Amlin Challenge Cup
Electrifying. Dazzling. Dynamic.
The last three words I would pick to sum up this game of rugby.
Wake me up when it's over
To say this game showcased Leeds' worst performance in a considerable time is an understatement. Never mind ten man rugby, Leeds resorted to playing eight man rugby at times, with a backline lacking in any form of cohesiveness or invention. During the first half, Ceiron Thomas ran around in indecisive circles whenever he got the ball, before passing it to the static backline who had about as much guile and penetration as a flaccid sausage.
It didn't take Leeds long to be on the wrong end of a 12-0 score line. Bourgoin's wing Jean-Francois Coux went over in the corner for their first try, before Leeds' calamitous centre Henry Paul coughed up the ball in midfield which allowed Bourgoin's full back, Anthony Forest, to hoof the spilled ball down the pitch where wing Albert Vulivuli outsprinted the dawdling Leeds defence and touched down The boot of Ceiron Thomas kept Leeds in touch at half time, as he slotted over a couple of easy penalties from pretty much in front of the posts to end the dreary first half with Leeds trailing 6-12.
I don't know how they did it, but after the break Leeds somehow managed to make their first half performance look absolutely scintillating, thanks to a second half performance which almost resulted in the crowd slipping into a collective coma. In what I can only describe as the most tedious forty minutes of rugby I've ever had to endure in my entire life, Leeds treated the freezing Headingley crowd to a smorgasbord of handling errors and about as much vision as a blindfolded bat. In fact I wish I had been blindfolded, because then I wouldn't have been forced to witness Leeds' lazy tackling, ridiculous offloading and general ineffectiveness.
The only points of note within the second half were a couple of drop goals scored by the Bourgoin fly-half, Benjamin Boyet and another penalty from Ceiron Thomas. This was despite Leeds having the majority of the possession thanks to their hard working forwards. Did I already mention just how boring it was?
Headingley Carnegie must exist in its own space/time continuum, as the last ten minutes of the match seemed to stretch out for several light years. With the crowd pleading the referee to blow the final whistle with five minutes remaining, when he finally ended the torture the entire 2,698 crowd let out a simultaneous sigh of relief.
Still, there were a few good things to come out of this game:
- The Leeds scrum looked strong and functioned well for the vast majority of the game. It was a pity that nothing much came from this solid platform.
- The forwards mauled their way up field almost effortlessly on several occasions, again sadly with no points materialising as a result.
- Now that Leeds are out of this competition they can fully concentrate on the Guinness Premiership. Based on today's performance they're going to have to concentrate really hard to avoid the spectre of relegation that is currently hanging over them.
- I now have a sure fire way of beating insomnia, as if I'm ever struggling to drift off to sleep then all I have to do is remember this rather snore-inducing game and I'll be whisked off to the land of nod in seconds.
- Henry Paul is about as useful as a chocolate fireguard and should be put out to pasture where he can throw as many passes to nowhere as he likes. If he is the answer at number 12 then I dread to think what the question was.
- Calum Clark looks really pretty in a headband.