Tag Archives: Isaac Boss

RaboDirect Round-Up

Last weekend saw the four Irish provinces in PRO12 action, with a mixed bag of results. We catch up on the four matches in our RaboDirect Round-Up.

Ulster 24-17 Scarlets

Friday 2nd December @ Ravenhill

Ulster ended their recent run of poor form with a win over the Scarlets at Ravenhill on Friday night. Their increasingly important talisman Stephen Ferris barged over for two tries. Scrumhalf Paul Marshall put in a lively performance while Ian Humphreys kicked 14 points.

Ulster endured a fairly disastrous opening quarter as they conceded two tries to the Welsh side. First, Pedrie Wannenburg gifted Sean Lamont an intercept try as he threw a shocking pass inside Ulster’s own 22. Then Scarlets debutant Vilami Iongi touched down after the Scarlets switched back down the blindside and caught Ulster off guard. Fortunately for Brian McLaughlin’s side, Stephen Jones missed both conversion attempts.

Humphreys got Ulster on the scoreboard with a penalty before the Scarlets’ young fullback Daniel Evans was yellow carded. Ulster made that advantage count as Ferris finished after fantastic play by Marshall. Humphreys missed the conversion to leave Ulster trailing 10-8 at half-time.

Humphreys added two more straightforward penalties after the break to put Ulster into the lead for the first time. He then extended that lead to 17-10 with another penalty from distance. With just over fifteen minutes left Ferris all but confirmed the win for Ulster after a blistering run down the right-hand side ended with a try. Humphreys converted to give Ulster a comfortable lead.

The Scarlets did give Ulster a nervy last few minutes after Kieran Murphy went over and Stephen Jones converted. But with only four minutes left, Ulster were strong enough to end the match in possession in the Scarlets half. This win sees Ulster stay in eighth in the league but they are now only seven points off the play-off places. More importantly, it will boost their confidence ahead of Friday’s Heineken Cup fixture, when they will need to aim for a bonus point win against Aironi at Ravenhill.

Here’s the two Stephen Ferris tries:

Connacht 13-15 Treviso

Friday 2nd November @ The Sportsground

Connacht’s run of defeats now stands at eight after Treviso left the Sportsground with four points on Friday night. With a Heineken Cup double-header against Gloucester up next for Eric Elwood’s side, the worry will be that the run of losses could extend into double figures. Connacht’s poor start to this match left them with a lot of ground to make up and they just didn’t have the quality to reel the Italian side in.

Treviso were first off the mark as Willem de Waal kicked an 11th minute penalty. Australian winger Brendan William then went over for a try, converted by de Waal. Treviso’s lead was extended even further as Tommaso Iannone won the chase to a loose ball to touch down. De Waal missed the conversion but the Italian side now had a 15-0 lead.

Connacht did respond after Italian international Fabio Semenzato was sent to the bin. Promising centre David McSharry barged his way through several defenders for his first try for the province. Niall O’Connor converted to bring Connacht back into the game. But the home team couldn’t come up with the try they needed. O’Connor struck two more penalties but that wasn’t enough to secure an elusive win for Connact.

Elwood’s team sit 10th in the table after this loss, with only the Newport Gwent Dragons and Aironi behind them. They are going to need something special to end this run in the coming weeks. All they can do is continue to work hard and hope that some reward will come. Gloucester visit the Sportsground on Saturday and that’s where the focus is now.

Here’s the highlights from the Connacht game. Apologies for the Italian commentary!

Leinster 52-9 Cardiff Blues

Friday 2nd December @ The RDS

You can read all about Leinster’s magnificent performance in our match report here. Following this win, Leinster are the outright leaders of the PRO12, one point ahead of the Ospreys. Joe Schmidt’s men visit Bath on Sunday in confident mood. It is hard to see Bath ending Leinster’s nine-match unbeaten run.

Here’s the highlights of the Leinster match:

Ospreys 19-13 Munster

Saturday 3rd December @ Liberty Stadium

Munster lost out to a heavily-depleted but plucky Ospreys side on Saturday evening. Read our full-length match report here. Munster missed the chance to overtake the Ospreys with this loss. Tony McGahan’s side remain in third position in the PRO12 table. They will need to improve for the Heineken Cup clash with the Scarlets in Llanelli on Saturday. The Scarlets welcome back their international players and look to continue their impressive HC form. It’s a massive match and the loss of Doug Howlett is a big blow for Munster.

Leinster Give Cardiff the Blues

Match Report – RaboDirect PRO12

Leinster 52-9 Cardiff Blues

2nd December @ The RDS

Boss got the first try for Leinster. Photo via M+MD

Leinster cut loose in the second half against a Cardiff team that was seriously weakened by international call-ups for the Wales clash with Australia. Despite trailing by only four points at half-time, Cardiff never looked like taking anything from this game. It was a complete team performance from Leinster as they ran in six unanswered tries. There were accomplished displays from a number of Leinster’s squad players as they showed the strength in depth Joe Schmidt currently has to choose from.

It was the Blues who were first off the mark at the RDS as Ceri Sweeney notched a penalty after Steven Sykes was penalised for side entry at a maul. Fergus McFadden replied almost immediately with a penalty of his own. Leinster scored their opening try inside the first ten minutes after deft hands from Eoin O’Malley and Isa Nacewa released Dave Kearney to make good ground into the Cardiff half. After good carries from the likes of Sykes, Ian Madigan and Leo Cullen, Nacewa was tackled inches short of the line. Isaac Boss was on hand to sneak over from close-range. McFadden added the extras for a 10-3 Leinster lead.

McFadden was on target with another skillfully-struck kick when Cardiff were pinged for not rolling away after the tackle. McFadden dealt well with a strong wind blowing against him by drilling his place-kick with a low trajectory. That was to be Leinster’s last score in the first-half, although they did threaten out wide on occassion.

First, a beautiful, flat skip pass from McFadden allowed Nacewa to break out of the Leinster 22. Then Madigan displayed his passing skills as he floated a gorgeous pass over the Cardiff defence to release Fionn Carr. Neither chance came to anything but they were clear signs of what was to come in the second-half.

Cardiff did reduce the deficit before half-time with two more Sweeney penalties. Cullen was offside for the first and then Cian Healy was guilty of the same offence. Healy was perhaps a little lucky to escape with just conceding a penalty as he scuffled with Paul Tito. Cardiff scarcely deserved to be within four points at half-time after a poor showing in the opening forty minutes and Leinster began to put their superiority on the scoreboard in the opening minutes of the second half.

Madigan’s fantastic restart led to a Leinster lineout from which Cardiff’s Maama Molotika was offside. McFadden was on target with the penalty from out to the left, another confident kick. A superb counter-attacking try then gave Leinster some breathing space. Madigan collected a long Richie Rees box-kick in the centre of the field, on his own 10 metre line. He shifted it to Nacewa who sent Carr bursting onto the ball, beating a tackle and offloading to Madigan. The young outhalf hit Nathan White on his inside shoulder and the prop showed respectable pace to finish the try. McFadden converted from under the uprights to give Leinster a 23-9 advantage.

Cullen spent ten minutes in the sin-bin. Photo via M+MD

With Leinster turning the pressure up now, McFadden dropped a goal as referee Andy MacPherson indicated the penalty advantage. Cardiff were then presented with an opportunity to drag themselves back into the game when Leo Cullen was sent to the bin for side entry as the Blues were held up just short of the Leinster tryline. The Leinster support summed up the general feeling that the Blues would fail to take advantage of having an extra man as they chanted “Leo, Leo, Leo” with the captain jogging off.

A knock-on from John Yapp saw the Cardiff effort break down and allowed Madigan to kick clear. Cardiff scrumhalf Rees joined Cullen in the sin-bin when he was offside after Leinster retained the ball through multiple phases tight to the ruck. Madigan kicked to the corner to set up field position for another Leinster score.

Replacement hooker Sean Cronin picked out Rhys Ruddock at the lineout. Madigan carried and then Jennings burst onto the ball coming around the corner. From there, Reddan switched play back to the blindside and Madigan took a short, hard line off his pop pass to surge over for Leinster’s third try. With his last contribution to the game, McFadden kicked the conversion to leave the field with six from six off the tee.

Jonathan Sexton replaced the try-scorer Madigan and had a big hand in the next Leinster try. Dave Kearney started and finished another impressive passage of play from the home side. The wing was impressive under the high ball as Cardiff kicked out from their own line. Ruddock then showed strength to offload out of the tackle before Shane Jennings floated a good pass out to Rob Kearey. Nacewa was tackled on the left-hand touchline and Cronin carried from that ruck. Reddan then hit Sexton who struck a delicate, angled chip for Dave Kearney to gather and dot down on the opposite side of the pitch. Sexton was wide to the right with his conversion effort.

The floodgates were now firmly open and Leinster scored direct from the Cardiff restart. Sexton put Cronin through a hole outside the Leinster 22 and the hooker raced into the Cardiff half before slipping the ball back inside to Sexton. The outhalf popped inside to Nacewa who was hauled down. But Dave Kearney was quickly onto the scene and he picked from the ruck, beating off two flimsy tackles on his way to touching down. Sexton was on target with this conversion.

Leinster finished the match with another try as Cardiff lost all interest. Substitute No.8 Leo Auva’a took a quick tap after a penalty was given Leinster’s way at scrum-time. The New Zealander burst over the line as Cardiff’s back-row watched on. Sexton knocked over the difficult conversion from out to the left to wrap up the 52-9 win. Joe Schmidt will be delighted with what he saw from his squad ahead of next weekend’s crucial Heineken Cup clash with Bath. There are players competing for every position in his squad and things are looking good for Leinster right now.


Photos courtesy:  M+MD