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Wednesday 16 October 2019

Leinster look to put 'em under pressure on final day

CHALLENGE: Leinster backs coach Felipe ContepomI. Photo: SPORTSFILE
CHALLENGE: Leinster backs coach Felipe ContepomI. Photo: SPORTSFILE

Felipe Contepomi knows Leinster will have to be at their best to take home the PRO14 League trophy from Celtic Park on Saturday evening (KO6.30, Eirsport 1).

This is a two-sided assignment in which they will have to impose their will on Glasgow Warriors with the ball and without it.

It may even mean tempering their natural inclination for attacking rugby.

"Leinster are well known for playing good, flowing rugby," said Contepomi.

"But I think we need to make sure that we have the proper balance of high-pressure rugby.

"These are finals, you know. It all goes up one level when you get into finals rugby

"It all starts in small little details of getting the set piece correct.

"Then, it is making sure we get into our shape on what we practice, the moving parts, and moving quickly off the ball, so that we get into spaces where we want to be and then we can attack.

"But there's a lot of other things to put in place first to be able to pass and play that flow rugby."

The sense is of Leinster looking to their forward pack to dictate the pace of the play, slowing it down and speeding it up when it best suits.

It is Glasgow's transition from defence into attack that can catch out the best of clubs.

The speed of ball into the wide channels is difficult to deal with when the likes of Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour are looking for daylight.

This is all based around the quick-thinking and accurate ball movement, initiated by half-backs Ali Price and Adam Hastings against Ulster in the PRO14 League semi-final last Friday.

They have even caused Saracens' much-vaunted 'Wolfpack' defence extreme discomfort in their three games in the Champions Cup this season.

"Yeah, they're a very, very good team and they can turn around situations in the blink of an eye," said Contepomi.

"They can turn defensive situations into attack with two, three passes."

Leinster have been here before against Glasgow and, on the back of bad experiences, have tended to take a practical approach.

It all started with Gregor Townsend's transformation of Glasgow, making the League final in 2014 and winning it in 2015.

Current coach Dave Rennie was convinced to swap the Chiefs of New Zealand for the Warriors two years ago to continue their path to progress.

"We'll have our strategy," said Contepomi.

"It's more about a whole performance and when you get into finals rugby or into a final, it's a sequence of small moments.

"Every final is different and every game is also different.

"You need to make sure you get those things right - set-pieces, defence - and when the chances come, make sure we take them."

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