Leinster V Toulouse: 20-13
Boo! Boo I say.Yes, we won. Well done, back pats all around. However, the boys in blue failed to get a bonus point (which they needed in order to have any chance of qualifying for the next round of the Heineken Cup). And to add insult to injury, even though they beat the French side by seven points, Toulouse still managed to get a “bonus losing point”. Why you give a team points for losing is beyond me (Eoghan informs me it’s to try and encourage “tight and interesting games”. More from him about that later).
Leinster matches are interesting off pitch too – there’s a big middle-aged-dads-with-kids-in-tow attendance, meaning:
a) Lots and lots of confused 7-year olds at the start of the season. A lot of children don’t understand why all the grown ups are shouting and wearing the same thing. Eoghan got given seriously dirty looks by a few little girls when he started shouting “Go on Leinster!”. They soon get into the swing of it though, especially when their parents filled them full of chips and fizzy drinks and actively encouraged them to bang their feet on the ground and generally make as much noise a possible. The bodhrán wielding mascot (Leo the lion) also amuses them no end. Watching them is almost as much fun as the watching the match.
b) Lots and lots of hilarious questions. Once the kids get over (and into) the shouting thing, they start trying to understand what the hell is going on on the pitch. The dad that sits behind us has so far show endearing patience with his daughter. I have spent full halves of a game giggling through him explaining why the players are so tiny (“they’re not small, just far away…”), pointing out the key players (“See number 13 there, he’s one of the best players in the WHOLE world…”) and why it looks like everyone keeps falling over.
c) The downside to having all these Dads around is that some of them have a dose of Grumpy Dad Syndrome. From what I can see, GDS involves loudly bemoaning every mistake made by your team while (even more loudly, it seems) admiring the sporting ability of the other side. So, when everyone is down in the dumps as the opposition inch closer to the try line you might hear a GDS sufferer saying something like, “Ooh, lovely pass, well done”; and as a Leinster lad is legging it down the pitch into the opposition’s 22, you hear things like “What’s he doing?! Ah, bad decision, bad decision. THIS IS PROFESSIONAL RUGBY, what are you doing?!”
Official Man of the Match: Jamie Heaslip.