‘Folly Dat’ might have been uttered in some parts and adjusted for regional effect in all parts of Ireland after last week’s clean sweep by the provinces.
We wrote last week about it being darkest just before the dawn, but this week the sun is blazing from the Irish rugby firmament and with that comes trepidation and caution. The performance analysts in Toulouse will have asked the question “what happened there” while Conor McPhillips at Connacht will be plotting a strategy with coach Pat Lam to exploit the chinks in the armour they discovered last week – and perhaps open up a few new ones.
Leinster welcome Northampton in the knowledge that their opponents travel with a severely wounded pride. The coaches and analyst, Emmett Farrell at Leinster will be assigning last week to the archive and hammering home this week’s game plan, which while utilising last week’s experience will be professional, studied and strategic.
Supporting the efforts of all the provinces makes these ‘Heineken Weeks’ very rewarding at Avenir. Watching our clients deliver the results last weekend was good for the soul. We hope this week’s hard work of analysis will achieve what they deserve.
Ulster will be the first province in action, away to Treviso and while they will be expected to deliver another good performance, the Italians will be a tough nut to crack at home. Ulster analyst Niall Malone will have his dossier on Benetton Treviso complete and complacency should not be a factor as the Irish side will look to establish their dominance early on and avoid a possible ‘banana skin’ day!
Perpignan is a tough place to go and play, but then Munster are a tough outfit. Since the tournament began Munster have rewritten the manual on resilience. They balance their physical combative nature with sublime footballing skills and a keen sense of where the enemy is weakest. Analysing the opposition, as George Murray does every week, may sometimes be overlooked as Munster plough several furrows through their opposition, but that is the tip of the iceberg that is team Munster. We may not see the analysis, game plans and battle strategies, but they are there and provide a pivotal support to the squad on the field.
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