The weather has caused the cancellation of nearly all the fixtures this weekend as Siberian air mass mingled with storm from the Iberian peninsula.
We can be thankful that the six nations is taking a break this week and none of its fixtures have been put in doubt. This year is starting to remind me of the 2001 season, which Ireland opened with victories over the Italians and French.
That was the year of foot and mouth and three of the Irish games were postponed until September. It was all heading to a Grand Slam show down with England in the final game.
The Scots, however, still had something to say about it and Ireland came back from Edinburgh with their tail between their legs before comfortably beating both Wales and England, the latter taking the championship based on their better scoring record.
Does that remind you of anything? The Scots are coming to Dublin next weekend, intent on spoiling our party on St. Patrick’s day. They have already killed England’s Grand Slam hopes with a terrific victory last week.
It looks like the only Pro 14 games to have escaped the weather are those taking place in the southern hemisphere. The Dragons were beaten by the Southern Kings last night and Connacht will play the Cheetahs later today.
To fill the scheduling void last night, TG4 showed highlights from some of the recent derby games over the Christmas period. The last five minutes of Leinster at home to Connacht was interesting to watch again, from the television rather than the terrace.
The men from the West won a penalty on Leinster’s ten meter line and elected to kick into touch for the line out rather than taking the risky penalty to level the game.
Interesting choice. It showed that they had come to Dublin to win again; sharing the points was simply not an option, and their belief in themselves is commendable.
This had been a back and forth, tight game with the bookies getting the spread completely wrong, if I remember correctly. Leinster had fielded a strong team, with Sexton leading the marquee names. Getting a scalp would have been a real coup for Connacht.
Was it sensible? Hindsight says no as the Leinster defense held firm. But with the clock ticking into the red, and a longish place kick into a difficult breeze, missing the kick would have been worse, probably, then taking their chance and narrowly failing.
The Leinster defense that day was immense. The clock ticked well passed the alloted eighty minutes as wave after wave of Connacht ball carriers crashed into the thin blue line. They were held up at the try line a number of times before their legs started to run out of steam.
Leinster forced the men in green (allowing for their weird, light green and mostly white away strip) all the way out of the twenty two before a turn over from Max Deegan put a stop to the chance.
Perhaps Connacht did not realise that Leinster wanted to win this fixture just as much as they did. They put bodies on the line to keep the westerners out in a terrific finale to the game.