Thursday 18 January 2018

Blues wary of Warriors

Leinster, Munster and Ulster win as Connacht collapse

Leinster's Rob Kearney in action against Treviso last Friday night in the RDS Photo: Sportsfile
Leinster's Rob Kearney in action against Treviso last Friday night in the RDS Photo: Sportsfile

Rob Kearney has warned how Leinster "need to be a hell of a lot better" in Glasgow next Saturday than they were against Benetton Treviso last Friday.

He can say that again. The Warriors blitzed the holders Connacht 41-5 in Galway on Saturday to let the PRO12 know they aim to send Gregor Townsend into his role as Scotland coach next summer with a trophy in his hands.

Connacht were badly hampered by having just one pre-season match. It showed in the manner of their fading fitness which allowed Glasgow to pile up the second-half points.

"The only way is up after that," smiled John Muldoon. "Glasgow bossed the game. Physicality won the day. We can use all the excuses in the world. But, we've got to give credit to Glasgow."

Leinster will head to Scotstoun knowing that an improvement in discipline, along with an increase in intensity and accuracy, is at the top of the 'to do' list.

"It will be on astro turf. It will be three o'clock in the day. You would imagine it will be a very quick game again," said Kearney, who looked full of running on his seasonal bow at the RDS.

"Any turnover ball will be punished, particularly against Glasgow. We know the threat their backs can pose."

It will be difficult for coach Leo Cullen to look any further than Joey Carbery for the number ten shirt on foot of his two tries on Friday night in a Man of the Match impact on his first start.

"He's a superb player. We've seen that in training over the past couple of months," noted Kearney. "Obviously, he starred in the AIL final last year. It is a great indication of the club game as well. If you can progress and perform really well at that level, then you will get your opportunities..

"He came in. He did superb. He showed he's right at home at this level."


Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus's infectious enthusiasm was apparent in Munster's 23-13 domination of The Scarlets in Wales.

"The energy was fantastic out there," beamed Man of the Match Tommy O'Donnell.

"It is a brilliant start. This is a hard place to come and win. I think it's five years since we've won here."

Ruan Pienaar was the toast of Belfast as Ulster joined the Ospreys, Glasgow and Cardiff Blues on five points from their 29-8 victory over the Dragons.

"The last six seasons at this club has been very special and that's why I am so desperate to make this campaign the best yet," offered the Springbok, at the end of a week during which his departure next summer was announced.

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