Was that Heineken Cup semi-final last year a glitch from an over-confident team or the first sign that a great team was in decline and that Leinster had overtaken them. The evidence of this week's matches suggests that the latter is true. Leinster, without their brave new outhalf, were sensationally good. They have added a formidable pack to their brilliant backs. Elsom and Jennings were not missed as the backrow of Heaslip, McLaughlin and O'Brien ran amok. Nacewa was behind a lot of the creativity, aided by D'Arcy and Horgan - O'Driscoll didn't need to perform his normal miracles. I can't see them losing to anyone except perhaps Perpignan.
Munster on the other hand were defensively lax and stolid in attack. The pack did well, especially Leamy and Quinlan but the backs could do nothing with all the possession. Howlett missed tackles, Mafi ran into trouble, Warwick was undistinguished. It all looked stale and flat. Only that O'Gara found his kicking boots they would have lost to an admittedly very impressive Perpignan side. I think their glory days are over for a while.