To enter bonus territory this weekend, Leinster and Munster must not try to force things
Leinster know if they do happen to make it into the quarter-finals, there isn’t a team in Europe that will want to play them. They have struggled and they don’t look like the team of last year but they have more firepower than most teams when they get it right.
Even allowing for them being a bit below par this season, the reality is that if they had pulled just about any other team in Europe only Clermont in their pool, they would more than likely be qualified by now.
I don’t care how below par they’ve been – no other team would have beaten them two weeks in a row home and away. And maybe no other team in Europe would have managed two losing bonus points against Clermont, which is what has kept a chink of light open for them.
I expect them to go to Exeter this weekend and get their bonus-point win. If you had to choose any team that you needed to go and score multiple tries and win a game like this, Leinster would be it.
For some reason, Munster didn’t look like they had that intensity last weekend or that they were able to find it when they needed it.
Possibly it’s a lack of confidence, possibly they were a bit tired. Whatever it was, they looked a bit out on their feet. They’re just not humming at the moment and I’d say it’s as frustrating for the players as it is for the people who are watching them.
You can see the effort they’re making and you can see how annoyed they are when what they’re trying doesn’t come off. It’s the classic sign of a team that is forcing it.
Again, it should said that we’re not comparing like with like. Munster were away from home and when that’s the case, you have to do certain things differently. Where Leinster kicked early penalties to the corner, Munster took their points. They had to try to win the game first before they could go for the four tries.
Still, I thought they stuck with that mindset for too long. By the time their third and fourth kickable penalties had come around, they had established a foothold in the game. That was the time to kick on and go for the corners and try to turn lineouts into tries.
But it has to be said, Munster just aren’t playing as well as Leinster. They didn’t look at any stage on Sunday like they were going to get the four tries. Their effort level was high but their accuracy was off.
They made a lot of mistakes, dropped a lot of balls, took the wrong option at the wrong time on a few occasions. The worst of it was that some of the really bad errors came at the end of good passages of play.