Well, all 4 provinces played in the Rabo this weekend and it was a mixed bag in terms of results. Leinster and Munster won hard-fought victories, while Connacht narrowly lost their game. Ulster was the only province to come away without any points.
There were great results for both Leinster and Munster, especially as both teams were fielding their 2nd-string sides, due to their top players being in Ireland’s training camp.
Connacht lost a close game to Glasgow, 19-12. Connacht still get a losing point but they remain at the bottom of the Rabo table (Glasgow are 2nd). Ulster lost to the Scarlets, 17-9, in a competitive game but came away with no points (they had to have been within 7 points of the winning team).
Leinster’s Rabo game was against Newport/Gwent Dragons. The Dragons were leading, 10-6 at the start of the 2nd half but Leinster came back to win the game, 23-17. It was a very close match.
Leinster got 2 tries in the 2nd half, and were helped by Dragons having a player sin-binned for 10 minutes. Dragons almost got a late try at the end but were unable to capitalise on their great position. The Dragons still came away with a losing point.
Leinster, despite missing their star players, had some quality in the side. Captain Shane Jennings is a great back row, while Luke Fitzgerald is a former Lion. Leinster were also boosted by the presence of some overseas players.
Jimmy Gopperth has proven to be a great signing at out-half, while Lote Tiquiri has returned from injury. South African Zane Kirchnerr was making his debut for the club, playing at full-back. This is the advantage of having foreign players in the team, when the internationals are unavailable.
Munster beat Ospreys, 12-6. Munster remain at the top of the Rabo table, with 26 points. Though they’re only 1 point ahead of Glasgow. Ospreys are 3rd with 23 points.
Leinster are 4th with 22 points. The top of the table is very close and those 4 may well be competing in the play-off matches if they can maintain their form.
Both Munster and Ospreys were missing their top players, due to international commitments (Wales have November tests as well). Munster had the slight advantage, though it was a very close game.