Saturday, May 19, 2012

All-Ireland Heneken Cup Final

The All-Ireland Heineken Cup final is Sunday with Leinster playing the role of heavy favorites over Ulster.  Leinster has dominated all of their previous opposition in Ireland and Europe throughout this season and can close in on winning a double championship with a win this weekend.   

In 2011, they needed to beat a hotly-tipped Northampton and a Munster side still capable turning up in vengeful mood to claim a double. In the end they could only take the European prize.
This time, they will have to beat Ulster and the Ospreys to do the same. By most measures, that is a less difficult task, though again it may be that the Heineken Cup final proves the less taxing of the two.
Compared to 12 months ago, Leinster have managed their resources better this year, mixing and matching units to maintain freshness instead of allowing a ‘two-team’ culture to develop.
That approach has also given them an enviable tactical flexibility.

Eoin Reddan and Kevin McLaughlin have been selected in the ‘toss-up’ calls this time, with Isaac Boss and Shane Jennings missing out. That probably means Leinster want faster ball and expect less rucks and more lineouts, and that instead of taking on Stephen Ferris and co with direct running around the fringes, they will go to the wider areas and seek to bring their strong footwork and passing into play.

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