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Player-driven attitude adjustment preparing Leinster for another bruising inter-pro

Head coach Matt O’Connor feels that his side just need to finish off the opportunities they are creating.

Image: Billy Stickland/INPHO

LEINSTER HEAD COACH Matt O’Connor again expressed his disappointment with the collective display that led to his second defeat to Munster this season.

However, after putting the match under the scrutiny of video analysis, the Australian believes his players are close to hitting the right notes, but must increase focus and intensity to push their way in to the Pro12 playoff places with a win over Ulster on Saturday.

“We prepared pretty well in a tough week with a lot of distractions,” O’Connor said in reference to the IRFU player management restrictions.

“We went down there with a side capable of winning. Individually and collectively I don’t think we did ourselves justice

“In the review process lots of little things stand out and a lot of them can be adjusted with attitude. That was discussed this week and that was pretty much player-driven in relation to making sure we’re better and make sure that at the RDS on Saturday against Ulster, we’ll rectify a lot of those attitudinal issues and some of the technical issues.”

While O’Connor remains protective of his side’s achievements to date this season he speaks of a number of issues that feed in to why Leinster’s performances have drawn so much criticism.

“Confidence is one of the things, a lack of combinations is another. And it just takes one of those opportunities to stick. In the review process, there were a couple of opportunities where the pass didn’t get thrown, we didn’t talk, we didn’t work early enough…”

Matters of the mind are difficult to pin-point and correct, but the Australian feels that when when one combination clicks or a move runs a course as planned, then the rest of the building blocks may fall into place.

“One of those opportunities comes off, it’s different, it changes the nature of the contest. That’s been the focus over the last couple of weeks.

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“We haven’t been as disappointed as some of the people outside the environment in relation to how far off we are.

Walk in tries

“We’ve played some good defensive sides – Munster down there, Quins, Connacht, Ospreys before that – they’re good sides. You’re not going to walk in tries against them, you’re going to have to work really hard to get any sort of momentum going and the emphasis this week has been making sure that we work harder to execute on those opportunities.”

With 14 tries conceded in the Pro12 this season, Ulster are another side O’Connor can add to his list of resolute defences. And although the northern province have also struggled for fluidity with a raft of injuries this term, the home side will need that attitude adjustment get 2015 off to a winning start.

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Sean Farrell

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