Mathew Brown – The Rugby Channel Column
Round 4 Matchups!
The Rugby Channel brought you one live match from the Guinness Pro12 last round and it was a contest that had a bit of everything.
If you’d like to see a game that contained a quality try built through control and discipline, outstanding defensive pressure that produced an intercept effort, a controversial no call at the beginning of a very strange five pointer, and very nearly an at-the-death comeback from the home side, then click on the full match link below and check out all the drama as it unfolded from Rodney Parade.
Or for a shorter but still comprehensive version of events, I suggest watching the generous highlight package available on TRC Report #19, hosted this week by Christian Miles.
After trading penalties in the first twenty minutes it was Munster that opened up the try scoring with a classic piece of offensive rugby.
The men in red spun it wide, worked it in tight, mixed backs and forwards, broke a couple of tackles, recycled with clinical efficiency, exhibited patience, and eventually pounded the ball over the line with their latest South African addition, lock Jean Kleyn.
A Munster team that plays like it did during this spell is one that will be dangerous throughout the campaign.
The Dragons struck back with an intercept try by wing Hallam Amos that came about not from guessing right on a long out pass but instead from sustained defensive pressure.
After a few more penalty kicks to open the second forty, the stage was set for an unusual go-ahead try from the visitors.
From a scrum inside Newport territory Munster worked a planned backline move that took out an opposition defender with a dummy runner.
At almost any other time this would have warranted a look from the TMO but what happened later in-goal distracted all involved from going back to this fairly obvious infraction.
As Munster wing Darren Sweetnam crossed the line he tried to center the ball, got it knocked away (backwards) by Amos, and trailing replacement Cian Bohane touched it down for the score.
Several great lessons here for young rugby players both offensively and defensively. Always play until the whistle, never concede a try until it’s dotted down, always support your teammates even when it looks like they are over the line, and don’t get greedy!
The Dragons had a last minute chance to steal this one away but ran out of both control and patience at the end as they threatened the goal line for the match winner.
This is an entertaining matchup. Leinster went to Murrayfield last weekend and thumped Edinburgh in the first half with four tries, looking more like the team that was rightly one of the preseason tournament favorites than the one that fell to Glasgow in Round 2.
Edinburgh didn’t quite come all the way back like the Warriors did but it will be worrying for Coach Leo Cullen that his team is developing a habit of playing at different levels of intensity either side of the break.
Leinster will need to put in a full eighty minute performance against top of the table Ospreys, a squad that has already scored 21 tries in the competition, earning maximum points in each of their three wins.
Granted, two of those wins were against Zebre and Benetton Treviso and the third was against a Connacht team that is obviously not in championship form anymore, but nonetheless Ospreys are building some decent momentum.
Can Leinster sustain the moments of brilliance they’ve displayed over two complete halves? Are the Ospreys for real or have they been just beating up on the also-rans?
We’ll have to watch to find out, should be a good one!
The Munstermen make their first appearance this season at Thomond Park and will attempt to build on their win over the Dragons.
I have a sense that this is a team that is getting better each time out and that their recent loss to Cardiff was simply a matter of running into a more cohesive squad on the day.
The impact of hiring a rugby mind like Rassie Erasmus is not something that is seen all at once, rather his influence is a growing one that will be evidenced over the course of the entire campaign as his players absorb the lessons from both the training ground and the playing field.
Edinburgh showed some life against Leinster in the second half last week but unfortunately it was too little too late.
Head Coach Alan Solomons once again was disappointed by his team’s defensive performance in the early going and he knows that unless they improve on Saturday, Munster will exploit every weakness.
Edinburgh has international level talent throughout their lineup, Solomons is a proven coach, and they did knock off Scarlets in Round 2 so they have a chance in Limerick, but they’ll have to play their very best rugby to come away with a victory.
Another episode, another bunch of packages well worth your viewing time. First up is coverage of The Rugby Championship with some match highlights and then later the usual tries extravaganza, which includes a rare double dive from South Africa.
Next is an inspirational piece on the Modified Rugby Program begun in Brisbane for kids with learning and perceptual difficulties. This segment reaffirms all the positive values associated with rugby around the world and shows that the sport itself is a community builder that genuinely impacts everyone it touches.
Then there’s coverage of the promotional launch for Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco in 2018, as well as more news from Japan ahead of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
The Mitre 10 Heartland Championship is in full swing now and Mainfreight Rugby is there to bring you all the action.
Match 1 on the schedule is a back and forth affair featuring the top two teams in the competition, Wanganui and South Canterbury battling it out in the River City. This is the match of the round and hard-fought throughout.
Week 3 saw a couple of draws, a couple of close battles, and strong performances by loan players from the larger unions who are getting some essential game time in the provincial competition.
The last fixture pitted North Otago and Horowhenua Kapiti clashing at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, a really cool venue locally referred to as the Glasshouse and a great place to watch a rugby match.
You can watch Mainfreight Rugby every Wednesday on The Rugby Channel throughout the Heartland campaign.
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If you take advantage of all the competitions and programs we offer over the course of an entire year, that works out to pennies per match, a small price to pay for an enormous amount of glorious rugby.
Right now and for the next eight months we’ll bring you the Guinness Pro12 LIVE.
Then in February and March it’s the 2017 RBS Six Nations.
Plus the USA Eagles taking on the Maori All Blacks in November in Chicago.
Throughout the year you’ll also be able to watch domestic matches from the USA Rugby Emirates Airlines National Championships in 15s and 7s.
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