THERE HAVE BEEN better Monday mornings in Leinster’s UCD headquarters.
As the players and coaching staff returned to work after the weekend’s miserable trip to Belfast, the inquiry into what went horribly wrong against Ulster began in earnest.
Leo Cullen’s charges were second best in every department and came out the wrong side of a 30-6 scoreline, which left the visitors with plenty to consider on their return journey.
That said, the result doesn’t derail the eastern province’s pursuit of a home semi-final, unless they inconceivably slip-up at home to Treviso on Saturday.
While this morning was spent going back over the match tape from Ravenhill, Leinster looked to put that result to one side and channel their frustrations into preparing for the final game of the regular season.
Cullen’s charges enjoyed a run out at a sun-kissed RDS for an open training session in-front of hundreds of season ticket holders – but facing supporters after the weekend’s result was easier said than done.
Speaking to the media this afternoon, Jack McGrath admitted Leinster’s performance was an ‘embarrassment’ from a team brimming with international quality.
“It’s your job and you’ve a lot of pride playing for Leinster,” he said. “It’s not just you you’re representing. You’re representing friends, family and fans so to go up to Belfast and get a result like that just isn’t good enough for the quality of team that we are and the quality of players that are there.
“It’s just an embarrassment and it’s not a nice play to be but you just have to take it on the chin and get on with it, it’s just one of those things. That’s rugby.
“You come back and Saturday night and Sunday night you’re not sleeping. Today you’re embarrassed coming in, it’s just not a great place to be. It’s not a great thing to have happened to us this late in the season but it doesn’t take us out of us completely and it could be a blessing in disguise.”
Leinster were blown away by their northern neighbours and were accused by some observers of showing little or no heart and desire in an interpro clash.
Both Johnny Sexton and McGrath emphatically dispelled the notion that Connacht’s defeat to Treviso on Friday changed the Leinster player’s mindset going north – but the prop does admit they let themselves down.
“I think we let ourselves down a lot,” McGrath, who is nominated for the IRUPA Player of the Year award, continued.
“There’s a bunch of quality players in there who try hard every week and try and get things right and sometimes it doesn’t click and in those tight games when it doesn’t click, it goes pretty badly and when it’s tight and it’s pretty glaringly obvious when it doesn’t go right.
“It starts today, it’s about ourselves and we can’t be worrying about other results and what we need to get to end up wherever.
“We just need to focus on the performance at the weekend because it is there it just has to be brought out of us.
“Treviso are going to come here with their tails up as they’re hanging onto that Champions Cup spot. We have to respect that and do our job.”
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