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Wednesday 22 August 2018

'Massive test' for Jennings

Blues under no illusions about Sarries

The vanishing of Brendan Venter from Saracens back to South Africa has certainly left the world of rugby union far less interesting, controversial and downright confusing for his loss.

The 1995 World Cup winner has been the architect of a South African-loaded powerhouse English club that has captivated the attention of the media for Venter's no-holds-barred comments and the supporters for their progress to stand second in the Aviva Premiership.

One of Venter's many outbursts this season was communicated in the aftermath of Leinster's Heineken Cup win at Wembley Stadium in October when he claimed "the game of rugby is going to die" because of the inconsistency of the referees.

"They seemed pretty frustrated and annoyed after the game. I don't know what he was talking about -- 'they're killing the game'. If you do that, you're going to get penalised," said Leinster flanker Shane Jennings, looking back on that 25-23 win for the Blues.

"We've found out that you just have to interpret it the way the ref is playing it on the day. We did well (at Wembley).

"Generally speaking, we were quite combative in the rucks. They've got a good backrow who can slow up ball as well. Whatever backrow they put out, they're going to be strong."

Coach Joe Schmidt is not best pleased with the indifferent form Leinster showed against Connacht and the Ospreys in their last two wins in the Magners League. There are standards to be maintained.

"He pointed out things he wanted us to improve on," said Jennings. "He hit the nail on the head.

"If we can do that, it will go a long way to improving us at the weekend.



Tight

"None of the players were too happy over the last two weekends.

"It is good, from our point of view, that we felt we hadn't played well and still came away with a bonus-point win and a win. We've put ourselves in a good position in the league.

"Everyone always says you learn a lot from losing. You also learn a lot when you win those tight games.

"And it is a nicer place to be. Against Connacht, we weren't that good. Against the Ospreys, we weren't good at all.

"If we play like we did against the Ospreys, we're not going to come out the right side of it. That is not going to be good for anyone around here."

There is nothing short of inter-national rugby to concentrate the minds of players like an appearance in the European Cup.

"I think people do naturally lift their intensity, lift their sharpness in training and concentration when it comes into a Heineken Cup week," added Jennings. "First, we've got to play against a very good Saracens team. We're in for a massive, massive test."

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