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Dublin: 5 °C Sunday 15 December, 2019

'We got away with it but sometimes you just have to grind out wins'

Leinster were made to work by Ospreys yesterday for their third straight victory.

Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

WORCESTER-BOUND BEN Te’o provided a reminder, if one was required, of what Leinster will miss next season with a man-of-the-match performance against Ospreys yesterday afternoon.

The centre was the standout performer in the province’s 19-16 victory at the RDS, a result which sees them move back to within touching distance of Pro12 leaders Connacht.

Te’o was central to Leinster’s first-half dominance as his purposeful ball carrying and powerful running saw the hosts break the gain line on multiple occasions.

And he admitted the conditions were far more conducive to free-flowing rugby than previous weeks.

“The first-half was very enjoyable, it was nice and sunny and a dry ball,” he said. “It was a little bit windy, not too bad not as bad as the last few weeks. It was very enjoyable out there, can’t say I enjoyed the last month but that’s just the way it is.

“But we let them off the hook and we knew they were going to be desperate and they’re a tough opposition and they came back hard and jeez we just got away with that one.”

Fergus McFadden and Zane Kirchner with Olly Cracknell Fergus McFadden and Zane Kirchner tackle Olly Cracknell. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Leinster had assumed control of the game before half-time as Dan Leavy’s try and three Ian Madigan penalties had opened up a 13-point lead.

However, Ospreys rallied in the second-half and produced a spirited comeback to give Leo Cullen’s side a real scare – but Te’o insists hard-fought victories are crucial at this stage of the season.

“It was a bit patchy, we’ll have a week off now,” he continued. “There’s some sore bodies and there’s some guys who have to go back to the Irish camp and we’ll look at the video.

“Defensively we’ve been pretty solid this year and I think that was our best performance so a lot of improvement there.

“We just need to keep racking up the wins, Connacht are the leading the way there and we’re just chasing them and trying to stay in touch with that top two and wait for some of our big boys to get back and have a real crack at this competition.”

Leinster’s next assignment is a tough away trip to defending champions Glasgow in a fortnight’s time. Cullen’s charges now have a bit of time to recharge the batteries and take stock ahead of the run-in.

Their next two outings, including a trip west to Galway, are away from home and Te’o believes they just need to keep grinding out victories.

Ben Te'o and Jeff Hassler Te'o was superb for Leinster on Saturday. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“The away games are very tough, the last three weeks have been pretty poor conditions and a low standard of rugby but we’ve been able to grind out them out, that’s the kind of conditions you expect in the northern hemisphere.

“You just have to grind out a win, sometimes it’s not pretty but just rack up the points and put yourself in a position to be in the final. These are crucial games when you just scrape by but everyone forgets about them at the end of the season.

“The away game against Glasgow is very important and will be very tough but if with go their with a good attitude we’ll have a good chance.”

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About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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