Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Rugby Drunk

I have to admit that I spent the majority of last weekend watching rugby and having a few shandies.

Well, it was my birthday and the weekend was filled with the best Heineken Cup quarter finals that I can remember.  And that's not just because I have a memory like a sieve.

I can't let these four fabulous games pass without comment.
The Leinster v Clermont Auvergne see-saw on Friday night was brilliant.  I like Leinster and I wanted them to win, but if I'm honest it wouldn't have been the end of the world if they hadn't.

But as a neutral this game had it all: 
  • Man of the Match Jamie Heaslip powering over for a brace of tries.
  • Jonny Sexton dragging his kicking stats out of the toilet and nailing kick after kick.
  • Brock James flushing his usually robotically reliable kicking boots down the bog and turning into as big a choker as Tim Henman.
  • Both teams edging ahead before being dragged back by the opposition.
Excellent stuff.  29-28 to Leinster.

Next up Biarritz v Ospreys, and randomly, another 29-28 thriller.

Again, the home team (even though they were playing in Spain) came out on top.  Some of the more amazing points:
  • King of Mediocrity and ex-Leeds Carnegie player/full-time sicknote Iain Balshaw scorched over for a try WITHOUT injuring himself.
  • Ryan Jones put in a storming performance after looking, well, pretty rubbish in the Six Nations.
  • And who can forget one of the most outstanding solo tries to grace the competition.  Step up Takzuda Ngwenya:

Awesome stuff.

Next up was Munster v Northampton Saints: the game I was really looking forward to.

As a patriotic kind of girl I was firmly behind the Saints, who were the only English team left in the competition.  As a result, this was the game I enjoyed watching the least - not because it was a poor game, but because it meant a bit more.  I was gutted as Saints lost.

  • The impatient Sky Sports cameras venturing into the Northampton dressing room before kick-off.  Five seconds later they made a hasty retreat thanks to a chorus of expletives beign shouted out by the pumped up players.
  • The atmosphere at Thomond Park.  Absolutely electric.  I NEED to go and watch a game of this magnitude there at some point in my life.
  • Ronan O'Gara, who stopped whingeing about Jonny Sexton and did what he does best and kicked his team home in the second half, 33-19 the final score.
  • Northampton captain Dylan Hartley's post match interview.  Credit to him, he fronted up even though he was absolutely gutted.  I just wanted to give him a cuddle.
Finally, there was the epic all French clash between Toulouse and pretty in pink Stade Francais on Sunday.

I very much enjoyed watching:
  • Yannick Jauzion weaving his unique magic in the centre.  The man is a class act.
  • Toulouse really going for the jugular and ripping Stade apart in the second half.  Very impressive.  42-16 at full time after a half time score of 13-10.  Watch out Leinster.
  • Another brilliant try for Cedric Heymans.  I'm still gutted he didn't win try of the year last year.
All this means the semi finals shake down like this:

Leinster v Toulouse
Munster v Biarritz

I can't wait.

However I have to end this post on a sad note.  My team, Leeds Carnegie, were bummed 46-11 by Harlequins.  How rude of them not to give me the only birthday present I'd asked for: a bonus point win!
Boo!  :-(


  1. Bamberio, the H-Cup final could be either all French or All Irish. If Leinster and Munster are both hosting, and barring significant injuries, I think the two Gaellic clubs will be playing the final at what would be a neutral Stade de France.

    Ngwenya's try out of nothing was just amazing pace, strength and balance as he tip-toed along the touch line at warp speed. No question that he is the best Zimbabwean export to make it to the US! Interesting to note that Ngwenya's run down the wing and deft chip to set up the second try for Biarritz was a nice effort as well. We American rugby fans get so little chance to cheer, so it was a nice game to watch-although Ospreys have to be kicking themselves for not winning this game...Biarritz also looked offside at the end of the game in what should have been a penalty to Ospreys.

  2. PS- No shock that Toulouse did not let off the accelerator as they made road-kill out of Max Guazzini's men in pink. They did the rugby equivilant of not just running them over, they stopped and backed over Stade just to make sure the job was done.The city of Toulouse, Guy Noves and the players have no love loss for "Les Parisiens".

    As somebody who studied for a year in Languedoc(Montpellier), It makes my day anytime Toulouse beats Stade.