Right. Today is Munster versus Leinster in Thomond Park, and I’m about to collect the tickets from Limehouse Dick, the scoundrel.
It’s a strange disconnected day. Due to our ludicrous, religious-influenced licensing law, Limerick is the only place in the country where the pubs will be open. This means that every maniac in Ireland will be travelling here for one night, and the majority of them won’t give a rat’s arse about the rugby.
I don’t think I’ll bother going for a pint after the game, because the chances are all the pubs will be full wall-to-wall with demented bastards who arrived half-drunk on buses from every corner of the country.
It should be an interesting game. We’re missing POC and Earls, but Jerry Flannery is back, while Micko and Warwick step in as able replacements. Leinster are missing BOD and have opted for bulk up front, but with Munster fielding a highly-mobile and fast back row, Cheika could be taking a big gamble.
Of course, everyone wants to see how the No. 10s shape up to each other. Will the Thomond Park silence unnerve Sexton as it does Charlie Hodgson? Will ROG impose his shape on the game and book his seat on the plane to New Zealand, or will the young pretender finally silence his harshest critics in their home town?
Romain Poite, the world’s worst referee, is the man with the whistle, to the dismay of everyone, both in Munster and Leinster. Given the uncertainty regarding policing of the breakdown, the shape of this game is is impossible to predict, and even the most experienced players will be unsure of themselves in the tackle. It depends on how the mercurial M. Poite interprets his brief, but we can probably say with confidence that whatever he does, it will make tonight’s game worse.
We’ve learned not to take Leinster for granted. They’re formidable opposition, but neither side will want to sustain heavy injuries a week ahead of the crucial European Cup quarter finals. That doesn’t mean either side will take it easy, but I suspect POC’s groin strain, and the identical injury to Earls, are being treated more conservatively than usual. I don’t know if BOD also has groin strain, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Maybe the three boys can discuss their treatments as they watch the game from the sideline. If Flannery didn’t need match time before the Northampton game, he might well have been struck down with groin strain too.
We didn’t win. Leinster were better. They won by a point.
Romain Poite was, as predicted, a complete idiot, but his decisions towards Leinster were as stupid as his decisions concerning Munster, and therefore all he succeeded in doing was distorting what could have been a very good game. This man is by far the worst referee in the entire world.
Here’s his WIkipedia entry:
Romain Poite (born September 14, 1975) is a French rugby union international referee. He made his World Cup debut in 2007 during the match between Ireland and Namibia. He also officiated (as touch judge or television match official) during three games in the 2009 Six Nations Championship. He will referee his first Six Nations match in 2010. He is well known for being consistent in decision making by mistakingly awarding penalties and yellow cards to each team equally.
Here’s 26,000 people staying silent for the penalty kicker.
Happy Good Friday!!