Monday 21 January 2019

Leinster look to bounce back after lifeless opener


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WHERE Leinster have made a habit out of being rusty on day one, they have been in rude health on day two, last starting out with a pair of duck eggs in 2003/2004.

They have gone 19 straight without loss in Simmonscourt and have not bowed down to The Scarlets at home since October 2007. All the statistics point to a hometown decision.

What's more, Leinster coach Matt O'Connor confirmed that all fit Ireland internationals are free of the Player Welfare Programme, boosting his resources from the disappointment in Glasgow.

"It's always frustrating when you've got quality guys sitting on the sidelines," he said.

"When you have four or five injuries on top of it that creates a strain you prefer not to have. They're the cards you're dealt and you've got to play them as best you can".

All of this will guarantee nothing against The Scarlets as they embrace life after Simon Easterby with an approach that is in keeping with their free-flowing ethos.

"They play with an enormous intent to attack," pointed out O'Connor.

"From that end, we'll have to make sure that we're really accurate on both sides of the ball because they scored some fantastic tries (against Ulster) last weekend".


In reality, Leinster will be more concerned with what they have to do, how they can turn around a lifeless opening round output that was short of what was needed in all areas of the game.

It all starts with acceptable levels of attitude, commitment and discipline. These basics will have to be spot-on against a Welsh club that doesn't need any encouragement to counter from deep.

"They off-load the ball a lot. They try to score tries which is fantastic for the League and fantastic for the spectator," said O'Connor.

"But, we're going to have to make sure we are very good in relation to our defence and that we don't turnover the ball because in any unstructured situations they're incredibly dangerous."

From there, Leinster can build into their game which all stems from the impact of the forward pack where Jamie Heaslip will be a central figure.

Verdict: Leinster.

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