Do Not Sell My Personal Information
ADVERTISEMENT
RugbyDump RugbyDump
Tuesday May 28, 2019

How Leinster's current Pro14 dominance stemmed from its past failures

How Leinster's current Pro14 dominance stemmed from its past failures

A lucky bounce of the ball following Stuart Hogg’s charged-down kick and another slice of fortune when Rob Kearney recklessly took the Scottish full-back out in the air aside, the Guinness Pro14 final was yet further proof that Leinster remains the stand-out side the tournament’s history.

ADVERTISEMENT

Since the play-offs returned to the competition in 2010, Leinster have made the semi-finals every year, getting to the final each time bar 2017 when they lost to eventual champions the Scarlets.

Winners in 2013 (against Ulster) and 2014 (against Glasgow), Leinster completed their latest back-to-back title triumph by beating Glasgow 18-15 after seeing off Scarlets 40-32 in Dublin last year.

There’s no doubt that Leinster won ugly at the weekend, but that is exactly why they are the best team in the League. Conditions meant it was never going to be free-flowing running game of rugby, but the way in which Leinster controlled the match is something the province has mastered in recent years.

Match Highlights as Leinster edge out Glasgow at Celtic Park

That’s because, the first three times Leinster reached the final (2010-2012), they failed to finish off the job. Twice beaten by the Ospreys (in 2010 and 2012) after topping the regular season was a stark reminder that finals are never one to follow the form book.

ADVERTISEMENT

They got stung by Munster at Thomond Park in 2011 as well after entering as clear favourites following their miraculous European Champions Cup comeback win over Northampton just weeks before.

An out-of-sorts defeat to Connacht the last time the Pro14 was held in Scotland in 2016 is perhaps the only blemish on an otherwise dominant past six seasons for a side who seem to know how to win in any circumstances.

It certainly helps the Irish province that it possesses a healthy mix of youth and experience, in both the playing and coaching areas. Veteran Jonny Sexton and try-scorer Cian Healy kept Leinster cool in tricky conditions last weekend, while the up-and-coming Jordan Larmour, Gary Ringrose and Josh van der Flier also impressed under pressure.

Combined with a coaching staff of former England boss Stuart Lancaster and Leo Cullen (who captained Leinster to three European titles and two Pro14 triumphs), these are people who know how to win. And while it’s not always a dead-cert, Leinster’s ability to consistently make the big finals is no stroke of luck.

ADVERTISEMENT

Part of Leinster’s perfected game management is in the small details. The rush defence on Hogg’s clearance kick was key to Ringrose’s try – although the centre needed to rely on the soaked Celtic Park turf stopping the ball rolling out of play – made sure they were in the right place at the right time to force the full-back into the mistake.

Slowing down the play when Kearney was serving his sin-bin was another aspect of limiting the damage, as was Sexton taking the points when Glasgow’s Kyle Steyn was yellow carded. And protecting the slender three-point margin in the dying stages by keeping the ball with the forwards, much to the annoyance of the home supporters, was another way of preventing the sort of last-minute agony they endured in 2012 to the Ospreys.

Indeed, their success lies in putting the right people together and playing the conditions, the referee and the opponents smarter than anyone else.

Related Articles

  • 463 WEEKS AGO

    World Cup winner Brad Thorn arrives at Leinster...

ADVERTISEMENT

Great Tries

  • 4 DAYS AGO

    It's 30 years since France scored that epic 'Try of the Century' from beneath their posts

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Amazing acrobatic skills set up early try in Pro D2 Friday night clash

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    WATCH: Arguably the most insane three minutes of Fijian rugby history

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Jonny Wilkinson's iconic performance that ripped Ireland apart in 2002

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Jamie Roberts turns back the clock with trademark midfield power for well taken try

View All

Big Hits & Dirty Play

  • 10 HOURS AGO

    WATCH: Brutal reaction to eye gouging leads to HUGE ban for Gloucester flanker

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    WATCH: Springbok fans celebrate Liam Williams' game-losing error in 2014

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Huge brawl blows up in dugouts during 1999 Wales Test in Buenos Aires

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Old school highlights show just how brutal rugby really was in the 80s

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Liam Williams suspended despite on field protestations

View All

See It To Believe It

  • 1 DAY AGO

    Re-live THE Mike Phillips Six Nations try which still angers Irish fans to this day

  • 2 DAYS AGO

    Fijian winger cops heavy ban after that referee lifting incident that went viral and blew up his phone

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Vakatawa blows crucial try in terrible blooper, similar to Kunitani in 2014

  • 6 DAYS AGO

    Old school highlights show just how brutal rugby really was in the 80s

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Highlights and reaction to Saracens shock defeat to Championship regulars Ealing

View All

Funnies

  • 5 DAYS AGO

    Fijian wing who lifted a referee like Lion King now faces a disciplinary hearing

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Referee JP Doyle reacts to hilarious moment red card was dished out after bizarre celebration

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Without doubt one of the funniest red cards in the history of rugby

  • 3 WEEKS AGO

    Nigel Owens produces comedy gold by forgetting crucial piece of kit during Pro14 clash

  • 5 WEEKS AGO

    The VERY BEST examples of when rugby players celebrate too early

View All

Amateur

  • 12 WEEKS AGO

    Viral video of Scottish club brawl goes down a storm with rugby community

  • 49 WEEKS AGO

    RUGBYDUMP BLITZ: This Best of the Week round up is sure to entertain you

  • 49 WEEKS AGO

    RD BLITZ - Disaster, just when it looked so promising...

  • 49 WEEKS AGO

    That glorious moment that will live on forever, like it or not

  • 49 WEEKS AGO

    RD Blitz - PROP'S Lionel Messi wizardy creates incredible try

View All

Player Features

  • 1 WEEK AGO

    Brian Moore on money in modern rugby and how it should never be compared to 'outlier' football

  • 2 WEEKS AGO

    Tuisova's wrecking ball montage will make you grateful you never made it as a pro

  • 8 WEEKS AGO

    New Zealand rugby pod admit Owen Farrell is world class

  • 9 WEEKS AGO

    WATCH: Bath prop launches Amazon documentary focused on those from non-traditional backgrounds

  • 11 WEEKS AGO

    The highs and lows of Yoann Huget after he announced his retirement

View All
How Leinster's current Pro14 dominance stemmed from its past failures | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos