Last night we made our way down to RDS for the final home match of the European Champions Cup against Bath. We didn’t have high hopes going into the match since Leinster was 0-4 in the league and Bath was playing to qualify for the next round, but I find that I love the game so much I just don’t care if we’re winners or losers at this point. I just want to watch and learn and enjoy myself. The other thing I was excited by was the fact that the coach was finally playing my favorite player at 10, as well as starting a bunch of the junior players who look promising. A large bit of criticism for the recent losses is that the established members of the team haven’t been playing to their full potential and that we’d be doing better if some changes were made to the starting lineup. I think because it was the last game of this tournament and we were already out of it the coach figured he’d give the young guns a shot … and boy did it pay off! My man (it’s okay, I can say that … everyone here is “yer man”) Ian Madigan scored 20 points, and while he didn’t have a perfect game, he had a damn fine game. Such a shame that he’ll be leaving to play in Bordeaux next season because he’s so underutilized here in Leinster. A few other players really stepped up as well and there was a whole lot of awesome talent on display. The crowd was lively and totally vibing on the new, energized team. It was just a really fun match and you could see those guys playing their hearts out. At one point, Madigan got messed up and he stayed on the ground which was pretty scary. When he was down he put his hands over his head so I didn’t know if he was already hurt there or just trying to protect his head from also getting injured. Play continued around him and while he was down I was a nervous wreck. Rugby is a damn brutal sport, y’all. No padding. No helmets. Barely there uniforms. Those gentlemen put their bodies on the line in a way that American sports just doesn’t. It’s really kind of terrifying, but epically awesome at the same time. In the end, Leinster won 25-11 and the crowd went wild. Well, those of us who were still there. I really hate it when fans leave when there’s still game to be played.
The next home game is on February 12 and Alan has a bunch of work folk coming in from San Francisco, so I don’t know that I’m going to be able to go. I want to though. Maybe if they have a team dinner I’ll use the match as a way to occupy my time. Yeah, that sounds good. 😉