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2012 Heineken Cup Final Preview

@buck_mitchell

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The 2012 Final will be contested between two sides from the Emerald Isle, but their geographical location is really the only similarity between the teams. Ulster Rugby play their home games at Ravenhill in Belfast are the sole Northern Irish rugby province while Leinster Rugby play their home games in Dublin, the Capital City of the Republic of Ireland. It’s not just National and Political borders which separate the two teams, likewise their style’s could hardly be further apart. Ulster have built their success round a dominant forward pack and the skillful kicking games of both half backs, South African number 9 Ruan Pienaar and the departing Outside Half Ian Humphreys, who was a member of the Leicester Tigers squad who lost to Wasps in the 2006/07 final. Leinster contrarily have build their recent success around the play of their back line, which includes Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll and 6 other Internationals including the in- form Rob Kearney at Fullback.
Statistically this season both teams have had similar campaign’s thus far, Ulster conceded just 87 points during the group stages (including 8 tries), the fewest of any team in the first 6 games of the competition. Leinster allowed just 1 point more than their opponents during the group stage, with 88 in their 6 Pool 3 games (including 7 tries), in total Ulster have allowed 122 points in 8 games (including 10 tries) this Heineken Cup season, an average of 15.25 points per game, compared to Leinster’s total of 106 (including 7 tries) at an average of 13.25 per game. With the ball in hand Leinster had a slight edge during the group stages, scoring 18 tries compared to Ulster’s 16. Ulster amassed more try bonus points though, as result of 2 convincing wins over Italian minnows Aironi and a 41-7 humbling of Leicester Tigers at Ravenhill in January. Leinster only recorded 2 try bonus points from their 6 games in Pool 3 during 2 impressive home victories, 38-13 against Glasgow and 52-27 against Bath. Ulster did however taste defeat during the group stage, a fate that Leinster did not suffer, as they lost to Pool 4 opponents Clermont Auvergne in the South of France and Leicester in the East Midlands of England.
While there may not have been much between the 2 sides during the group stages of the competition the knock out phase is where Leinster come alive and after they easily brushed aside an under strength Cardiff Blues side at the Aviva Stadium they showed their collective mental strength as they held out against Clermont Auvergne in their semi final, a team who beat Ulster 19-15 in Pool 4. The way Leinster defended their goal line at the end of a ***anic struggle in Bordeaux after 6 minutes of brilliance from Rob Kearney where he provided Cian Healy with an easy run to the line to score the game’s only try and he dropped a goal from 50 metres out to take the score from 12-6 to Clermont to 16-12 to Leinster only underlined why they are defending champions. Ulster’s knock out phase heroics came in their away victory over Munster where Craig Gilroy showed why he’s one of the most exciting talents in Irish rugby and Ruan Pienaar showed exactly why he commands the exorbitant salary Ulster pay him. Gilroy’s superb solo effort was cancelled out by Munster’s own prodigious talent Simon Zebo but Munster had no answer for Pienaar’s 5 place kicks. Their semi final however was a different story as they toiled to beat a belligerent Edinburgh side and really only managed to when they completely shut down the game and ground out penalty after penalty threw their forwards.
Ulster have been successful with their basic 10 man rugby this season and if Leinster concede numerous infringements then they Pienaar will no doubt make them pay with his boot, but Leinster’s forwards should prove a difficult nut for the Ulster 8 to crack and if the Dubliner’s can provide a back line including Jonny Sexton, Brian O’Driscoll, Rob Kearney and Isa Nacewa any sort of ball then their opposite numbers will have a very tiring day trying to prevent a team who have crossed the try line 23 times in total this Heineken Cup season. Leinster have lost just 4 Heineken Cup games in the last 4 seasons and only once since the 12[SUP]th[/SUP] of December 2010 when they fell 20-13 to Clermont Auvergne at the Stade Marcel Michelin, the team who they vanquished in this season’s semi final. The shortest odds for a winning margin is Leinster to win by between 6 and 10 points, which is 9/2 however if the result is that close then there’s a real chance that Ulster could win, I expect Leinster will win by at least 10 points, after all they won the final by 11 points last year having been 22-6 points behind Northampton Saints at half time.
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Conal

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i know we dont match leinsters backs but id hardly say we are ten man rugby :p
 

@buck_mitchell

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I said 9 didn't ? :p

I didn't mean it in terms of not having good players, I think Gilroy's the new George North & I love Cave & Nevin Spence, but from the last few games I've seen when the pressure's on they seem to completely shut it down & go into their shell. If Ulster get it wide it'll be a feast of rugby & could be a points-fest, but personally I don't think they will. <_<
 

dynamicdave

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I take ulster to upset the odds and win............but i am the worlds worst at predictions.
 

psychic duck

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Leinster have lost just 4 Heineken Cup games in the last 4 seasons and only once since the 12[SUP]th[/SUP] of December 2010 when they fell 20-13 to Clermont Auvergne at the Stade Marcel Michelin, the team who they vanquished in this season’s semi final.

correction, Leinster haven't lost any matches in the H Cup since that defeat
 

big ginger 8

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I said 9 didn't ? :p

I didn't mean it in terms of not having good players, I think Gilroy's the new George North & I love Cave & Nevin Spence, but from the last few games I've seen when the pressure's on they seem to completely shut it down & go into their shell. If Ulster get it wide it'll be a feast of rugby & could be a points-fest, but personally I don't think they will. <_<

Gilroy's an excellent player but that's a strange comparison IMO. Gilroy's 6 foot and 90kg North's 6'4" and 109kg with differing styles. Good write up but I think Ulster's backline deserves more credit Pienaar is not just a kicker on Jackson isn't a half bad runner or passer, Wallace has brilliant hands, Cave is excellent at the half break on the outside, you mentioned Gilroy, Trimble is an excellent finisher on the right wing and a strong runner and Terblanche is a very good counter attacker. There back subs are also flair players.
 

psychic duck

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Gilroy's an excellent player but that's a strange comparison IMO. Gilroy's 6 foot and 90kg North's 6'4" and 109kg with differing styles. I think Ulster's backline deserves more credit Pienaar is not just a kicker on Jackson isn't a half bad runner or passer, Wallace has brilliant hands, Cave is excellent at the half break on the outside, you mentioned Gilroy, Trimble is an excellent finisher on the right wing and a strong runner and Terblanche is a very good counter attacker. There back subs are also flair players.

I agree totally with Big Ginger 8, they do have a big pack, but they can be quite an exciting team to watch, just look at this good team try against the Dragons

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/RpZmk3moc2U" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen=""></iframe>

1 loss since that date, since the game was played ON that day, dime bar !

since means after the event mentioned, e.g. the referee hasn't blown his whistle since kickoff
 

@buck_mitchell

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You mean Gilroy's "style" of running over pretty much everyone & being nearly unstoppable is not comparable to George North who, let me see now, does exactly the same ? I didn't mean they looked alike, Tim Visser & George North look alike, but there hardly similar.
 

@buck_mitchell

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& they can be an exciting team, but don't kid yourself the Dragons were bloody awful this season, my local minis would have scored some sexy tries against them (& I'm a Man of Gwent). But if you've been following my ealier comments when the pressure comes on Ulster shut it down and hardly use the outside backs, did you see the Semi Final v Edinburgh? Edinburgh played all the rugby but had all the accuracy of a blind darts player, Ulster ground out a 3 point win against a team who finished below the aforementioned dreadful Dragons in the league.
 

big ginger 8

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You mean Gilroy's "style" of running over pretty much everyone & being nearly unstoppable is not comparable to George North who, let me see now, does exactly the same ? I didn't mean they looked alike, Tim Visser & George North look alike, but there hardly similar.
How much of Gilroy have you seen? Even at u20's he rarely if ever ran over anyone much more about using his feet and great change of pace to beat a man. I pointed out the size because it's nigh on impossible to run over someone in pro rugby weighing 90kg.
 

@buck_mitchell

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So the three Ulster counties from the Republic should just **** off then should they?

they can if they like, I think you've just discovered why I'm not a geography blogger, also do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a map of Irish counties (in England, I imagine there's a couple of them knocking about in Ireland) ?
 

Feicarsinn

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You mean Gilroy's "style" of running over pretty much everyone & being nearly unstoppable is not comparable to George North who, let me see now, does exactly the same ? I didn't mean they looked alike, Tim Visser & George North look alike, but there hardly similar.

Since when does Craig Gilroy flatten people?
 

psychic duck

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You mean Gilroy's "style" of running over pretty much everyone & being nearly unstoppable is not comparable to George North who, let me see now, does exactly the same ? I didn't mean they looked alike, Tim Visser & George North look alike, but there hardly similar.

you argue about everything and anything you write, even when once when I pointed out that Gorgodze hadn't joined Toulon before the World Cup you still managed to try and argue about it, despite it being fact :lol:

Gilroy relies more on his step and isn't a bulldozer type of winger as Big Ginger 8 says
 
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@buck_mitchell

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Based what I've already said I've not nearly enough of Gilroy with ball in hand, cos he spends a fair portion of Ulster games chasing after kicks and freezing his ***s off.

Already forgotten his Quarter Final try have you ? I assume you see him more as the Irish answer to Shane Williams then ? Anyone who thinks Trimble is "an excellent finisher" is probably best placed to comment on forward play, Trimble's selection, for Ulster & Ireland is based purely on his defensive skills, he's a bruiser who knows when to step in and nail the outside centre. Would an "excellent finisher" have 11 tries in 46 tests ? Chris Ashton's got 15 in 23 & if you listen to the media he's hopeless and should be dropped.
 

@buck_mitchell

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I love how you defend everything and anything you write, even when once when I pointed out that Gorgodze hadn't joined Toulon before the World Cup you still managed to try and argue about it, despite it being fact :lol:

Gilroy relies more on his step and isn't a bulldozer type of winger as Big Ginger 8 says

Surely the whole point of a forum is to argue and discuss, some might even say it's the definition of forum;

[h=3]fo·rum/ˈfôrəm/[/h][TABLE="class: ts"]
<tbody>[TR]
[TD="width: 80px"]Noun:[/TD]
[TD][TABLE="class: ts"]
<tbody>[TR]
[TD]
  1. A meeting or medium where ideas and views on a particular issue can be exchanged.
[/TD]
[/TR]
</tbody>[/TABLE]
[/TD]
[/TR]
</tbody>[/TABLE]

if you don't want anyone replying to anything you write maybe you should just have you own site, maybe call it "I'm great, me" ?
 
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Feicarsinn

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Based what I've already said I've not nearly enough of Gilroy with ball in hand, cos he spends a fair portion of Ulster games chasing after kicks and freezing his ***s off.

Already forgotten his Quarter Final try have you ? I assume you see him more as the Irish answer to Shane Williams then ? Anyone who thinks Trimble is "an excellent finisher" is probably best placed to comment on forward play, Trimble's selection, for Ulster & Ireland is based purely on his defensive skills, he's a bruiser who knows when to step in and nail the outside centre. Would an "excellent finisher" have 11 tries in 46 tests ? Chris Ashton's got 15 in 23 & if you listen to the media he's hopeless and should be dropped.

Nope, but he doesn't run over anyone. You're saying that you don't see him enough to judge him, but you keep trying to argue your case that he's a bosh merchant, with no evidence.
 

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