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Saturday 3 December 2016

​Sexton: It is all our fault

Leinster have lost on 11 occasions between the PRO12 and Europe

Jonathan Sexton
Jonathan Sexton

Jonathan Sexton takes the personal view that Leinster win together and lose together.

The despondency over the unacceptable defeat to Ulster and the failure in Europe rests across the shoulders of all when it comes to who to point the finger at.

"It's obviously got to be everyone, hasn't it?" he said.

"It's got to be everyone in the environment, from the CEO right down to whoever is at the bottom.

"Everyone's got to take responsibility. Everyone's got to look at themselves and see if what they've done over the last few months has been good enough.

"Then, you start to get answers from that."

The decision to sack Matt O'Connor and turn the keys to the kingdom over to Leo Cullen placed a heavy burden of responsibility on a coach one year into the specialist role of handling the forwards, never mind taking charge of the province.

"Leo has come in and done a great job but, at times, he's been let down by the players or what we are doing on a day-to-day basis."

When Sexton left Leinster for Racing 92, he walked into a club in need of a new identity. Those two years of graft put in place the groundwork that has enabled Dan Carter to lead the Paris club to The Champions Cup final for the first time.

On his return, he found Leinster in a state of transition as much off the field as on it with an inexperienced coaching ticket.

The loss to Ulster was the 11th of the season.

"Obviously, we struggled in Europe and our league results have been pretty good, bar the weekend, when we just weren't good enough," he said.

"What else can I say? There are lots of areas that I could talk about technically just basic skills where we let ourselves down.

"Unforced errors, that's individual responsibility.

"We were quite passive in defence.

"I don't know if it was guys coming back not having played in four weeks, or guys coming back from injury," he added.

"I'm not sure, but we have to find a solution pretty quick."

Sexton was willing to consider the possibility that standards have slipped since the golden era between 2009 and 2012.

"Yeah. It's hard to know. If everyone had a quick fix, it would be easy to fix.

"Yeah, maybe, we are just not preparing well enough."

There is light at the end of a dark tunnel.

"We're still one game away from a semi-final and, then, you are one game away from a final and you can try and produce a big performance.

"But it's not going to get over the fact that we need to get a hell of a lot better to get back where we want to be which is at the top of Europe.

"I think we can still get there but, it's going to be a hell of a lot of work to do that."

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