YESTERDAY MORNING’S TEAM meeting called for a combination of fire and ice to take Leinster past their Heineken Cup home defeat to Northampton.
In one meeting; the players, the driving force behind so much of the strong culture within Leinster, asking better of each other.
In another; Matt O’Connor remaining calm and reminding the same group that they’re not such a bad bunch after all.
If they sound like mixed messages, they shouldn’t. Leinster showed the near peak of their powers at Franklin’s Gardens, but now seem aware that they took an eye off the ball in front of their home crowd a week later.
“Drico was saying we probably didn’t earn the right to go wide,” says Luke Fitzgerald of yesterday’s meeting to dissect the 9- 18 defeat to Northampton Saints.
“Sometimes you have to go through teams and you have to take them on combatively to earn that right to go outside them. We probably didn’t do that as much as we’d like, but I still think a lot of our moves gave options to go up the middle, we just didn’t execute them very well.
“We’ve got to look at ourselves as a team and get those little things right.”
The 26-year-old is enjoying a welcome spell in the first team after a nightmare couple of years where injury was never far away. Though plenty of the personnel will change from the side who played in the Heineken Cup, it appears Fitzgerald’s run will continue into Friday’s Pro12 trip to Edinburgh.
The 2009 Lion needs no encouragement to recite off Edinburgh’s recent Pro12 record of three wins in four, but with Leinster top of their Heineken Cup pool and second in the Pro12, he retains a confidence that his side will deliver a performance now that they’ve been brought back down to earth.
“There are definitely things to work on, but we don’t have to reinvent the wheel here. I just think we have to focus on the basics and get those right. Hopefully we’ll do that this weekend in what has been a tough place for us.”
He added: “Now is especially not the time to panic. We showed the week before what we’re capable of so we just need to get back to those basics.
“At times like this you can panic and change everything you’re doing, I think it’s very important that you don’t do that.”