Ex-Argentina talisman Felipe Contepomi has one wish for the weekend’s Guinness PRO14 final versus Ulster – that the Aviva Stadium showpiece enjoys more ball in play time than there was in last weekend’s ugly Leinster semi-final win over Munster.
Leo Cullen’s Leinster have been feted for a number of years for their expansive, free-flowing style but it was hard yards that eventually made the difference in a low-scoring last-four encounter with their Irish rivals.
Munster brought a limited game plan with them to Dublin, a lack of ambition further hindered by Leinster’s spot of penalty trouble in seeing out the win.
Come full-time in a poor spectacle where there was just a solitary try scored in the 13-3 outcome, Leinster had conceded 13 penalties and a yellow card, a frustration in keeping with their post-lockdown efforts where 37 penalties and two yellow cards have been given up in three matches.
“The new interpretation of the (breakdown) law, it’s posing those questions of the risk-reward, how much you play, how much you can play,” suggested Contepomi following a 2019/20 PRO14 restart in which Leinster twice beat Munster either side of their second-string defeating Ulster 28-10 with two tries in the closing seven minutes last Saturday week.
Missed an epic weekend of drama in the #GuinnessPRO14? ?
Best moment of the weekend? pic.twitter.com/79l7qv3LAI
— PRO14 RUGBY (@PRO14Official) September 7, 2020
“Sometimes we will find more teams that come with tactics like Munster used against us last Friday,” continued Contepomi, the former Leinster out-half who return to the club to coach after Girvan Dempsey headed to Bath. “We can’t control that, it’s their tactics.
“What we can do is how we deal with those tactics a bit better and take teams to the comfort zone or where we feel more comfortable, as you say playing a more expansive sort of game. But if you see a normal game where you have 38 or 39 minutes ball in play and this game had 32 or 33, so it was a very stopped game and very chess-like.
“We need to learn to deal with them and sometimes you need to just go and win those games and keep preparing and performing for the type of game you want when you can impose your type of game.”
"Whereas van Grann has now lost five of these last-four fixtures (three in the league, two in Europe), Leinster remain the beacon on how to learn from your semi-final mishaps"
– Liam Heagney on the @PRO14Official Leinster vs Munster fallout ???
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) September 5, 2020
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