Best of the Weekend: Tigers march on as Munster beat Leinster

Alesana Tuilagi

This week’s ‘Best of the Weekend’ column might be a little briefer than usual. Benny Coles is having laptop issues – clearly typing too much and too fast and his computer is smoking.

Hutch, meanwhile, was golfing in Scotland and hardly saw a minute of rugby this weekend. Despite traipsing around Edinburgh looking for a bar that might be interested in the Aviva Premiership – instead of the Cricket World Cup final or Arsenal versus whoever in the football – we only managed to catch the last five minutes of the Quins v Leicester game.

We saw the replay of the contretemps between Joe Marler and Marcos Ayerza, and then watched Quins desperately try to win the game before knocking it on.

All in all, my Aviva Premiership predictions for this weekend were pretty much spot on, and I’m pleased for Leeds that they aren’t down and out just yet. It’s a massive fixture coming up next weekend at Kingston Park, and you never know, they might get out of jail.

Northampton seem to be returning to form at exactly the right time, ahead of their Heineken Cup quarter-final clash with Ulster next weekend. During their slump, it was difficult to believe that the absence of their international players could be that significant, but now that they are back and scoring tries, it is more credible.

However, the main story of the weekend seems to be the result at Thomond Park, where Munster fought back to beat Leinster by a point. Ronan O’Gara won his duel with Jonny Sexton, and whilst there was only one try in the game, it sounded like a thriller – can anyone enlighten me?

Perhaps we can make this week’s article a community-driven effort – please tell us what your highlights were, suggestions for try of the weekend and whether heroes and villains emerged.

Thanks in advance for your help. I’m off to watch some highlights.

13 thoughts on “Best of the Weekend: Tigers march on as Munster beat Leinster

  1. Ref was worth 6 – 9 points to munster. ROG only did basics well (when he wasn’t putting restarts out on the full)

  2. Here’s a few from me…

    Villain of the weekend is undoubtedly Marcos Ayerza. He and Marler were having an ongoing tangle over the course of a few rucks and it culminated in Ayerza headbutting Marler pretty hard square in the face. Rather comically, Marler looked to the referee almost to say “have you seen what he’s just done?!” before laying a couple of punches on Ayerza himself. Both players deserved red, Marler if only for his mohawk, but Ayerza was definitely the instigator and I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Marler as he trudged off the field apologising to teammates.

    There’s not a category for this but my heart goes out to Dom Waldouck, who picked up yet ANOTHER injury this season which will almost definitely rule him out of the World Cup, either because he won’t be fit enough in time or because he simply won’t have any time to prove himself. I think he’d be a real asset for England in their stagnant centre positions, Flutey’s try being a good example from this after coming from a neat Waldouck grubber kick. Shame.

    Third point is on Danny Cipriani. It was the first time I’d watched any Rebels match live and while he did impress going forward I still have reservations. Missed a tackle for the first try before then shirking the job of defending the fringes around the ruck after the guy was eventually hauled down. He was right next to it, but instead sort of lolloped into a position a few yards behind the ruck. When the ruck is pretty much on the try line, that’s effectively a completely useless position to take and the Force scored from a pick and go in that hole. For the Force’s second try he missed another tackle, on James O’Connor, before showing no attempt to make up for it and just watched on as the ball went to the hooker (I think?) to cross over.

    I’m a big fan of Cipriani and there were many positives from him attacking-wise in this match, but you’ll have no doubt read about those elsewhere (I know I have) and I don’t think I’ve seen a single place that picked up on his defensive weaknesses. If Martin Johnson was watching, as DC supposedly asked him to, then dont expect him to be that impressed. He simply has no appetite for tackling, which is a great shame.

  3. It sounds like Waldouck is going to be out for a year, which is a real shame. I admit to having reservations over whether he was good enough, but he was on the fringes of the squad, so Johnno must have thought so.

    The case for Manu Tuilagi to be in England’s RWC has just got even stronger…

    I’ve watched Cipriani a bit this season, and he’s done a couple of spectacular things, and a few dreadful things. Plus, he doesn’t seem to be demonstrating a shift in attitude that Johnno probably needs to see.

    Sounds like there were a couple of referee shockers this weekend…can anyone explain more about the Munster game? Were there any howlers?

  4. The ref in the Munster game was consistent. He was equally awful to both sides! In the first half he penalized Munster repeatedly for not rolling away, and on a couple of occasions missed blatant Leinster hands in the ruck which less to turnovers.
    The second half was a different story, Leinster got pinged for everything, even BOD saw yellow!
    ROG kept his cool when he needed to most, slotted over the winning penalty in the last minute. Munster won the second half 15-3 and the game by a single point. The standout players for me were Conor Murray, Nacewa and James Coughlan.

  5. Highlight for me was the look of shock on BOD’s face when Andrew Small produced the yellow, closely followed by the sight of Mick O’Driscoll pointing BOD out to the ref with one hand for not rolling away whilst holding him down with the other hand!

  6. Laptop arrived this morning… typical eh?

    I loved the Marler Ayerza scuffle. Good bit of banter.

  7. the 3 points munster got for mike ross destroying their scrum!!! seemingly illigal in the refs eyes! some marginal calls missed the forward pass to earls, gave the scrum to munster when fitz won the high ball, sent of bod when munster where holding him down to get the penalty yellow card!! but to be honest leinster didn’t really have the intensity in the second half! and munster deserved to win it! beautiful try by horgan set up by hacewa!!

  8. Nothing like a bit of referee controversy, but sounds like Munster were trying to influence him a little.

    I also saw that Henson scored a try on his debut this weekend. Did anyone see him play? Any good?

  9. Villain of the weekend: Wayne Barnes, took what was a great game and turned it into constant scrum resets. Yellow carded Will Skinner even though the ball had popped out (which resulted in Leicester Tigers penalty try). Red carded Joe Marler for retaliation to being headbutted twice (the fact that the whole crowd cheered when Marcos Ayerza only to be stunned by Joe Marler’s sending off show’s how ridiculous that is). Finally Ben Youngs tackling Tom William’s of the ball to deny him a certain try…. how was that not a penalty try???? He made some other bad decisions but those were the big ones.

  10. Blumbus23, everything I’ve read suggests Marler deserved to be sent off although concedes that he was severely provoked. Still, you can’t get away with windmilling on someone in front of the ref, no matter what he’s done to you. Hopefully these mitigating circumstances will be reflected in the length of their respective bans.

    Great shame for Waldouck, thought he might be about to kick on to the next level.

    Re Cipriani, what does it say about Aussie rugby that in the Super 15 this year their teams have picked Cooper, O’Connor, Cipriani, Barnes, Beale and Giteau at fly half? I’d travel across the world every weekend to watch that. Hopefully Cipriani can learn from the others that you can be the most skilful and influential person on the pitch without doing stupid things which could potentially lose you the game.

  11. While on paternity leave, ive seen every second of rugby, 15s & 7s across the globe over the last 2 weeks.

    1) Cipriani = enigma, MJ just isnt going to play him.

    2) Matt Stevens: pulling up trees. should be going to the RWC, he is our best prop and i mean better than both Dan cole and Corbs.Also Lion prop for 2014.

    3) Quins: massively choked against leicester. And while easter looked good (he fluffed his try, DIVE nick, Dive!!), the big news from that game was in fact Robshaw, who now consistently looks the real deal.Croft superb again.

    4)Southern Hemisphere Rugby: read brian moores clinical review in todays Torygraph, nough said!

    5) What do they put in Joe Marlers weetabix in the morning?i think they must inject him with gorilla testosterone before matches, he looks like hes ready to fight with the mascosts/physios before hes even played.

  12. There was some even more suspect reffing in the ulster v scarlets game. Mostly for the disallowed scarlets try. It WAS a knock on but the ref missed it and it was not in the video refs job description to disallow it.

  13. New option for villain of the week having just watched the Cueto gouge…uh-oh…looks like he’ll be hit with a decent ban for that. Open hand, fingers scraping face – why on earth do players do it? I’ve said it before but i’ve never been involved in an on-pitch scuffle whereby my reaction is to scrape my fingers across someone’s face. If you see the red-mist it’s usually a punch or a (marginally!) late hit a few plays later.

    As far as i am aware from watching him play for a good few years he doesn’t have an evil side to him but he’s clearly made contact, it COULD have damaged Day’s eyes, he therefore deserves to be banned.

    Good news for Strettle, Monye et al.

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