Leinster 23 – Cardiff 15 (September 12th)

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So the first home game of the season has come and gone, and it is always imperative to start off with a win.  The team was a mix of a few experienced players with many young and exciting new faces.  The game should never have been so close.  Leinster, through the likes of the excellent Jack Conan and Ben Teo looked the more dangerous side throughout.  In truth Cardiff never truly threatened the Leinster line apart from one or two line-outs from close out.  However what Cardiff did possess was a place kicker who just punished any ill discipline from almost impossible ranges and angles.  In a week were Wales lost their accurate place kicker Halfpenny, Patchell looked almost as deadly with the boot as his country’s counterpart.  All of Cardiff’s points came from his boot and at least 3 of his kicks were either just in front, or behind the half way line.

However, the worrying point from a Leinster perspective was how they allowed Patchell to have so many shots at goal.  There needed to be more discipline from the Leinster team.  Leinster looked a lot better in attack than the end of last season, where every piece of possession seemed to be kicked down the pitch.  The backline seemed to be enjoying the ball in hand, but at times the ball was merely spread from side to side without any real directness.  The exceptions to this were Teo and Conan who seemed to get over the gain-line every time they touched the ball.  With the likes of Healy and O’Brien at the world cup, these two players could become very important over the next two months.

Another notable performance was Ringrose.  In his debut for Leinster he looked sharp on the ball and in the last few passages of play made some huge and important tackles when Cardiff had an overlap.  I look forward to him getting a run in the team whilst the Irish players are away.  And finally it is great to see Isa Nacewa back in the blue of Leinster, especially when he looked as sharp as he did on Saturday!

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