Reid stands out as Leinster's attack progresses in win over Connacht

The 24-year-old centre was named man of the match after the inter-pro clash at the RDS.

Reid beats the tackle of Marmion at the RDS last night.
Reid beats the tackle of Marmion at the RDS last night.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

PERCEPTIONS INSIDE THE Leinster group have been very different to those outside in recent weeks.

Yesterday evening’s 21-11 victory over Connacht was the latest step forward in the development of Leinster’s attack, which continues to grow in width and incision. Man of the match Noel Reid helped greatly in both those facets on a chilly night at the RDS.

The 24-year-old made his fifth Pro12 start of the season as Leinster moved level on points with league leaders Munster overnight, thanks to tries from Zane Kirchner and Shane Jennings, as well as Jimmy Gopperth’s 11 points off the tee.

It was Reid who stole the show, however, making one major linebreak through the tackle of Kieran Marmion in the first half, generally passing superbly and adding some intelligent kicking after the break.

It was good to get a good run,” said Reid post-match. “The injury [ankle] at the start of the season kind of slowed me down a bit and it’s only the last few weeks I’ve been feeling 100%, so it was good to get 70 or so minutes under my belt in the RDS.

“The team played pretty well and I chipped in, so I was happy with the performance.”

Reid pointed out that despite the public consensus that Matt O’Connor’s side have been struggling, the mood within the Leinster group has always been strong. As they now move attention to Munster at Thomond Park on 26 December, all is well.

Noel Reid receives the Guinness PRO12 man of the match award from Robert Flavin Reid collects his man of the match award last night. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“The morale has been pretty good anyway. There’s kind of been a lot of talk outside of camp about our performances, but we’ve just been working hard and we know it’s going to click,” said Reid at the RDS.

“We’re playing against tough teams, we’re never going to beat them by 30 or 40 points, they’re tough battles. I think now we’re in a good spot in the league and we’ve two massive derbies coming up.

“That’s our main focus now, Munster away is obviously going to be tough so four points is the main goal there and we’ll move on after that.”

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That Leinster produced two tries against Connacht was encouraging, particularly given the defensive effort of Pat Lam’s men in Dublin. Reid put the attacking progress down to sharper efforts post-tackle.

I think we focused on our ruck,” said the inside centre. “Ruck leads to how we’re going to play, so it’s pretty tough to play with the ball when it’s really slow ruck.

“There’s teams slowing it down, so in training all season we’ve been focused on our rucking, our barrels, getting rid of the bodies early so we can go.

“Tonight it was a bit quicker than it has been all season. The backs got a bit more ball and we were able to have a few one-on-ones with the Connacht lads.”

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Murray Kinsella

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