Penney has done an amazing job in a short space of time. Huge improvement across the board. Everyone is chomping at the bit. Granted it's early days yet but there are lots of very positive signs of a definite pattern emerging. Penney is developing a squad where we have at least two contenders for every position. The backline is looking dangerous for the first time in 4 years and we are playing an intelligent game.
Huge credit to everyone on the management side from Penney and Mannix to Foley with the forwards.
Leinster rugby - standing on the shoulders of giants
Penney has a lot of experience of bringing on elite underage players.
TMG said it took about 15 (I think) games for new players to really find their feet (in a big club like Munster).
Clearly Penney knows how to get their confidance going. Keatley has shown ability not seen before with Munster. Williams has come on a lot in the games he had this season. Penney made some complimentary noises a few games ago about Keatley and has done the same about Holland this week. These remarks were neither casual or accidental. He knows who has more to give and when to bolster them.
Clubman, in fairness Ruck did say "developing" and we have seen Penney try a number of formations and cominations and you have seen a lot of debates on the optimum selection for the next two games (Hurley, Zebo, Earls or Howlett? Dougal, DOC2, Butler, Ryan, Ronan).
We really have to be prepared that during such development phases there's going to be some very frustrating performances, some apparently daft selections and combinations but I don't think there is anyone on this site that believes we're on the wrong path towards progress.
Unfortunately Leinster is now looking like a must win (or at least must have big performance) game. If we lose, we'll be 1 win in 4 games going into the H-Cup (with home win v Dragons a gimme by rabbo standards). Not particularly good form going into the real business. Rabbo league defeats can of course be recovered from, not so easy in the H-Cup.
We'll have a much clearer picture of what Penney considers his 1st team when we see the lineout for the Ladyz. If Ospreys was the last dress rehearsal then he'll have a clearer picture of where he stands with the squad. What has he learnt.
- Archer is improving but with a 5m scrum on your own line against a big French or English 8 in teh H-cup, we need BJ Botha on that pitch. Archer will have to continue his learnings in the Rabbo.
- Backrow needs to be balanced with at least 2 carriers there. I think despite injuries, Penney does at least have options
- We can't have Stringer & O'Gara on the same team. Stringer still has no kicking or breaking game and that is a serious weakness in the game we are playing.
- At 10, Penney has 2 options, 1) play the Penney way with keatley at 10 or 2) play O'Gara but we then need far more variation at 1st reciever. Murray & Downey either side of him is a prerequisite and blindside winger, forwards taking ball off Murray to keep those inside defenders & blitz defence checked. Playing Keatley will naturally keep those defenders checked and test that blitz defence. I have rarely seen a team have so completely figured out an opponent as the Ospreys & ROG. they know exactly what he'll do, where he'll kick, how to push him back. He was 10 meters behind the gainline all night giving it to Lualala a further 5 meters behind which meant we were losing ground every time we went wide. It was McGahanball all over again. side to side with no prospect of a line break.
Overall, the strongest team looks like
WDP, Sherry, BJB, DR, DO'C (PO'C being injured still I presume), DOCII, Dougal, PO'M (or Butler at 8 with PO'M going to 6), Murray, Keatley, Zebo Downey, Earls/Lualala, Howlett, Hurley.
I'd give that team a good chance against Leinster considering the form of both sides. A good performance & no injuries, it'll be the same for Racing.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again (like picking Gordon D'Arcy) and expecting different results.
I'd pretty much agree with all of that. It would have been interesting to see whether the presence of DOC2 would have made a difference in the physicality stakes yesterday. TOD is a decent 7 but in spite of the additional bulk still not big enough for 6 IMO.
Never mind perception because it isnít real. Itís only what people think. Go out and make them think something else.
- Alan Quinlan on believing in yourself