After the success of the Irish team less than 24 hours earlier, this defeat was made even more disappointing. Leinster’s first defeat in the RDS since March 2013 was a torrid and depressing showcase of what rugby can be. There were many matters of disappointment which I shall try my best to speak about!
It is astounding to me that a game in this modern age could have no TMO. It makes a mockery of a league that is already facing an uphill battle against the big French and English leagues. Even schools rugby games have TMOs, so this was baffling in my opinion. There were at least two decisions which were questionable, which could have benefitted from the help of replays.
Leinster seemed to lack cutting edge and accuracy. This could be expected from a team which was missing 12 players to the Irish team at the time. But at the same time, Leinster had 8 previous Irish players on the pitch. It simply wasn’t good enough. The result was even more upsetting considering Leinster played the game against 14 men for 20 minutes! The amount of knock-ons or cheap penalties in the ‘red zone’ were too numerous and damaging for Leinster.
I don’t know whether the issue is getting worse or whether the public and now officials are just more conscious, but concussions seem to becoming more prevalent week after week in rugby. 3 Leinster players: Strauss, Reid and Denton all had to leave the pitch due to head injuries. It is perhaps a sign of the game, where players are getting bigger, collisions harder and the game getting quicker. It is hard to know what the solution might be, but I think everyone agrees that head injuries getting more common is worrying for everyone, from players right down to their families. No one wants a situation where these players are faced with brain problems once they retire.
Hopefully this Friday’s game at home to Zebre should give this group of players a chance to redeem themselves and get back to restoring the RDS as a fortress that it used to be…Fingers crossed!