Leinster boss Joe Schmidt’s gave his players the weekend off before today’s training session in Belfield to digest Friday’s comprehensive derby defeat to Connacht at the Sportsgrounds in Galway.
In the words of Schmidt, Leinster were “out-passioned” by an impressive Connacht side. Schmidt pointed to a “disjointed week” in terms of preparation as a factor in the gaping differences in the scoreline. Leinster weren’t helped either by the early departure of Quinn Roux, Rob Kearney and Gordon D’Arcy.
Schimdt was critical of the lack of focus of his troops, “tries quite often came from individual errors.”
“Some of it was inexperience and some of it was just a lack of real energy and effort which was probably more disappointing.”
The mood in the dressing room was similarly disappointed as Mike Ross conceded that Leinster hadn’t shown “the requisite amount of fronting-up that you need down there.” Ross was only introduced shortly after half time as were other experienced campaigners like Sean Cronin and Cian Healy but they could do little to turn the Western tide.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Connacht by saying we played crap, I mean we did, but Connacht made us play that way,” said Ross.
The rise of Connacht and Ulster to challenge the traditional powers of Leinster and Munster has grown rapidly in the last two to three years which is great for Irish rugby, but not so great for Leinster and Munster fans on days like last Friday.
Leinster will be hoping the channel their disappointment into motivation to help them overcome Munster next week in the Aviva stadium.
“If you can’t get up for Munster, you shouldn’t really be playing rugby,” said Ross. “Both teams will be targeting this game so it should be pretty intense.”