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Dublin: 18 °C Saturday 21 September, 2019
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'The fact they took the title off us last May added spice to it and gassed the flames'

Dan Leavy admits Leinster were out for vengeance in last night’s Pro12 interpro.

Leavy was one of the standout performers for Leinster.
Leavy was one of the standout performers for Leinster.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

IT WOULD BE stretching it to say yesterday’s interpro victory made up for Leinster’s Pro12 final defeat to Connacht, but it went some way to righting the wrongs for the players.

Leo Cullen’s side had clearly learned their lessons from that humbling day in Edinburgh last May as they accounted for their western rivals in a clinical and ruthless fashion on Saturday.

Having allowed Connacht’s explosive running game to flourish at Murrayfield, they weren’t prepared to do that again when battle lines were redrawn at the RDS.

Much more aggressive in their defensive approach, the hosts were able to nullify the threat and were superior in nearly every department, particularly at the breakdown.

The tireless work of Jack Conan, Sean O’Brien and Dan Leavy was crucial in not allowing Connacht to find their rhythm on another frustrating visit to the capital for Pat Lam’s men.

Leavy, in particular, was outstanding and afterwards the man of the match admitted that there was extra motivation there for the players.

“The fact they took a title off us last May added spice to it, gassed the flames to it and a lot of the guys are beaten and bruised,” the flanker said.

“These are good times and it was a great win against a quality side. We denied them a bonus point too.

Dan Leavy presented with the man of the match award by Padraig Fox of Guinness Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“This was an interprovincial game, there is always bragging rights and you always want to beat your neighbours.”

Leinster will return to work on Bank Holiday Monday as preparations turn to the trip to Italy to face Zebre next week.

Cullen has spoken about the opportunities available to his side on an individual and collective level during this international window and Leavy is someone who has certainly thrived when given the chance.

The 22-year-old admitted he was left frustrated in recent years as he was forced to bide his time but now he’s enjoying his rugby.

“I’m tired now,” he said of the toll last night’s game took.

“It was a pretty physical game, they brought incredible pace for the first 20 minutes which made it hard to live with. But we got our defence sorted and then it got a little more comfortable.

“We didn’t panic, teams will always get purple patches. We just built into it and even when Sean O’Brien got a yellow card we won that period and then they got a yellow.

“The scrum gave us a good platform in the game, it was a serious fight-back from us and we trusted our system.”

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Ryan Bailey

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