herald

Sunday 20 January 2019

Blues back with a bang

But Dragons win is marred by Berquist injury

IT was like night and day, such was the difference between Leinster last week and last night as they played at a tempo the Dragons were simply not equipped to deal with in the PRO12 League at The RDS.

The convincing 31-10 win -- one try short of the bonus point -- was marred by what looked like a serious injury to New Zealand signing Mat Berquist. He was carried from the field of play on a stretcher just minutes after replacing Ian Madigan at out-half.

"It doesn't look good, to be honest," said coach Joe Schmidt.

"It is an impact injury. We are a little bit worried about the condition of the patella (knee cap) or the patella tendon. We are really hoping it is just bad bruising. But, that would be a best case scenario."

The medical approach is to wait for up to 48 hours for the swelling to go down so that a scan can determine the extent of the damage done.

He was not the only one to succumb to physical deterioration. Number eight Rhys Ruddock's hamstring tightened up and try-scoring wing Fionn Carr took a bang on the shoulder from what Schmidt described as late hits "well off the ball".

In terms of performance, the forwards set the tempo and the half-backs Cillian Willis and Ian Madigan carried out the instructions to a tee with Isa Nacewa playing to his usual high standard.

However, Schmidt was not content with three superb tries from centre Brendan Macken, Madigan and Carr and the exact goal-kicking of Isa Nacewa.

"It was a good reaction. It wasn't always accurate, but the endeavour was there," he said. "You're just not going to get accuracy all the time. The rucks were slow and that makes it difficult to get any tempo into your game. I thought our ruck accuracy and intensity was better. It's got to get better again."

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