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11-05-2018, 19:46   #1
Venjur
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Leinster Rugby V Racing 92 Match Thread | Kick Off 16:45 Ireland Time | Sky & BT

Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.


You could reflect on Milton's words and think of this season. The defeat of the English Champions, the Pro14 Champions, The reigning European Champions and the no.1 club team in France at the end of the regular season was certainly a long, hard road to take to this final.
After navigating a hell of a group the knock outs would conspire to be no kinder. A baptism of fire certainly for a team with so much youth, yet fire can both destroy and create and indeed it seems like this Leinster team has been forged by this season into an almost unstoppable force.

And now, in the final they face a team with the most honest and determined defence in the Championship, an immovable object.

The Unstoppable force V The Immovable object





  
Rob Kearney15Louis Dupichot
Jordan Larmour14Teddy Tomás
Garry Ringrose13Virimi Vakatawa
Robbie Henshaw12Henry Chavancy
Isa Nacewa11Marc Andreu
Johnny Sexton10Pat Lambie
Luke McGrath9Teddy Iribaren
Jordi Murphy8Yannick Nyanga
Dan Leavy7Bernard Le Roux
Scott Fardy6Wenceslas Lauret
James Ryan5Leone Nakarawa
Devin Toner4Donnacha Ryan
Tadgh Furlong3Cedate Gomes Sa
Seán Cronin2Camille Chat
Cian Healy1Eddy Ben Arous
   
Rory O'Loughlin23Joe Rokocoko
Joey Carbery22Dan Carter
Jamison Gibson-Park21Antoine Gibert
Jack Conan20Baptiste Chouzenoux
Rhys Ruddock19Boris Palu
Andrew Porter18Census Johnston
Jack McGrath17Vasil Kakovin
James Tracy16Ole Avei


If some of those names seem familiar, it might be because you've looked at a few international team sheets in your day. There is an immense amount of quality in the collective 46 players from Ireland, France and further afield.

I wanted to write this match thread because at the core of my love for rugby is pride. It's a type of pride that needs to be shared and is collective. Not a sharing in the sense of posting about it or talking about it or boasting about it. I mean sharing it with my friends, my family, my children and the players, because they are one and the same. A pride that is intensified and amplified by the fact that I'm not cheering a team, I'm cheering my schoolmates, my neighbours and my community. A team with it's roots and upbringing in Ireland.

And believe it or not, so are Racing. With 12 French qualified players (and a few injured ones watching on in the sidelines) this team for all it's wealth represents France in a way I feel is meaningful, and through that I feel it gives the final greater resonance as a contest and spectacle. And a spectacle it will be.






Culture


There is a quote I like by a US author called Thomas Wolfe which goes

"Culture is the arts elevated to a set of beliefs"

I think there is an honesty in this, but I think in the case of Leinster the opposite might just be true. Culture has been the theme of this season for Leinster and admirably it has been led from the Top down.

Lancaster spoke about joining Leinster and wanting to get the culture right. He said that it wasn't a hard job, the culture was there and his priority was to learn it and understand it and then hold players accountable to it.

In Leinster's case however it's not the art elevated to belief, it's belief elevated to art. A belief that the coaches have given the players by preparing them but importantly a belief that comes from the footsteps already walked in 2009, 2011 and 2012. The tree that is Leinster and the community that fuels it, has it's roots in those victories and it's that history that I believe may be the difference tomorrow.

Support


I think some of the defining moments in Leinster's first European win happened in Lansdown in 1999 and Cardiff in 2006. When Ulster and Munster lifted the trophy, every single player in Leinster knew that if their brothers could do it, so could they, after all - we're a family and a country.

100,000 fans supported Leinster through the knock outs and the final is a packed house. There have been many conversations this year about the population shift towards Dublin and the benefit this has given to Leinster.

The reality is that many of the parents who will be in Bilbao are from Ulster, Munster and Connacht. If Leinster win, it gives all of Irish rugby belief and I hope that it is a rallying call for everyone who wears green first and foremost to row in behind the players wearing blue tomorrow

Expectations


I expect the opening 15 minutes to be the type of hell that Leinster have thrived in for most of their European season. They are too disciplined to give Racing a platform and I don't think Racing have the ball retention to break Leinster down. Provided Leinster don't miss their tackles out wide and hold their defensive shape in midfield then Racing will rely on scraps.

On the other hand, if Leinster hold onto the ball as we know they can, Racing could find themselves in trouble if they have to defend beyond 5 - 10 phases. If Leinster get opportunities to counter attack, Racing are poor at getting back into shape defensively.

Prediction


Racing 17 Leinster 34

Last edited by Venjur; 12-05-2018 at 08:35.
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11-05-2018, 19:48   #2
mfceiling
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TLDR
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11-05-2018, 19:48   #3
Donnielighto
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Leinster by a million
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11-05-2018, 19:54   #4
Buer
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Subs bench is listed backwards.

Anarchy.
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11-05-2018, 19:58   #5
salmocab
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Who doesn’t enjoy an international steam sheet?
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11-05-2018, 19:59   #6
irishbucsfan
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Subs bench is listed backwards.

Anarchy.
Ban this sick filth
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11-05-2018, 19:59   #7
Neil3030
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Venjur View Post
...If some of those names seem familiar, it might be because you've looked at a few international steam sheets in your day...
This is a family place, Venjur.
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11-05-2018, 19:59   #8
Dave_The_Sheep
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Centred text.
*shudder*
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11-05-2018, 20:02   #9
Venjur
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This is a family place, Venjur.
I'll just presume you are not a PC gamer

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Centred text.
*shudder*
I'd generally agree - but on this platform I think it looks better. And you're a sheep, you shouldn't even be posting online and especially not on a forum where there is a decent chance of New Zealand and Scottish supporters...
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11-05-2018, 20:07   #10
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Great write up! Feckin buzzed for this now!
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11-05-2018, 20:16   #11
Clegg
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Great thread Venjur.

Can somebody tell me about Vakatawa? Playing at centre but I've only ever seen him play as a wing. I wonder if we'll get Ringrose to test his defence.
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11-05-2018, 20:24   #12
Bazzo
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Great thread Venjur.

Can somebody tell me about Vakatawa? Playing at centre but I've only ever seen him play as a wing. I wonder if we'll get Ringrose to test his defence.
Been playing at 13 a good bit this year and he's looked pretty impressive to be fair to him.

Edit: just to expand a bit I think he was in the centre against both Toulon and Clermont and looked good so not exactly minnows either. He was up against a very stacked Toulon centre and looked really good.

Last edited by Bazzo; 11-05-2018 at 20:28.
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11-05-2018, 20:36   #13
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Fabulous post... I so need to be there. I have a question, if Leinster win, do munster have to give them a guard of honour next week?
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11-05-2018, 20:39   #14
Venjur
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Fabulous post... I so need to be there. I have a question, if Leinster win, do munster have to give them a guard of honour next week?
Yes, with Reggie at the front!
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11-05-2018, 20:43   #15
Neil3030
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I'll need to wait and see the teams line out tomorrow, and specifically, how badly Donnacha Ryan looks like he needs to take a dump. The more pained effort on his face, the more Racing are up for it.
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