Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Munster Ramble On, As Black Dog Catches Leinster

Remember that old rock bedtime story about how if you played Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon in sync with The Wizard of Oz, that it all made freaky sense, dude? Well, you could probably do the same with Munster's win in Llanelli the other night and the soundtrack to Led Zeppelin's reunion concert last night in London.

"Ah-aaaaaaa-ah, Ah-aaaaaaa-ah! We come from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow....Hammah of the Ggghodds""

Imagine those ear-bursting riffs and that heavy metal pack, the storms of rain and wind swirling as if from the darkest depths of Mordor itself.

I shudder to picture Anthony Foley barechested in skinny, cucumber-packing leather jeans, but the veteran number eight showed yet again that no-one thumps out a more infectious rhythm for his pack than he.

If ever there was a soundtrack to a team, or a particular performance, this is it: Page, Plant and co. would have been far better plugging amps effects pedals into the rickety Stradey Park than the comparably sedate O2 Arena.

Not that the godfathers of heavy metal and Irish rugby's monsters of rock are always so suitably in tune. On occasion, like in the loss to Leinster a few weeks ago, Munster can veer into prog rock excess: the big riffs are there, but it just doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

Leinster also played on Friday night, running through a set that had all the hits at the start but tailed off somewhat in a second half full of stuff from that cocaine-fuelled self-indulgent period they went through a few years ago.

They certainly have beefed up the rhythm section though: no more the tinny, boyband jangle of their erstwhile pack; the current lineup rocks hard, and in Jamie Heaslip has a virtuoso, Jack White-type multi-instrumentalist.

But there is still the problem of creative differences elsewhere. With the low-key, Bill Wyman presence of Chris Whitaker missing from scrum-half, the psychedelic excesses of Felipe Contepomi are utterly unchecked. For each sweet, chiming melody he produces, there is a perplexing, Japanese industrial funk-influenced solo project which, sadly, none of his baffled teammates know how to play along with.

For Leinster, despite the encouraging new direction, the song, too often, remains the same.


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11:49 a.m.  

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