Pod 166 : Zebre v Leinster wrap

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166 : Zebre v Leinster wrap Harpin' On Rugby

On this week's main pod I'm joined by Tom & Rich to harp our way through the timeline of Leinster's opening match of the new URC season. Harpin’ On Rugby match wraps are brought to you by The Irish Rugby Store Our guests… TOM COLEMAN https://twitter.com/LeinsterRoyalty RICHARD MIFSUD https://twitter.com/Once_in_the_job FRONT FIVE ARTICLES Nigel Owens Gives His Expert Take On Raynal's Hugely Controversial Call | Balls.ie – Colman Stanley Eddie Butler was the voice of Welsh rugby and the game will never quite sound the same without him – Wales Online –  Mark Orders Munster start URC campaign with defeat in Cardiff (irishexaminer.com) – Matt Lloyd Dan McFarland proud as ‘patient’ Ulster rack up five tries against Connacht to kick off URC season in dominant fashion – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk – Jonathan Bradley Siya: We got the win, no matter what (sarugbymag.co.za) – SARugbyMag Where to find Harpin’ On Rugby Website > https://harpinonrugby.com/ Twitter > https://twitter.com/HarpinOnRugby Facebook > https://www.facebook.com/HarpinOnRugby Instagram > https://www.instagram.com/harpinonrugby/ TikTok > https://www.tiktok.com/@harpinonrugby YouTube > https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCafwnpGYCmC-gO5y9zGIhew — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/harpinonrugby/message


Nigel Owens Gives His Expert Take On Raynal’s Hugely Controversial Call | Balls.ie – Colman Stanley

Eddie Butler was the voice of Welsh rugby and the game will never quite sound the same without him – Wales Online –  Mark Orders

Munster start URC campaign with defeat in Cardiff (irishexaminer.com) – Matt Lloyd

Dan McFarland proud as ‘patient’ Ulster rack up five tries against Connacht to kick off URC season in dominant fashion – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk – Jonathan Bradley

Siya: We got the win, no matter what (sarugbymag.co.za) – SARugbyMag


Richard Mifsud Congrats @ZebreParma they were v/good value for the score line from a @leinsterrugby pov very poor D esp in midfield lacking cohesion kicks loose giving away too many metres Plenty for the coaches to review BPW w/much to improve #ZEBvLEI @URCOfficial

Tom Coleman From Leinster pov tackling has been  very substandard means defending has been chaotic with very little cohesion. Worried about lack of urgency from our chasers from kicks. Just giving free 20 to 30m to their back 3. Lots to work on. Not a good performance #ZEBvLEI

Andy McGeady Fair play Zebre. Leinster very, very, very, very lucky to hold on for that win. Very very very very very very very very very lucky. #ZEBvLEI

The 2nd Row Zebre put some great attack together showed real intent & imagination, tonnes of fight, lots of heart 2 bonus points for them out of that game is a huge result could’ve been more if their patience & accuracy was 5/10% better, esp in that final 10 minutes

Miriam Collins Phew, thankfully we held on at the end and maybe, just maybe that result will stand to us later in the season. Would much prefer a scare at this part of the season than at the business end.

Derek McGee Gotta say, that was poor. Yes, early season rust is always a consideration but there were some lads out there who looked like they’d never met each other before today. None of the backs covered themselves in glory but in particular, the five men behind the half backs will be dreading Monday’s video session. “Turnstile” tackling, and that was only when they actually made contact. A hell of a lot to work on there. On the forwards, okay at best. You could count the good performances on one hand (if you have particularly tiny Trump hands): Rhys did what Rhys does & was excellent during his time on the field, Ronan Kelleher was solid, as was Ross Molony & what we saw from Jason Jenkins was very encouraging. The scrum was dominant until the second half changes & fairly solid thereafter, so there is that. Have to give Zebre their due though, they were as good as I’ve ever seen them & pretty much all of their tries were very high quality. If their outhalf had his radar on, this might have been One Of Those Days. A tiny silver lining is that this should serve as a wake-up call good & early in the season: We’ve seen before how coasting through until May can bite us in the rear, come the business end of the season, so chalk this one down as a tough lesson on Day One.

Chris McDonnell Penny wins a turnover in a great position, Mcgrath kicks the ball straight back to them. Byrne at 10 is just a mistake. Leo needs to learn from his mistakes

some final harpin’ points from the weekend


So….in case you hadn’t noticed, the theme here at Harpin Manor this season has been “re-imagining”.  The logo, the designs, the bells, the whistles, even the domain name has been tinkered with ahead of the new campaign.

Yet the most important change has been to the centrepiece of our content production.  For the past 14 seasons, the main focus has been the “match writeup” where I scribbled around 2000 words on the latest Leinster & Ireland outing every week.  Now the work I do for that is being switched from written word to spoken and for the foreseeable future it will be our “main podcast”, recorded and published on Sunday evening, that serves to wrap up the action from the weekend on these pages.

I’ve really enjoyed the new challenges since we began back on August 21, producing more pods, publishing video clips on YouTube and Tik Tok to help promote them, and I reckon this week’s wrap on Zebre v Leinster, with the brilliant help and preparation of Messrs Coleman & Mifsud I might add, is very close to the way I want it and I’m very excited about the weeks ahead both from  Leinster-rugby-watching and a Harpin’-content-producing perspectives.

Here’s the thing though…I really, really do like the writing.  So I’ve come up with this column, which I’m calling 80+, which I’m going to tack on to my post here on the site promoting each pod so I can harp on a host of egg-chasing stuff, some of it to do with the match in question, maybe some thoughts I forgot to bring up on the pod, but also with a wider scope as well.

So that’s what I plan the 80+ column to be, a series of headings on different things that have been on my mind lately.  I’ve probably given enough words to explain what the column is, and now it’s time to actually use it for what it’s intended!!!


One thing I forgot to ask the lads about in the pod was how they felt about Rhys Ruddock being named Player of the Match by Gordon D’Arcy in the RTÉ commentary box.  Obviously I love Rhys and his two tries went a long way to establishing enough of a lead for us to hold onto, but personally I thought it was in our second row where we needed the leadership and when Zebre first got within 6 points of us, IMO it was Ross Molony who really knuckled down and made the right call at the next attacking lineout to put us in a position to get that all-important fifth (and ultimately winning) try.  Yes, I know he dropped the restart at 21-0 that kickstarted Zebre’s fightback, but those catches aren’t all down to the guy who is relying on lifters and I have to say overall I’m excited for what this Molony/Jenkins axis can do for us this season, especially in this opening 7-round block of URC matches.

Of course with the final score so close there was always the option to go for a Zebre player and I consulted the lads from the pod via WhatsApp and they agree that while Molony was a choice, the likes of Eden, Gesi and Pelsner from the home side were also in the frame.


I was delighted when Rich brought up the try bonus point issue on the pod because it’s something I’ve been harpin’ on for a while.  As delighted as I was with Leinster’s maximum-point haul on Saturday, when I take the blue googles off I have to ask if we really deserved one?  Four tries in the first half is impressive yes, but when you go on to concede a further three down the other end to shrink your lead from 21 down to just 4, I’m not so sure it can be justified.

The way the system works in the Top😺🐴 is that you must score 3 more tries than your opponent which means racking up four tries in a first half isn’t near enough for a BP, you also have to make sure you defend your line right to the 80th minute.  It also means the vast majority of losing teams won’t be able to earn one.  That may be harsh on Zebre but don’t forget, they also conceded five tries!

Here’s a link to the TikTok we did of what Rich said on the pod


It’s just my new way of writing the Top14.  Because it’s French, they don’t say “fourteen”, they say “quatorze” so I thought this might get more people saying it at least a bit closer to what it is.  My original idea was to make it all graphic by using the cartoon character Top Cat along with a horse but then I realised just how dated a reference that is so best not broadcast my age when I can avoid it!


Our podcast ended up being over an hour so some of it ended up on the “cutting room floor”, although I did hold on to this clip which was my thoughts on Mathieu Reynal’s decision to give a free kick against the Wallabies’ Bernard Foley at a critical stage of the Bledisloe Cup clash during the week.


In the pod I mentioned our Harpin’ Prediction League, you’ll be hearing a lot about it over the course of the URC campaign.  The idea is not so much to finish first (although if you keep tabs on the standings you might be interested in what the league leaders are predicting when it comes to our preview shows) rather to not finish last, for which the punishment is to have to wear The Jersey Of Doom, and since I got the questionable honour last season, it was down to me.  I tried to wear it in the preview pod but half of it clashed with the green screen so here you see the one and only time I will post a shot of me wearing it on a Harpin platform, ever.  A bet is a bet, after all. 

It’s no more Mr Nice Guy when it comes to this season’s league, however…I’m gunning for first now!!! As you can see by the standings after round one I’m not off to a bad start although Tom is the guy to beat.


During the week we’re planning a bonus pod where I’ll be finding out all about the Rugby Europe Super Cup and it’s eight clubs, then I’ll be reviewing the last match involving our European opposition Racing 92 as well as Friday’s visitors to the RDS Benetton, keep an eye on TikTok for content there.

Next it will be all eyes on the RDS home opener, with the team announced at lunchtime on Thursday, then our video preview, the usual harpin’ from kickoff to the final whistle and finally our wrap up show on Sunday evening followed by the next 80+ column on the Monday.

Enough to be getting on with I reckon!!! In the meantime, be sure to enjoy your rugby wherever you are.  JLP

Harpin match wraps are brought to you by THE IRISH RUGBY STORE

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