In contrast to the games mentioned, David Holwell s 27 points for Leinster bear no comparison because of the farcical nature of that game at Lansdowne Road. The importance of O Gara and Henson to Munster and Ospreys is highlighted by the fact that in their respective matches against Castres and Harlequins neither side managed to score a try which was the case also when the sides met in the Heineken Cup.
Leicester managed three tries against the famed Wasps defence but still needed every ounce of Goode s ability to secure a narrow victory. Northampton scored one try as did Castres but Munster never managed a try and except for an early kick to the corner that gave Mossy Lawlor a sniff and for a period of pack pressure in the final quarter, they never threatened to score one.
So the worry must be, should that trend continue, what happens if O Gara suffers a dip in kicking form. Although coach Alan Gaffney refused to make any excuses about his side s lack of preparation, it would generally be accepted that most sides need more than three hours in a month to get themselves ready for a tough competitive match such as Munster had to play last Friday. Again, accepting that internationals are the financial lifeblood of the professional game in this country there can be no quibble with the autumn internationals being staged when they were. But surely there was some lee-way in scheduling one or perhaps two Celtic League games after the internationals and before the third round of Heineken Cup games.
Forget about Bourgoin s disgraceful attitude to this competition - no-one was to know they weren t going to turn up on Saturday - was it in any way fair to the people who support Leinster and, in the case of Munster the thousands who dug deep in their pockets to get to France, that their side s prospects of advancing in this competition were not just hindered but in fact jeopardised by not enough time to prepare.
Leinster will be fine. Declan Kidney will make all the right noises about how difficult the return leg will be and so he should. Expecting Bourgoin to turnaround a 75 point deficit is a big ask so you would have to fancy Leinster to take at least a bonus from the game next weekend in France !!! Then with an away game against a moderate Bath side and home to Treviso they will top Pool 2 and almost certainly secure a home quarter-final.
For their part Munster must spend this week working on their offence. In Heineken Cup a home win is a prerequisite. But not only must they win they must also send Castres packing without a bonus point.