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Sunday 4 December 2016

Matt O'Connor looking for a Matt finish to PRO12 League

Matt O'Connor
Matt O'Connor

The PRO12 League has been squeezed for publicity by the condensed nature of The Champions Cup, all in the name of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The profile of Leinster means their failure to produce has attracted all kinds of negative vibes. It is time to change the record. For the better.

There was a time, not so long ago, when Leinster's next generation were blooded at unfashionable, unappealing Rodney Parade, the humble home to The Dragons.

Now, coach Matt O'Connor will be sorely tempted to take all, or most, of his available internationals to what has become a seminal fixture on the calendar.

"We've got to win. That's the reality," said O'Connor.

Leinster are faltering in fifth, four points off The Ospreys in fourth, six behind Munster and Ulster, eight off leaders Glasgow with just four rounds left for play.

important

"We need to beat Dragons. We need to stay alive in the League. That's our bread and butter. That's really important for us.

"We've got to make sure we front up whoever plays in Wales next Sunday."

The years of switching from club to country and back mean Leinster's front-liners are not in unfamiliar territory.

"With the elite guy, the guys who have been around our environment for a long time, they're really quick learners.

"They adapt and pick up the stuff and drive it forward.

"We've got some massive games. That brings out the character. That speeds up the learning and everything that goes with it."

PRO12 LEAGUE FIXTURES

1. GLASGOW: v Cardiff (h); v Connacht (a); v The Ospreys (a); v Ulster (h).

2. ULSTER: v Connacht (a); v Leinster (h); v Munster (h); v Glasgow (a).

3. MUNSTER: v Edinburgh (a); v Treviso (h); v Ulster (a); v The Dragons (h).

4. THE OSPREYS: v Treviso (a); v Cardiff (a); v Glasgow (h); v Connacht (a).

5. LEINSTER: v The Dragons (a); v Ulster (a); v Treviso (h); v Edinburgh (a).

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