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Leicester's Lack of Power Costs
Irish Take Advantage
Posted Apr 15, 2011 by Shaun Edwards
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It was apparent during the weekend’s match during Leinster and Leicester that the problems that England encountered in their final Six Nations game against the Irish are not restricted to international confrontations, as Martin Johnson’s former side found out to their cost at Lansdowne Road on Saturday.
Leicester’s current side much resembles Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal, demonstrating the skills and potential to win trophies, but without the real bite and mental strength that the side’s former glories demonstrated. Just as the Gunners had Patrick Viera and Tony Adams, so Leicester formerly possessed the iron grit of Martin Johnson and co. How they could have done with him on Saturday.
The Irish side, for their part, simply took Leicester’s own game and raised it to another level, with Kevin McLaughlin making a complete nuisance of himself in the line-out, and Brian O’Driscoll continuing to be a menace despite operating with one arm for the majority of the match. There is little doubt how Leicester suffered from their lack of physicality, as their flanker Tom Croft admitted post-match.
‘In the first 15 or 20 minutes we weren't as physical as we should have been at the breakdown. Sometimes we were trying to be good and go straight through the gate whereas they [Leinster] may have taken things from the side. It's something we need to learn’
Whilst Croft was honest in admitting his side’s flaws, the comment that would more than likely alarmed the Leicester faithful was the fact that he noted the game ‘felt like a pretty decent game to watch’. Whilst Croft is undoubtedly a deservedly respected player, can you really imagine Johnson saying such a thing in his heyday? The England coach was undoubtedly one of the finest players in history, and it’s not necessarily fair to compare anybody to him. However, it was a telling comment that again resembled Wenger in the focus on entertainment rather than trophies.
It might be great for the neutral, but for those Leicester fans used to a heaving sideboard of trophies, this lack of bite may yet cost them even more than a Heineken Cup.