herald

Friday 18 August 2017

Blues 'lucky' with coaches they have

When Leinster show weakness or inconsistency, the pressure comes hot and heavy on the captain and the head coach.

While Jamie Heaslip can react to what he sees and hear with how he plays, coach Matt O'Connor has to rely on his players to do the gaming for him. "Matt is an excellent coach, probably one of the most innovative coaches that I have played for," said Heaslip, in defence of his boss.

"He presents good pictures and good ideas for the type of game we want to play and you back that up with Leo (Cullen), Marco (Caputo) and Richie (Murphy) bringing their specialty to it. I think we're very lucky with the coaches that we have."

The negative outcome of building a winning culture is that it brings expectation, no matter the circumstances like Leinster's lengthy injury list.

"In terms of pressure, the best way to describe it is as 'noise'," he said.

"It is hard to ignore it. You will pick it up somewhere. You will hear whatever is said, be it good or bad.

Noise

"The best way to address it is to treat it as noise and to focus in like a really good professional and what you can do and just do your job better."

Leinster will have to cut down on the mistakes and what coach O'Connor called the "soft tries" they handed to Wasps ahead of next Sunday's visit to Castres Olympique.

Leinster hold a slender lead over Harlequins at the head of Pool 2 due to their superior try-count, three-against-one.

O'Connor considers Rob Kearney and Mike Ross as strong chances to turn out in the south of France with Luke Fitzgerald also in the running for game time.

There is a long way to go. Wasps coach Dai Young summed it up: "We've lost the battle but we haven't lost the war," he said.

"If we are sitting at the end of next week with one win (against Harlequins) and one bonus-point, we're still in there fighting and we've still got a chance.

"There's a lot of rugby to be played, isn't there? They've got to come to us, haven't they?"

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