Posted by: Eoghan | September 6, 2008

Cardiff 16 – Leinster 16

Instant Reaction

Leinster will be the happier over the 80 minutes to share the spoils although they were the sharper near the end and will regret slinging Rob Kearney a drop-goal attempt when a promising position in the Cardiff 22 demanded more pressure to force a penalty or create a breakthrough for a try.

The major concern for Leinster will be the lack of continuity in attack and the resultant absence of many back moves. Also I have to say the defence seemed to offer up easy yards out wide way too often.

New signing Isa Nacewa had a mixed game, scoring the visitor’s only try but also falling off more than one tackle and making a poor decision under pressure in his own in-goal area. He played significant parts of the game at first receiver underlining his versaitlity around the park.

Brian O’Driscoll, like the Leinster backline in general, lacked many opportunities in attack but he did have one magnificent bust in the fist half when he span off three would-be tacklers before carving into open space. Add to that his usual work around the park and one crucial smash-up tackle that rocked a Cardiff attack backwards and led to a turnover.

Contepomi’s place-kicking was improved on the Queensland Reds friendly but his general play was a little indifferent. Meanwhile the pack will be looking for a beefed-up physicality at home to Edinburgh on Friday.

Overall, sticking to the task and finishing more strongly than the home side will please Leinster greatly but Alan Gaffney has an anxious wait to see if his backline charges are going to hum this season, both in defence and attack.

Leinster: Try Nacewa; Pen Contepomi 3; Con Contepomi

Cardiff: Try Blair; Pen Blair, Con Blair, Drop Robinson 2

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