Guest Post – HEC Preview

We’re bored of having to talk about the HEC – we’d much prefer to be supping skinny mocha frappuccinos and scoffing rosemary and fennel focaccia bread (Palla) or thumping our Bible and staring suspiciously at strangers while beating Kerry teams (Egg). So we decided we’d ask a few chums of ours to pen a preview of this weeks HEC games involving the provinces – let us know if you think they are any good, and we’ll ask them back.

Leinster vs Scarlets, by Gerry

Expect a whiff of you-know-what at the RDS – Leinster have got their go-to guy back, some guy called Brian. On-field lieutenants Darce and Church will add hard-carrying, and having Luke Fitzgerald no longer hors de combat is assuredly a lip-smacking prospect. Expect speedy service from the base by Eoin Reddan and the usual penetrating angles from Isa and the returning Rob Kearney.

The Scarlets might have gargantuan backs, but they’ll be living off scraps given their weakness in the trenches. If referee and personal bete-noir Jerome Garces cannot resist the temptation to emulate his, eh, countryman Romain Poite, we might have a game on our hands, with some ebb and flow of psychic energy. Otherwise, Leinster by 475.

Edinburgh vs Munster, by Frankie

Huge pressure on Munster going into this game, but then that’s the way they like it. Fingers crossed they don’t get tempted to play too much rugby, and ensure the ball doesn’t get to the inside centre. Putting the pack in the right areas of the pitch is Ronan O’Gara’s speciality and he can further stake his Lions claims with a commanding performance in Murrayfield.  I’m looking to see a real return to core Munster values.  Picking my client Ivan Dineen at inside-centre would be a start.

Edinburgh reached last years semi-finals, and Munster will need to draw on all their reserves of passion, desire, bravery, tears and faith to prevail here. I’d anticipate a victory by 60 points or so, so long as they stick to the traditional Munster way.  O’Gara will keep the scoreboard ticking with a dozen or so penalties, and the bonus point will be secured with a lineout drive from their own 5 metre line after 79 minutes and 59 seconds. Europe’s best player Peter O’Mahony and the awesome Dave Kilcoyne to be joint men of the match – don’t forget who their agent is.

Ulster vs Glasgow, by Statler and Waldorf George and Tom

George: The thing about Ulster is this – without David Humphreys they ..

Tom (interrupts): You mean Ian Humphreys?

George: Yes. The thing about Ulster is this – let me finish – without Ian Humphreys they lack the necessary oomph in the pack. And they need a genuine openside like ..

Tom (interrupts): Like Harrison Brewer?

George: Exactly Tom. If Ulster had the ability to play rugby, they’d easily win this game. As it stands, I can’t see past Italy. Italy by …

Tom (interrupts): Thanks George – we’ll be right back after these.

Harlequins vs Connacht, by Stephen

Connacht, smugly protected from relegation in the feeble Pro12 and a mere branch of their centralised union, will have little chance when they go to real, proper, manly English club like Harlequins, whose great tradition and noble breeding will swipe at the Irishmen’s poorly stitched collars before the game even begins.

The only weakness I can perceive in the glorious English side is the presence of a Kiwi at fly-half.  Expect the wonderfully experienced Nick Easter, to whose chest measurement I can only aspire, to dominate the game from first to last, and the spirited yeoman Jordan Turner-Hall to use all the explosive power in his considerable groin muscles in the 12 channel, enabling the upstanding chaps from the Harlequins Rugby Club to romp to a bonus-point victory.  Now, off to polish my many awards…