Munster vs Leinster Leadership

In the last week since Leinster faced Munster at Thomond Park last Saturday and the leadership of Jonathan Sexton was called into question by several people after some of his actions during his 60 minutes on the field.

During a first half that saw two yellow cards and a red card along with a few unsavoury scenes, people have asked about Sexton in his position as Leinster captain. He struggled to keep his team in check in the opening half despite being asked by match referee Frank Murphy to speak to his side about their behaviour.

Leinster went to Limerick with a distinct game plan to unsettle Munster upfront and then if that worked they would have used the ball to better effect than they did because when they did move the ball at pace they seemed to cause Munster problems in defence.

Back to the leadership of Jonathan Sexton, many people were angered by his behaviour and also his interactions with match referee Frank Murphy were questioned. Jonathan Sexton was given the captaincy of Leinster last summer after Isa Nacewa retired and when that decision was announced nobody batted an eyelid but this past weekend finally saw people speak up about his behaviour.

Jonathan Sexton is a talented rugby player and can captain a side and will continue in his role with Leinster despite the criticism he received after the game last weekend. What has made Jonathan Sexton a great player is that hard edge that he has, like Roy Keane or Peter Canavan but last weekend this hard edge went slightly awry and this lead to a longer than usual opening 40 minutes that almost lasted 60 minutes after all the stoppages.

The issues surrounding the sending off of James Lowe who saw red for taking Andrew Conway in the air have been dealt with as Lowe has received a two week suspension. World Rugby still need to work with all unions and clubs to continue to keep the sport up to date with the rules around the tackle area.

Jonathan Sexton will need to look at the way he conducts himself and may need to be calmer when dealing with match officials into the future. Frank Murphy did a good job in what was his toughest assignment to date. He has only a small number of Pro 14 games under his belt but has been honing his craft in the All Ireland League over the last few seasons since hanging up his boots after spells with Munster, Connacht and Leicester Tigers in England where he played alongside current Leinster coach Leo Cullen.

Frank Murphy like Jonathan Sexton will be better for the experience last weekend, it was good to see this fixture come to life again after a few games where neither team was at full strength due to the IRFU’s long running player welfare system where Irish players game time in managed to get the maximum from each player during the International windows that will this year include a World Cup later in 2019. This weekend will be a another chance for players to stake a claim for Irish squad inclusion before Europe begins next weekend.

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