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Gopperth points to poor start after Leinster are 'out-passioned' by Munster

The Kiwi out-half was disappointed with his side’s effort at the breakdown.

Munster celebrate as Gerhard van den Heever wins a penalty.
Munster celebrate as Gerhard van den Heever wins a penalty.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

LEINSTER OUT-HALF Jimmy Gopperth said his side had been “out-passioned” after their 34-23 Guinness Pro12 defeat to Munster in Dublin last night.

The Kiwi pointed to his side’s poor start to the game as a particularly disappointing aspect of the performance, admitting that Leinster had found it difficult to stem the wave of Munster pressure and physicality in the first half.

“We started really poorly,” said Gopperth at the Aviva stadium. “After a big hit from Dominic Ryan I thought ‘we’re really in this,’ then we gave away a penalty and we got on the back foot from there.

“I think we lost the game at the breakdown and they seemed well up for it. I think they out-passioned us in that area. I think because we couldn’t get our hands on the ball, we slipped behind and started really slowly. It’s just a bad start.”

That Leinster were beaten in terms of motivation for such a big fixture is something of a worry, and Gopperth says the eastern province can’t afford to begin another game without an all-important mental edge.

We’ve got to look at ourselves and make sure we start the game well. We know we can finish a game, we’ve just got to really, really be up for the game.

“We knew Munster were going to come at us at the breakdown. Every team that plays us wants to slow the ball down and stop us playing. So we’ve got to make sure we do our own jobs.”

Denis Hurley offloads in a tackle from Jimmy Gopperth Gopperth can't prevent Denis Hurley from getting an offload away. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“Of course [it hurts]. I’m not even from Leinster, but it does. It’s Leinster v Munster. It’s a massive rivalry, probably the biggest rivalry in world rugby. So of course it hurts.

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“The boys are not happy with how we let ourselves down in that first half. We’ve got to make sure we do it right next week.”

Leinster get the chance to rectify matters somewhat next weekend as they travel to face a Zebre team that has already claimed Ulster’s scalp in Italy this season. Being more clinical at the breakdown will be the key focus from Gopperth’s point of view.

The Leinster out-half also admitted that his team needed to be sharper in their attacking execution, given that they missed opportunities against Munster in the second half when the visitors racked up four yellow cards.

We left a couple of good tries out there. Just by maybe giving one more pass or just holding on, respecting the ball a little big longer. There was opportunities and we missed them.

“We’ve got to look at ourselves and Zebre are really hard at home. It’s never going to get any easier.”

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Murray Kinsella

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