By Rugby World editor, Paul Morgan
LEINSTER blew Llanelli away at Parc y Scarlets (32-7), but the game proved (if it needed proving) that the worries about rugby’s laws are confined to England as we were treated to an entertaining game, with both sides intent on playing attacking rugby.
Leinster’s dominance meant they had the majority of the ball, but when the Scarlets had it they were committed to an attacking style of rugby that would have woken up some of the England fans who were sent to sleep at Twickenham in November.
There were a few high balls, but they didn’t dominate the game, and we saw five excellent tries.
Leinster’s five points almost wipes out the holders defeat in the first round to London Irish, as they join the Exiles on 10 points at the top of the pool. But don’t tell Leinster coach Michael Cheika that! I tried after the game and the Aussie’s glare back at the question means he still hasn’t forgotten the horror of that defeat!
Leinster were simply better in every department and started so well, moving 22-0 ahead inside the first 30 minutes, that the Scarlets were unable to get a foothold in the game.
But when you consider the number of Test players, including Matthew Rees, Dafydd Jones, Rhys Thomas, Regan King, Mark Jones and Morgan Stoddart, that the Scarlets had missing it is no wonder they couldn’t live with the European champions.
Despite that when the sides meet again next weekend don’t rule the Scarlets out, because the style of rugby they play means they will always score tries, and it is clear how they beat London Irish in round two.
I can’t see past a Leinster win when they meet again because the Dublin pack is so powerful, but it could easily be closer and Leinster will have to fight for the crucial bonus point as one thing is for sure – London Irish will pick up five points at home to Brive, who are proving to be one of the worst sides in the competition.
In Jonathan Davies they have one of the brightest young talents in Welsh rugby. The side centre is destined to have a big future and had Sean Lamont not smashed Isa Necewa in the second half at 7-22, without using his arms, we might have been talking about a losing bonus point for the Scarlets.
Leinster have uncovered two very promising players in back rowers Sean O’Brien and Kevin McLaughlin, who form a great partnership with Jamie Heaslip.
The match proved that the Fijian management should send a rather large Christmas present to Isa Nacewa, who was again outstanding on the wing. Nacewa has played once for Fiji – in the 2003 World Cup – but refuses to play for them again. Surely he could be tempted by a shot at the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand, where he was born and grew up. The pace and elusive running he showed at Parc y Scarlets proved he is more than capable of making an impact at the World Cup.
But what do you think?
Where you there? Did you watch the game on tv? What’s your view?