URC Semi Finals Review 2024

The Bulls will play Glasgow Warriors in the 2024 URC Final in South Africa on Saturday evening at 5pm or 4pm for those of you in South Africa…. I think on the balance of the way yesterday’s games went we have the right and deserved pairing in this season’s URC Final.

The Bulls were full value for the 25-20 win at home to Leinster and this will be another bitter pill to swallow for Leinster as it’s another loss in knock out rugby and that becoming all too familiar to this group of Leinster players.

Leinster will bullied up front and although it was a tight score line, The Bulls will know they have plenty in the tank for the Final on home soil next Saturday. The availability of Willie Le Roux will be important as he was a key factor for the Bulls helping Johan Goosen pull the strings.

The forward battle was won by Bulls and that will defiantly concern Andy Farrell as well as Leo Cullen. Cullen and Nienbar will go back to the drawing board over the summer and with Tyler Bleyendaal coming on board to take over as backs coach from Andrew Goodman who steps up to Ireland taking over from Mike Catt.

The review of the year will be hard to stomach but Leinster have the quality to get back onto the winners podium. They will need to rediscover there spark in attack that has been lost in the last few months and need to slowly move away from the physical up and at them approach.

They will have fresh eyes on the attack with Bleyendaal coming in add to that they will have RG Snyman and Jordie Barrett as the big money signings for the 2024/2025 season. It will take time to recover from yesterday and unfortunately or fortunately in some cases several men from yesterday will need to dust themselves off quickly as the tour to South Africa looms large.

Leinster have questions to answer after another year without a trophy, I know a trophy is not always assured in professional sport but Leinster compete at the top table every year and losing in the knock out phases has become a habit is winning of course. They will look to the two defeats in South Arica as key moments in the URC campaign.

For Leinster, time now to review the year and take a few weeks off as squad, some will go on holiday and family time and more will decamp to Dublin to prepare for the two Test tour of South Africa in July with tests on Saturday the 6th and 13th.

Munster will wonder what happened yesterday, Glasgow had to play 20 minutes with 14 men and all Munster managed in that period was 3 points from Jack Crowley’s boot. Munster looked on edge during the game and struggled to find ways in and the line out again faltered when it needed to be on point. To that end, Glasgow came here and disrupted Munster in very similar fashion to last season which saw Munster go away from home and beat Glasgow 14-5.

Are the current Munster squad happier playing away from home rather that Thomond Park, the pressure seemed to tell on them yesterday at vital moments. The half back pairing of Casey and Crowley didn’t perform to the level that they can and that was compounded by poor work at the breakdown and lack of support for the man in possession on multiple occasions.

Poor execution was another Achilles heel and the opening try from Kyle Steyn was after Antoine Frisch had delayed his pass to Alex Nankivell and he knocked the ball on and Kyle Steyn snaffled it up and raced clear to put the Warriors on the board. There other try from Seb Cancelliere was created from a break from Sione Tuipulotu and he broke the Munster defence and in turn put Huw Jones away on the outside and his acceleration away from Simon Zebo and Mike Haley put them 12-3 up with George Horn adding the extra two to put the 14-3 up after 50 minutes.

 Munster managed to create a strike move of their own that saw good clean fast hands with Coombes, Snyman, Loughman and after a quick ruck saw quick hands from O Mahony and Casey to put Frisch in the corner. Crowley added the extras to leave the score 14-10 with plenty of time left on the clock.

Munster couldn’t find the score to sneak ahead and a late George Horn penalty pushed Glasgow 7 clear. Alex Nankivell saw red for coming in at the side of a ruck under the posts and making contact with George Horn’s head.

Munster did manage to create one final chance in the last two minutes from a line out, they set up a maul and RG Snyman tried to get an offload away to John Ryan but the prop didn’t hold the ball and with that Glasgow saw out the final moments and Tom Jordan kicked the ball into the stands to see Glasgow into the 2024 URC Final.

Munster will need to take time like Leinster to review the season as a whole where a draw and loss in Europe at home didn’t help the cause and they will look back on yesterday with genuine regret.

For a number of Munster players it was bon voyage as Simon Zebo will retire, Joey Carbery will move to Bordeaux, RG Snyman will make the short trip east to join Leinster. Munster will welcome Thakkier Abrahams, Diarmuid Kilgallon and Tom Farrell ahead of the new season. Also a number of young players will move into the senior Munster squad on varied contracts.

We have on the balance of the semi-finals the right final, all the best to Glasgow and The Bulls next Saturday….

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