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Leinstertainment Returns To Ballsbridge

That’s more like it from Leinster. Seven tries and an incredibly accurate performance with a blend of pack domination and backline precision that will buoy them before their quest to secure top spot against Wasps next weekend.

There was further evidence of Leinster’s continued conveyor belt of youth coming through with accomplished performances from all of their respective young guns. The fluency in which Leinster played with on Saturday night gave the French side no chance of establishing a foot hold in the game, and the decision making of knowing when to strike for tries was exemplary.

The main talking point leading up to this fixture was Martin Moore’s inclusion at tighthead and Mike Ross’ complete omission from the squad. Moore was brilliant in his return to the side last week but not many would have foreseen his ousting of Ross from the side. Moore, along with Michael Bent provided the cornerstone for victory from the scrum, and when the number 3 crashed over the whitewash following an unstoppable maul it almost felt like a coming of age for the 23-year-old prop.

Devin Toner’s continued excellence in the second row and domination of the set piece was another huge factor in Leinster’s victory. His rise to prominence in the last two years has been phenomenal at a time when the national side was in desperate need for an adequate accomplice to Paul O’Connell.

Jordi Murphy further enhanced his chances of partnering Leinster team-mate Jamie Heaslip and Peter O’Mahony in the Irish back row against Italy next month with another splendid performance. His offload to Eoin Reddan following a swash buckling run showed his mixture of power and panache, and Joe Schmidt will likely be looking on with glee.

Schmidt was also reminded of the quality of two of his possible back line stars with Dave Kearney and Luke Fitzgerald playing brilliantly in positions that the Ireland coach will not have made his mind up about. Fitzgerald has looked completely at home in the number 13 jersey for Leinster this season and it gives Schmidt a serious headache over his team selection for the Six Nations.

Kearney also profited from a stagnant Castres defence who were unable to spot Leinster’s wingers cutting through the centre and taking short reverse passes from the hands of Reddan and Mc Grath. Kearney’s opening try and Darragh Fannings second half touchdown were all to simple but take nothing away from the lines in which they took to present those chances. Kearney showed an edge that has seemingly been lacking throughout his career, a propensity to ‘mix it up’ rather than to simply play it safe.

Jimmy Gopperth and Ian Madigan’s 10-12 combination is also a real cause of optimism for Matt O’Connor. Leinster would have failed to execute those free flowing moves which have been missing since the days of Jonny Sexton without the fluency their partnership produced. Madigan now must be entering Joe Schmidt’s mind frame as a possible option at inside centre, with Gordon D’Arcy’s floundering for Castres only try further raising doubts about his future for both province and country. A mention too for Luke Mc Grath who is banging hard on the door to warrant an inclusion from the start in the big games.

What is evident is that Matt O’Connor looks relatively settled on his best fifteen, which can only be a plus for the sides continuity. A trip to Wasps next weekend presents a whole different challenge, however following the best performance his side has produced under him they should head to Adams Park brimming with confidence.

Patrick Ward, Pundit Arena.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.