The Build Up Continues…..

Does this match really require a second post I hear you ask? Its the Mother of All Derbies, so of course it does.

For starters, the starting line ups have just been announced by both provinces.

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15. Isa Nacewa,

14. Shane Horgan,

13. Brian O’Driscoll,

12. Gordon D’Arcy,

11. Luke Fitzgerald,

10. Felipe Contepomi,

9. Chris Whitaker,

8. Jamie Heaslip,

7. Shane Jennings,

6. Rocky Elsom,

5. Malcolm O’Kelly,

4. Leo Cullen (C),

3. Stan Wright,

2. Bernard Jackman,

1. Cian Healy.

Subs: 16. John Fogarty, 17. Ronan McCormack, 18. Devin Toner, 19. Sean O’Brien, 20 Simon Keogh, 21. Jonathan Sexton, 22. Girvan Dempsey.

munster_rugby-76695115. Paul Warwick,

14. Doug Howlett,

13. Keith Earls,

12. Lifeimi Mafi,

11. Ian Dowling,

10. Ronan O’Gara,

9. Peter Stringer,

8. Denis Leamy,

7. David Wallace,

6. Alan Quinlan,

5. Donncha O’Callaghan,

4. Paul O’Connell (C),

3. John Hayes,

2. Jerry Flannery,

1. Marcus Horan.

Subs: 16. Denis Fogarty, 17. Tony Buckley, 18. Mick O’Driscoll, 19. Niall Ronan,  20. Mike Prendergast, 21. Barry Murphy, 22. Denis Hurley.

So I won’t exactly give myself a pat on the back for predicting the Munster team correctly. My mum could have done that. The reports of Ian Dowling’s injury were either over exaggerated or else he’s recovered enough to play.

The Leinster squad was always going to have a surprise somewhere. When I first heard reports on the 10 o’clock news that Nacewa would be playing full-back I was quite frankly taken aback. Dempsey, the stalwart No. 15 of Irish rugby, has been overlooked again. I don’t doubt Nacewa is a good all-round utility back, but he’s been shuffled around the Leinster back line all season, failing to make his mark in any one position. I have no doubt that O’Gara will send one or two high ones his way early on, just to see if he’s up to the task. If it was Dempsey in the No. 15 jersey, O’Gara wouldn’t even bother. He’s not Girvan “safe as houses” Dempsey for nothing!

Thats one under the belt

Thats one under the belt

The other major news is that Munster were crowned Magners League champions last night, after the Ospreys failed to get a bonus point from the Dragons. That’s one piece of silverware in the trophy cabinet, let go for one more! Its got to be a boost for the men in red going into tomorrow’s match.

I wrote in yesterdays post about Leinster natives who follow Munster without realising there is actually a term for this – the Lunsters. Disliked both by genuine Munster and Leinster fans, they are nothing more than glory hunters – they know who they are and deep down, they should be ashamed. Reggie Corrigan, a former Ireland and Leinster prop, writes about this in The Times.

As if I hadn’t posted enough links to feed your rugby craving, here’s a few more. Stuart Barnes is a rugby pundit for Sky, and always seems to do my head in with his pro-English bull. But in his Times piece, he actually made me laugh. Another from Sky Sports, this time the commentator, Miles Harrison gives his thoughts on the game. He classifies Mafi as “awesome”, so maybe its just me that can’t forgive his glory antics. Shane Jennings spoke to RTÉ. Shaun Edwards (Wasps, Wales & Lions coach) writes in The Guardian that he is looking forward to an all-Celtic final. Hugh Farrelly cries “Enough already!” and also takes a look at the teams here and here. Former Munster and Leinster scrum-half Brian O’Meara spoke to the Irish Independent. The Irish Times continue to look at the key breakdown areas of the match, with a look at the centre partnerships. Gerry Thornley gives his thoughts on Nacewa’s selection. Liam Toland gives his own point of view in the Irish Times also.

The weather for tomorrow is also looking reasonable. Periods of clouds and sun, mostly dry, with rain starting in the west, but not hitting the east until tomorrow night. Sounds like a good day for rugby, although the less of the aerial ping pong the better.

UPDATE: How did I miss this one – the mighty George Hook gave his thoughts last Sunday in the Irish Independent.

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One response to “The Build Up Continues…..

  1. Leinster suck

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