Sean O’Brien has forged a reputation for being one of the strongest ball carriers in world rugby, and showed why against the Ospreys as he got rid of Dan Biggar in no uncertain terms. Unfortunately he did lose the ball, but it was great to watch. From far.
O’Brien also crossed for Leinster’s only try of the match in their 19-9 victory at Liberty Stadium, and perhaps most importantly made a big difference at the breakdown, where he stole ball and counter-rucked to outplay fellow Lions tourist Justin Tipuric.
The Leinster flanker earned Man of the Match for his overall performance, and fans will be heartened by this improved aspect of his game. While the big ball carries and fends are impressive, the way he got to the breakdown ahead of Tipuric proved to be significant.
“We had a lot of possession but when you have that much possession and you turn it over as much as we did you don’t deserve to win a game,” said Ospreys captain Alun Wyn Jones.
Incidentally the top ball carriers in the match were Ospreys’ Joe Bearman, followed closely by Jamie Heaslip, and to give poor Biggar some credit, he did make the most amount of tackles in the match with 17. Tipuric made 16, while the top Leinster tackler was Jamie Heaslip with 12.
Leinster and Castres sit at the top of Pool One. The two sides meet at the RDS next, in Round 2.
View highlights of Ospreys vs Leinster on page two of this post
Highlights from the Heineken Cup meeting between Ospreys and Leinster at the Liberty Stadium