anyone who watches a match with me will confirm) I am the first to get behind the team.

      Now that we have put those straw men to bed, I would definitely agree that coming out of that game in the Stoop with a point was a great result.

    • Leinsterlion

       /  December 10, 2014

      Quins are not a good team, look at their form, 9th in the table and only a few wins which have come against dire opposition. Evans is shot, not the player he was, nothing in the centers, Yarde anonymous on the wing. We should have gotten a BP against them, they are an ordinary side.

      • Leinsterlion

         /  December 10, 2014

        Posted before i had scrolled down and seen curates post above^ what he said.

      • Leinster did get a BP against them

        • Leinsterlion

           /  December 10, 2014

          Har har har, a winning try BP. we have the players to cut them to ribbons.

      • Billy

         /  December 10, 2014

        I’ve seen Quins a couple of times this year and haven’t been impressed with them but they certainly have it in them to provide a performance, which they did last Sunday. Without meaning to labour the point they did win the Premiership two years ago, playing some lovely rugby with largely similar personnel. It’s more their squad than their 1st team that lets them down. Having watched the Bath match the previous weekend, the turnaround in performance from their scrum (and pack in general) was unbelievable.

        I’ll have to agree to disagree with you Curate’s, I don’t MOC has been given much of a chance by most fans, who still seem to think it’s 2012. I think his main issues as a coach have been 1) not being Joe Schmidt and 2) the Leinster team in personnel terms is not a patch on 2012.

        I very much disagree on the skills argument as well. I find the idea of blaming a coach for individual errors such as knock ons, poor passes, etc. ridiculous. If you knock on in a match, it’s your fault. End of story. Kearney throwing the intercept, Kearney’s horrible pass to Fanning, Fanning missing the switch – all player error. I’d accept the argument that Leinster were too expansive as MOC error but not the basic skills.

        • But if you knock the ball on in a a series of matches, then that’s surely the coaches fault? Leinster’s accuracy has been terrible this year and last. Leinster didn’t become the best passing team in Europe by just having good players.

          • curates_egg

             /  December 10, 2014

            That’s the point. We went through years of throwing accurate passes and not knocking on the ball. Now we don’t pass much but when we do, they are often bad passes and the handling is bad. The fact it is a trend means would indicate it is something that is no longer being worked on in training, when it used to be a hallmark of our performances.

        • Leinsterlion

           /  December 10, 2014

          Why is Fanning picked? MOC.. he wants a solid pawn who will follow orders. Fanning shouldnt be near a Leinster jersey. Such a boring players, too small as a battering ram and too slow to do anything but try to be a battering ram. Great story, but he is not a Leinster player, case in point not linking up with Kearnage at all. Kearnage tried things they did not come off, no one ran lines of him etc, he is the least culpable, though people want to blame him. Same with Gopperth, persisting with Madigan at 12 and Darce(who has no legs) at 13.
          Skills, selection and gameplan are all on MOC

          • D6W

             /  December 10, 2014

            Agree, in general. Maybe you are a bit harsh on Fanning, but surely MO’C is the only one that could think he should be starting instead of McFadden.

            Gopperth ironically had his best game all season, but he still should not have been on the pitch based on form. Maybe he decided to ignore M’OC instructions and showcase his talent in the premiership shop window.

            Also, glad someone else thinks that Kearnage did not have the mare many say he did. He at the least injected some real pace when he got hands on the ball, and tried to run to space.

          • Leinsterlion

             /  December 10, 2014

            Gopperth is good when he plays flat, the only problem is he rarely passes when he plays flat, he breaks and gets caught most of the time, he had a good first half and a patchy second, every time he drops deep he kicks badly more often than not. He is a solid pro but Quins aside he has had a disaster of a season. It shows how bad he has been that you almost feel like applauding an average performance from him.

            I am being harsh on Fanning, he has done nothing “wrong”, he is just out of his depth, he wont let you down, but he will not do anything either, its condescending to exempt him from criticism imo. I want to SCM or one of the academy boys given a run at wing, they at least will have pace, which we are badly lacking.

            Its all down to MOC at the end of the day, Gopperths strength is standing flat and running or dumping it off to someone on his shoulder, not sitting deep and kicking, MOC instucts him to sit deep and kick most of the time, Kearnage runs back kicks, no one runs off him, obv expecting him to kick so they stay flat or in a chasing line. Heaslip barely carries the ball all game, so many individual mistakes that happen so often they are obviously under instruction.

      • Bueller

         /  December 10, 2014

        Am I the only one who sees the irony here? Billy is saying that Quins are a good side capable of big performances based on the fact that they are the same squad (and coach) that won that was impressive 2 years go. The rest of you apparently disagree with this.
        Now the same people seem to be basing the fact that Leinster are still capable of big performances base on the fact that they were good 3 years ago with a substantially different squad and different manager?

    • red*razors

       /  December 10, 2014

      There’s expectation, and then there’s hope. You hope your team plays with style and panache, but a perfectly reasonable expectation for any supporter to have is that at an absolute minimum they do the basics, and do them well. I can’t speak for last weekend as I didn’t get to see it, but it is apparent from previous performances that Leinster are consistently not even getting the basics right. I can’t see how it’s beyond the remit of a supporter to criticise flaws where they find them – in fact, it’s essential for supporters to be able to do this. I will support Munster through anything, but you can be sure that last weekend there was a great deal said about their abysmal “performance”.

  7. Riocard Ó Tiarnaigh

     /  December 10, 2014

    I actually think we would have won, had we not on three occasions given away the ball at our own line-out, thereby each time conceding possession, hard earned territory, an attacking position and momentum. People complain, MO’C’s trying to turn Leinster into a copy of Leicester. One could do worse. Guess which team didn’t lose any of their lineouts on the way to defeating the reigning Heino champions on Saturday?…

    • curates_egg

       /  December 10, 2014

      Or had we not thrown a soft intercept…or Easter’s try not been given. Given how poor we were, with basic errors and a no-longer-functioing set-piece, it was a fine outcome.

      I also wish that – instead of making hyperbolic statements (like turning is into Leicester) or seeking false scapegoats (like Gopperth) – people would focus on the very large factual problems we are facing: massive decline in basic skills like passing and handling, serious regression in the setpieces (scrum and line-out), poor tactics and poor selection. Those indictments speak for themselves.

      • Jimbob

         /  December 10, 2014

        Yes! If MOC is trying to turn us into Leicester he’s completely failed at that. Leicester are a lot better than Leinster at the moment!

  8. Even with Gopperth breaking the line, his passing and general presence is to the team’s detriment.

    Matt O’Connor can try to save his own skin however he likes, but his press conference last weekend didn’t make logical sense. He talked about “form” and then cited that Leinster have scored more tries than anyone in the Guinness Pro 12 – that’s not “form” – people are obviously talking about recent performances, not that any of their play this season has been good enough.

    The fact is, as people have said before here, doing well in the Pro 12 is a bare minimum for a Leinster coach.

    People demanding they play better aren’t looking for some idyll of 00s Leinster taking everyone on, they just want them to not be shit, to look dangerous with ball in hand, to play with the ambition one of the big clubs in Europe with a massive support and a great record should play with.

    MOC is your typical example of a coaching failure – he doesn’t coach teams to win, he coaches them not to lose. This doesn’t work in sport, in any sport. Sport is full of coaches like this who’ve had half-success or worse.

    I still don’t get how they couldn’t have found someone better after Joe left, but I guess the utter success of getting Joe to this island can forgive a subsequent failure to appoint a successor.

    FFS though, the provinces are in a state between this and Foley. And I don’t for a second think both can’t be successful.

    Winning the No-Sponsor Cup might be a big ask with Toulon and Clermont around, but you’d expect a decent fist of the group stages and at least to feel that at home they could give anyone a good game.

  9. curates_egg

     /  December 10, 2014

    Having been extremely gloomy about our regressive and rudderless season, I actually saw the glass half full on Sunday. Yes, we again made a lot of errors but there were tracts of the game when we weren’t aimlessly kicking the ball away and not chasing. Harlequins came at us all guns blazing in the Stoop and yet we were a soft intercept and/or dubious try (Easter’s try was not grounded) away from winning, despite playing poorly and having no scrum (granted Marler was illegal for a lot of the penalties). In the end, we left with a point from The Stoop, which (let’s be honest) was the very best most fans were expecting given how we have played this year.

    Our record at the revitalised Landsdowne Road is not good but will the Quins have anything more to offer (particularly if they are missing any of Marler, Robshaw or Evans)? It is pretty clear that MOC’s strategy (both last season and this) is to play conservatively/ugly and occasionally turn it on (Northampton and Glasgow and maybe Castres last year). My concern is that we tried to turn it on last weekend and failed, so what will MOC do this weekend? Revert to type? It is also clear that O’Shea is a far more intelligent honcho than MOC, so he will have a good plan.

    If we get out of this pool (which is an easy pool – Quins 9th in the premiership and Castres languishing in the Top14) we will scrape through to an away quarter final. It is not beyond the realms of imagination that Pashun Inc will again nick the last quarter final spot from under our noses (all the more if we play Wasps on Friday and they play Sale on Sunday #MiracleMatch_bis). Our even longer than usual run of poor form in the Pro12 (which injuries can only partially excuse) will also leave us in a difficult place for the run-in in that competition. Could be another step back this season…

    Or we could blitz Quins with through the legs passes, reverse passes flicks, French passes and the full array from Northampton last year ;p

    • Sorry CE but how many games have we lost in the palindrome? I can think of 3. Munster this season, Saints last and Cleremont the season before.

      • curates_egg

         /  December 10, 2014

        How many have we played Len? 6 or 7? Given it is supposedly a home venue, 3 out of 6 is a very poor return. We have also lost the last 3. We have a very strong record in the RDS but the players themselves acknowledge the poor record in the palindrome.

        It also stretches back beyond the reopening of Landsdowne Road…as anyone who supported Leinster prior to their winning the Heineken Cup can testify (the dark days against Perpignan and Munster stick out – I am still scarred). If you include the games pre-2009, I would say our win ratio in Landsdowne Road is around 33% at best. That is pretty poor for a home venue. Of course there are mitigating factors (like the opposition being better) but it is still a poor ratio.

        • Actually we’ve played 12 matches at the palindrome and lost 3 so 75% record. I’m Not going to look back at Lansdowne because it’s too hard to get the data but I would imagine our record wasn’t as good. Sorry for nit picking but I actually felt up to last year that lansdowne v2.0 was a great venue for us. Obviously the 2 abject defeats to Munster and saints have taken the gloss of that but I still wouldn’t classify our record there as poor.

          • curates_egg

             /  December 11, 2014

            Is it that many? Wow. I take it back. The last 3 losses just make it seem like that. Who have we beaten there? Toulouse, Munster (twice or three times?), Cardiff, Leiciester, Clermont (the first time). I must be missing games.

            I don’t need “data” for most of the the pre-renovation games: I was at most of them 😉

  10. There was an opinion on the score earlier that MOC is persisting with mads at 12 because gopperth at 10 and mads at 12 is stronger than mads at 10 and Reid at 12. Not sure I buy that. Even with everyone fit I’d say he still have made at 12 and a another at 13. I think our backs play has dropped of a cliff over the last 18m. That’s not all down to gopperth or the players exiting. The game plan so far this season is either kick and chase, in which case our chase is very poor or its kick for field position in which case our kicking is aweful. It feels as if MOC is trying to play a particular game plan without the players to do it and has no plan b. We need to stuff quinns to give us any chance and hope Castre turn up against wasps.

    • Leinsterlion

       /  December 10, 2014

      Everything will come together in the centers once we pair Coughlan and Te’o in midfield Oooooooooooooohhhh!!!

  11. Robshaw and Evans both out. Should help our chances.

  12. I think comparing to 2012 and pointing at the losses of x, y and z is bullshit when looking at the current teams’ woes to be honest. It’s certainly a legitimate excuse why Leinster aren’t in the same tier as Clermont and Toulon anymore, but there is no excuse for them playing as bad as they are. If you look through the Leinster lineup it is still quite a good team, they should be cruising the joke that is the pro 12 and should also be tearing up trees through their piss easy Heineken cup group. Harlequins are a bunch of plodders. Well drilled and committed but thoroughly average. Leinster have regressed in probably every aspect of play since MOC has come in..you would accept a small drop off given the departure of some of their best players and the best coach in the world, but they can’t pass the f****n ball anymore and look completely devoid of ideas. It’s their lack of ambition that I find the most frustrating, and this stems from their whinging pig of a coach.

    Similar to Munster, when at their dizzy they haven’t planned properly for the inevitable trough that will follow. Their two ‘high profile’ signings Zane Kirchner and Kane Douglas are absolutely bog standard and can’t even make the team for a Heineken match, what’s their purpose? I am currently reading Sexton’s book and he speaks of how Leinster say they will be looking to sign Drew Mitchell or Adam Ashley Cooper…jesus christ!

  13. eatmypoint

     /  December 11, 2014

    Is Leinster’s poor form this year a glimpse at what life is like after Joe? So many quotes from the Ireland camp this year about how they start thinking/talking like Schmidt and hearing his voice in their heads out on the pitch also his way of playing is so structured that players struggle to adapt to other coaches less all encompassing styles after he’s gone? i.e. is it possible players will hit their peak under Schmidt and then struggle a bit afterwards?

  14. Andrew097

     /  December 12, 2014

    One of the great things about Schmidts Leinster is the whole was always better then the sum of the parts. Recent form is the opposite, the collective is misfiring and the parts uselly add up to more then what we see on the pitch.
    Kearney was not great, I would just drop him after that shocker any thing less is just saying carry on being very sloppy. One thing you can say in his defence is everybody else had their lazy moments too. EG One chase from Fitzgerald if it had been conducted correctly could have ended up with a try or at least great field position. Yarde let the ball bounce and roll unexpectly but he had time to get back pick it up and make a decision under no pressure. Result nothing on. That is because Fitzgerald meanwhile jogged up. Fanning chased one ball properly and reclaimed it on the bounce. It’s these things that Leinster has lost, the little basics that makes the difference.

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