The weather last weekend made for poor playing standards across a range of sports - and that was in the games that managed to go ahead.
Tactics have to change in that weather. It’s the same as playing into a wind, you can’t just continue with the same game plan and think that you’re going to win the game.
There are some subtle changes playing into the wind like having to hold on to the ball for long periods and finding a way to take the pace out of the game to eliminate as much scoring from the opposition as possible.
Passing is easier when playing into the wind because the ball blows back into the path of the player you are passing to. With the wind at your back passes can drift forward putting fellas off their line of running but playing with a wind in general is quite difficult.
It wasn’t only the wind that was difficult last weekend in the wake of Storm Dennis.
Rain became torrential at times over the weekend.
Munster were the ones that could get away with it more than others because they played on the 4G surface in Musgrave Park but it was a completely different story in the RDS.
It was similar to my own experience over the weekend above in Ballynahinch with Cork Con where the wind was howling and the pitch was only barely playable after a torrential downpour half way through the warm-up.
From there you know it’s not going to be the game of rugby that our players had been looking forward to after a long trip away.
It developed into a game where any form of win is enough to go home with and put on the back burner until these conditions come around again.
It isn’t comparable to other games so there’s no point in over-analysing it afterwards.
Passing and offloading is an issue in those conditions, although teams with a higher skill level will still manage to throw an extra pass and make life slightly more difficult for the defence which should be on top in weather like we saw in the RDS last Saturday.
It is very unlikely that the attacking team will be able to throw more than two or three passes so the defence can leave a man spare on the edge of the line and focus on winning the gain line in the middle of the pitch and around the ruck.
In saying that, the team that can move the opposition around a small bit more and force them to make mistakes in their defensive decisions due to the variety of the attack should come out on top, once they look after the ball in the process.
It was evident in Michael Bent's try after a sweep pass out the back of the forward pod and a fantastic line by Max Deegan that Leinster were able to manage the conditions better than their visitors, even with the highly experienced Ruan Pienaar in the driving seat for the Cheetahs.
Leinster still had to be creative in terms of how they played the game. Short, quick lineouts to the prop at the front were used by Kelleher because throwing into a full lineout in a storm like that is a lottery.
The opposition know you can only hit the 2 or 4 jumper with any degree of confidence and can mark those pods a lot easier.
Possession and territory are crucial in any game but when it is so hard to play into a wind with a slippery ball it is important to play the game away from your own half.
Low kicks can work in your favour because the ball will slide into touch that bit easier but then you could be turning the ball over too easily if the opposition can exit well with the wind at their backs.
You’ll see that kick selection becomes a bit different. In fairness to Frawley, he managed the conditions superbly from the start for Leinster.
His kick selection was different in certain areas of the pitch. Even with the wind at your back at this level you can’t just kick the ball long and hope for the best.
The ball will skid and be blown over the dead ball line which allows the team playing into the nasty conditions to take the sting out of the game for another couple of minutes.
Angled, low-driving kicks are much better so the wind can’t take the ball too far down the pitch and the slippery surface can eke out more yards when you are trying to beat the full back to the corner.
Even the re-starts end up being low driving kicks because the ball won’t bounce off the surface to get a good connection and if you connect too well with the wind at your back you could be leaving the opposition off the hook with a scrum back on the half way line.
Your attack becomes very difficult when playing in such wet conditions. The Cheetahs wasted some possession because they tried to throw offloads that become substantially more difficult when the ball is so wet.
When running a line off the ball player you need to adjust your timing to allow for a slight fumble or a readjustment of the ball before a pass is thrown because the slippery ball is hard to manage.
Even at international standard we saw that it was easier to play without the ball at times, evident by the amount of kicking done in the Scotland vs England match two weeks ago.
Finding the balance between retaining possession and transferring the pressure to the other team with a kicking game can often be the winning or losing of the match.
You’d much prefer to see these games go ahead than to have cancellations and postponements. However, as a supporter you have to get interested in the tactics of rugby that are played in a storm to fully enjoy and appreciate the skill required.
You have to understand that the players' ability is diminished somewhat and also that it can be a miserable place to be, especially as a back line. I didn’t envy anyone that had to play rugby over the weekend. I was standing in a sheltered dugout in plenty of rain gear in Co. Down on Saturday so I wasn’t too bad.
You’d have to have some sympathy for players that are bouncing around, shaking their hands, doing extra runs when there’s an injury in an attempt to keep some blood flowing throughout their body.
Luckily for us we came away with a win so the weekend was worth it, the same as it was for Leinster, Munster and Connacht in the Pro14.