Rob Howley gives his verdict on the Welsh teams in third and fourth rounds of the Heineken Cup
14 December 2009 16:05pm
Heineken ambassador Rob Howley gives his verdict on the Welsh teams in third and fourth rounds of the Heineken Cup
"It was a mixed weekend for the Welsh clubs this weekend with wins for Cardiff Blues and the Ospreys with defeats for Newport and Scarlets. The Ospreys were outstanding against Viadana and gave them the respect that any Italian team deserves. Ricky Januarie came into the Ospreys squad having had one brief training session but was a joy to watch and demonstrated what a quality player he is. We all know what he has done for the Springboks but he brought experience and a fantastic ability to read the ball to the Ospreys match.
Scarlets were dominated by an exceptional Leinster performance. The champions have such depth of quality players with the likes of O'Driscoll and Kearney and whilst Leinster are enjoying the benefits of being together as a squad for three or four years, this match was a good test for the Scarlets of where they are and where they need to improve. Scarlets face a tough return leg away in Dublin this coming weekend and will need to do everything they can to do what London Irish did earlier in the season and beat Leinster on their home turf.
The Cardiff / Toulouse match was a scrappy affair but despite the turn over and tackling errors the Blues got a win and deservedly so. It is always tricky to gauge what the French clubs will be like when they travel and the Blues will know that come this weekend when they have to travel to France for the rematch. The French clubs always seem to find renewed passion and skill levels at home and it will be a good match to watch.
The Dragons can testify to the challenge of playing the French at home as they lost to Biarritz this weekend. When you go to France you must be disciplined and the Dragons will be disappointed with their lack of discipline. To get two yellow cards was terrible - it's hard enough playing the French with 15 men let alone 14! The Dragons were just always on the back foot and never caught up. They will be looking to change the result this weekend when they got Biarritz at Rodney Parade."