Sunday 21 January 2018

All is not lost the blues

Cullen can take positives despite defeat

Joey Carbery
Joey Carbery

Truth can be stranger than fiction sometimes. The frustration felt by Leo Cullen at the cruel 33-25 loss to Glasgow in the Pro12 will give way to the many positives apparent in Scotstoun.

Leinster were able to take their mediocre performance against Treviso and elevate it to another level.

Okay, they eventually left empty-handed in what was a clinic in finishing from their hosts. This does not completely camouflage the fine first-half work that had Glasgow chasing shadows.

Joey Carbery's skills were the catalyst for tries by Rob Kearney, Josh van der Flier and Zane Kirchner.

They were in control of the contest and on course to take everything away from Glasgow when Carbery stretched their lead to 10 points (22-12) in the 44th minute. Then, the 20-year-old made his first mistake to trigger the 'Tommy Seymour Show', throwing an intercept in the 53rd minute. The Scottish winger quickly seized on his third in the 55th minute and his fourth in the 73rd minute to turn the game on its' head.

Ultimately, Glasgow cleaved away five points when they looked likely for one.

Leinster left with nothing, not even a losing bonus-point from a match they dominated for periods.

"It was very disappointing. We gave a lot into that performance," said captain Luke McGrath.

"Inaccuracies let us down. Glasgow are going to pounce on them. We have to look at ourselves.

"We definitely could have been better in the first 15 minutes of the second half. We will be better for it."

They say you learn more from losses than victories. The brand new style of rugby pushed by Cullen and backs coach Girvan Dempsey has been embraced by their foot soldiers.

Leinster looked more fluent and flowing with ideas in attack than they did for all of last season.

There was also individual impact from the confirmation of Carbery's progress, despite handing Glasgow the initiative.

The out-half's goal-kicking was spot-on, the only failure flying straight until coming up short for four out of five.

It could even have been the occasion that Dan Leavy announced his arrival as a serious first-team option.

Garry Ringrose's reads in defence were superior and Ross Molony grew into his lineout battle of wits with Jonny Gray.

There was also a second eye-catching cameo from Rory O'Loughlin, who put his hand up for Leinster's next outing away to Edinburgh on Friday night.

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