Strauss: We've had wake-up call
Hooker says defeat to Ospreys has sharpened Leinster's focus
LEINSTER'S Richardt Strauss is not one to look for someone else to blame when he can look in the mirror.
The Ospreys brought Leinster's 20-match unbeaten streak to a shuddering halt in the PRO12 League at The RDS last week. The soon-to-be-Ireland qualified hooker deals in reasons not excuses.
"It is unfortunate that, after the good run we had, it ended up last Friday. We're very disappointed. What can you say? We didn't perform well and probably deserved it," he said.
"We were unfortunate with two tightheads going off and then Jack (McGrath) getting thrown into the deep end. Our scrum didn't function well.
"We didn't feel comfortable. They just stayed on us and put us under pressure and that was the difference at the end of it," he added, just ahead of what was sure to be an ear-burning video review by coach Joe Schmidt yesterday afternoon.
"It is more important that we get the stuff we are trying to do, get that right. Obviously, it is good to get a couple of wins under the belt.
"We also know maybe that was a good wake-up call for just to remind us that we have to work hard if we want to get anything. The Ospreys were good preparation for us for the Cardiff game (a week tomorrow). They play very similar. They are going to try to target our rucks. Maybe we have learned a lesson and, hopefully, we can rectify that this weekend (against Munster)," he said, as ticket sales for the Heineken Cup quarter-final with Cardiff passed the 48,000 mark.
It will be first away to second at Thomond Park tomorrow evening. Munster will be looking to reduce the eight-point distance to Leinster and maintain or stretch their three-point lead over the Ospreys in pursuit of a home semi-final.
Thankfully, Ireland internationals Gordon D'Arcy, Cian Healy, Jamie Heaslip, Rob Kearney, Sean O'Brien, Eoin Reddan, Mike Ross and Jonathan Sexton are back.
"It is tough, tough as they get. There is always passion in those games. They are really enjoyable games. Everybody gets into it. It is going to be a tough battle," said Strauss.
Of course, the hot topic in Irish rugby is the lack of indigenous props and the overstocking of overseas players by the provinces. For instance, Munster's first choice prop pair are Springboks BJ Botha and Wian du Preez.
"Knowing BJ from South Africa, he really prides himself on the scrum. Wian is playing with him. They are two big men, two strong scrummagers.
"It is something we are going to have to deal with. They gave us a lesson at the Aviva. Maybe, we can get one back on them."
For that to happen, Strauss will need to have Healy on one side and one of his injured tightheads, Ross (neck), Nathan White (face) or Jamie Hagan (ribs), on the other.