Wednesday 19 September 2018

Eoin Reddan: We have to live with Cup fallout

Leinster could need seven points from last two matches to be sure of qualification for Champions Cup

Eoin Reddan
Eoin Reddan
Ben T'eo and Gordon D'Arcy

Eoin Reddan had to reach back into the vault of his memory bank to recall the last season there wasn't a trophy on the line at this time of the season.

"It's the second time since 2005," he recalled.

"I was just thinking about it the other day. It's odd when you step back and look at it.

"But, when you're in it, this game is very important, in some ways it's more important," he said.

More important than a Heineken Cup final? No way.

More important than a PRO12 League final? Maybe, just maybe.

The significance of failing to qualify for the Champions Cup would be incalculable, financially, psychologically, reputationally .

"Some games you're playing in are important because of the game itself.

"Some games you live with the consequences - actually live them," imparted Reddan.

"You win or lose a final and that's it. It's done and dusted.

"You live with your own haunted memories of it if you lose."

Ben T'eo and Gordon D'Arcy

Ben T'eo and Gordon D'Arcy

Leinster need seven points from their last two matches to guarantee their involvement at the high table of European rugby next season.

"You lose a game like this week and the week after and you actually live the consequences of it. You've to live them.

"It's about taking that on board. It's about making it mean something and being able to narrow that big focus down into something small.

"For us, it's no different this week. It's a big picture, big consequences, but it comes back to doing something very small under pressure right and keeping the team going forward."

The rapid emotional climb-down from coming within touching distance of a fourth Heineken/Champions Cup final to mere qualification for the competition must be difficult to reconcile.

"The first part of it is we have to accept where we're at," he shared.

"We're fifth because obviously we're the fifth best team so far in the league, so the opportunity is to stay fifth.

"We've had to look at that and make sure we're aware of what the potential outcomes are, and then you narrow it back down."

The first part of this two-step programme is to zero in on Benetton Treviso at The RDS on Friday night.

"The best way you do that is by realising they're a strong team," he said.

"They've a lot of internationals playing and neither team has had brilliant results recently.

"When that happens, it's hard to judge form and where we're going to be, so I think we're going to have to be pretty good at the weekend."

It is not as though Treviso will be here to roll over and have their tummies tickled.

They are involved in a serious domestic squabble with Zebre for the single Italian place on offer in the Champions Cup. They hold a three-point edge in that domestic argument.

"They're in a similar scenario, they've got two games left. They're under pressure for Europe as well and they're a proud bunch of lads, so I think that kind of narrows the focus.

"It's just trying to work out where we can make a few improvements and, hopefully, those improvements make a big difference."

Leinster won't want Treviso to become the handful they turned into for an unconvincing Munster in the last round.

"It just comes down to two games and, all of a sudden, it's laid bare for everyone now," he warned.

"This is what needs to be done and it's kind of brought a different dynamic.

"The other two teams, Llanelli and Edinburgh, are playing teams this week that don't really have anything to play for, which changes things."

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