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Thursday 14 December 2017

Reddan not one to make excuses

Scrum-half hoping to bring positivity from Ireland's November Series into the Blue shirt

eoin reddan
eoin reddan

This week is about making sure we gel as a team and make sure that we stay disciplined with all that buzz and reaction. We just want to put ourselves in a position where we can deliver.

There isn't a straighter-shooter at Leinster than Eoin Reddan.

You ask him a question. You get an answer to that question.

Was last week against Treviso all that bad?

"Yeah, well, we didn't play very well. We're very performance-oriented," he said.

"We conceded four tries against a team that had probably scored four in total in the season to date.

"So, obviously, we weren't happy defensively. It's something we'll look to right. We've worked on it and will look to put it right."

Do the players feel responsible for your coach having to come out and explain a sub-standard performance like that?

"If you're asking me do I feel for the coach? Yeah, of course," he said.

"Obviously you want to put your best foot forward for everyone, for Matt (O'Connor) as well.

"We know Matt's a big boy and can look after himself.

"We're probably more worried about putting a big performance in this week and really focusing on that.

"Not really getting too distracted with what people might have to answer to when they come in front of the media.

"I understand where that (question) is coming from on an emotional level.

"But, I suppose we've got too much to be worried about to be getting involved in that. We know he will have us ready for it and the best way we can help him is by training well all week and putting in a big performance on the night.

"The best way we can support him is show that by playing well."

It all comes back to personal responsibility. Everyone has a role to play whether player or coach.

"I think, for us, I don't think anyone is really worrying about what anyone else is doing. You're always looking at yourself," he responded.

"So if you've played a game and you've lost, to be perfectly honest, you're losing sleep that night.

"You're not worried about this guy has to do this or he didn't make me do this or that. You're looking at your own game and thinking how you can make it better."

The natural knock-on effect there is that as individuals adapt and improve, the big picture alters and becomes clearer too. At least, it should do.

The return of Ireland's internationals to the environment will make for an immediate lift in standards with Ian Madigan back in the starting line-up and Rhys Ruddock and Gordon D'Arcy

REACTION

"I think it's probably a mix of that positivity and probably looking for a bit of a reaction from themselves after last week.

"You know, it's a mixture of everything because everyone is coming from different places," said Reddan.

Therein lies Leinster's biggest problem. The combination of long-term injuries to key personnel, the IRFU Player Welfare Programme and Ireland commitments has coach O'Connor's hands tied behind his back at times.

Left wing Dave Kearney looked sharp in Treviso.

Flanker Jordi Murphy will have to improve quickly from his lay-off in a high-energy and high-aggression position.

"This week is about making sure we gel as a team and make sure that we stay disciplined with all that buzz and reaction.

"We just really want to put ourselves in a position where we can deliver and the physicality of our game will come through because of that increased intensity from probably two different places.

"You need to make sure that discipline is good so it really comes through and we get a good effect from it," added Reddan.

Perhaps, it is just as well that The Ospreys, the Guinness PRO12 leaders are in town. There is nothing to concentrate the mind like a hanging on home soil.

There are those who point to one or two results and performance returns as a sign of Leinster slipping as O'Connor moves into the meat of his second season.

"Sometimes we haven't played well. We've been off the mark with our basic skills and we've lost games because of it," accepted Reddan. "We've had two good results, a better performance here against Wasps and a good result in Castres.

"I don't want to get sucked into talking about results earlier in the year and how far we should be along.

"The point is we're here now. We want to put in a good performance and, hopefully we will."

For all the disquiet, Leinster are two-from-two in Europe and just six points off the summit jointly occupied by The Ospreys and Ulster in the PRO12.

There are worse places to be. This is just the territory that comes with winning trophies on a regular basis. And Reddan has won his share of silverware between Wasps and Leinster.

"It could be nicer talking to you (media) next week," he said.

"Hopefully, we've got to put in a big performance and see what happens."

The Ospreys need to hold their form. Leinster need to find it. The scene is set.

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