I watched this game in the RDS on Saturday afternoon, a glorious afternoon for running rugby. The first half was anything but, however. It was a tense arm-wrestle where the boots of Madigan and Pienaar battled it out. Pienaar was unlucky with one kick (which hit the bar) and Leinster went into the break with a slim lead at 9-6. However throughout the first half it looked like Ulster were the more likely of the two sides to breach the try line.
Just before halftime, Ulster’s Dan Tuohy was sinbinned (harshly in my opinion), and Leinster kicked off in this period. Madigan scored an opportunist try when he quick tapped a penalty 5 metres out and burrowed his way over the Ulster line. However with a lapse of concentration defending a scrum, Ulster scored a try of their own almost immediately, through their prop. Pienaar missed the conversion. Then for the remaining period of the match, Leinster were in the ascendency, and kept battling away at the Ulster defence. Man of the match Conan finished his excellent display with a try right at the end to cap off a successful afternoon for Leinster and a return to the top 4 of the table.
The second half of the game was one of the more complete performances of Leinster so far this season, and they showed what they can do when they retain possession and don’t kick it away, which they have been guilty of all season. The back row which for most of the game was second string was exceptional, and in the back line, special praise must go to Madigan and Fitzgerald. The main concern following the game was the Heaslip injury. I hope he has a speedy recovery as he is badly needed for the remainder of the Heineken Cup pool games.