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Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 20 October 2020
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'A few lads are upset and probably angry' - Leinster determined to right the wrongs

The eastern province are channeling their frustrations ahead of Friday’s clash with Ulster.

Leinster were back on the training paddock this morning after a disappointing weekend.
Leinster were back on the training paddock this morning after a disappointing weekend.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

A DAMP AND bitterly cold morning on campus in UCD and the mood inside Leinster HQ was equally gloomy as the inquest into Saturday’s defeat in Bath began.

In previous European campaigns, coming away from The Rec with a losing bonus-point wouldn’t normally be seen as a major issue but, on the back of the humbling defeat to Wasps in week one, Leinster’s interest in the Champions Cup is now hanging by a thread.

George Ford’s late penalty inflicted a second straight reversal on the three-time European champions, leaving Leo Cullen’s side facing the reality of an early elimination.

While the eastern province aren’t out of the running to qualify from Pool 5 just yet, there is now no margin for error and with back-to-back clashes with Toulon next up, the prospects look bleak.

It’s the first time a Leinster team has lost the opening two games of a European campaign since 1996.

This morning’s video review session must have made for grim viewing for the squad, particularly for the forwards, after Leinster’s scrum was dismantled by the hosts.

“Two losses isn’t good and that’s reflected in the mood of everyone in there,” scrum coach John Fogarty offered.

“It [review session] took place already, I suppose I hope it was what was required and we’re not going to walk away from the fact, as a group of forwards, that we didn’t perform well in the scrum.

“We confronted any issue we had in the meeting this morning and we’ll look to address that immediately.”

Jonathan Sexton after the forwards lose their own line-out It was a frustrating afternoon for Leinster on Saturday. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Bath assumed complete control of the scrum from the outset on Saturday and their dominance at the set-piece allowed them to dictate large periods of the contest.

The scrum provided the platform for much of the Premiership outfit’s scores, including a a decisive penalty try.

Loosehead prop Nick Auterac was man of the match but Fogarty insists Leinster didn’t underestimate the power of the Bath scrum.

“Before the game we had talked how important it was not to get managed, we talked about the load and the hit and chase,” he continued.

“We understood going into the game that they were very strong. Last year it was a good battle in the scrum, I think they were missing two of their tightheads but it was a very good battle.

“This year I think they’re that further bit down the line and Auterac in particular did a really good job. Before the game we were well aware of the threat they are over there. It’s disappointing we didn’t deal with it better and disappointing we didn’t adapt to it better throughout the game.

“It’s disappointing, to be honest they are a few lads who are upset about, they’re probably quite angry about it. It’s about how we deal with this moment now and how we put Bath to bed as a game and move forward to Ulster and that’s exactly what we’re focusing on.”

Fogarty reiterated Cullen’s view that attention must now swiftly turn to the visit of Ulster in the Guinness Pro12 on Friday evening. There is little time to reflect on or rue a missed opportunity in Bath.

“You don’t become a bad scrum overnight, you have a bad day, that was a particularly bad day but we’re going to work very, very hard to ensure everyone is on the same page,” Fogarty added.

“They understand how important this part of the game is and we go after it, starting today, not Friday when we go out on the pitch and that message should be load and clear to everyone.

John Fogarty Fogarty insists the players know what they have to do to rectify the problems. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“Going from the Wasps game which was tough to Bath away, the performance was really good, the defence was very sharp, we held in what was a very a good backline.

“There are parts we need to improve on but certainly the performance has crept up and it is going to continue to creep up and from my position if the scrum had have been better then we might have drawn or won that game and that’s what we’re looking towards.”

The weekend’s inter-provincial fixture has now taken on an added significance with both sides smarting from disappointing European results. Fogarty insists all the players are aware of the importance of the game and the need to restore the feel-good factor around the RDS.

With such a short turnaround, the window for recovery is small but there are nothing more than a couple of ‘bumps and bruises’ to report from the trip to the west of England.

After missing the last couple of weeks with a hamstring injury, Rob Kearney is set to come back into contention.

“Rob Kearney looks like he is good to go for this weekend, he was close last weekend,” Fogarty concluded. “He comes back into the fold again, let’s see his energy and what he can add.

“This week we’re under no illusions about what the test, about the contest will be in what is a local battle. Are eyes will be wide open.

“They’re going to be enthused to come down to the RDS and do a good job. I’m sure they’re smarting from their loss so we’re going to have two angry packs going at it this weekend.

“We’re going to step away from Champions Cup now and put our eyes on Ulster and the Pro12. We’re fourth at the moment and we want to improve on that position.”

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Ryan Bailey

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