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Dublin: 7°C Wednesday 28 October 2020

'It's not my first dark day in a Leinster jersey, so it's how we react' - Ringrose

The Leinster centre rued his side’s poor performance in the first half against Saracens.

AFTER THE BRIEF high of securing another Pro14 title last weekend at the Aviva Stadium, Leinster hit a major low yesterday as their bid for a fifth Heineken Champions Cup title came to a shuddering halt.

Saracens were well worth their 25-17 victory to advance into a European semi-final away to Racing 92 next weekend, but Leinster will wake this morning with regrets and frustrations about how they bowed out of the competition.

caelan-doris-dejected-after-the-game Leinster left themselves with an uphill battle at half-time. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Leo Cullen and Stuart Lancaster’s side vowed to learn the harsh lessons of defeat to Saracens in last season’s Champions Cup final in Newcastle and it looked very much like that had been the case as they swept through their 25-game winning streak.

But up against Sarries yesterday, there was a sense of familiarity as the English side’s defence smothered Leinster and their pack got the upper hand, albeit in more dominant fashion this time around.

“It’s heartbreaking,” said Leinster centre Garry Ringrose post-match, “because I know the effort the lads put in through lockdown and in the lead-up to this game. So, I’d never question that for one second – the effort and intent and desire and hunger, all those words, that’s there.

“It’s just on the day, we were a couple of percentages off against a team like Saracens, they’ll take full advantage of that, like they did. It’s heartbreaking because I’m aware of the effort that goes in, day-in, day-out, the supporters and what it means to them, and what they mean to us, our friends and family back home, and what they mean to us.

“So, it’s always disappointing letting them down and not giving them moments to celebrate.

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“It’s a tough one to take but it’s not my first dark day in a Leinster jersey, so it’s how we react, how we learn and how we can hopefully make it better. That’s the challenge now.

garry-ringrose-is-tackled-by-sean-maitland Ringrose is tackled by Saracens' Sean Maitland. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

“It’s not an easy one, because you’re going into the nitty-gritty of why we were on the wrong side of the result, but it’s a challenge nonetheless. Nothing changes in that regard – we’re trying to get better and be better, so we learn from it.”

While Ringrose was proud of the spirit Leinster showed in rebounding in the second half, the 22-3 deficit at the interval ultimately proved too great to overhaul and the eastern province will have to examine their failings in the opening 40 minutes in detail.

“Obviously it’s not ideal, whatever about at the start of the game and conceding points but to concede as many points as we did in the first half was not ideal,” said Ringrose.

“Especially with their quality of goal-kickers to take advantage of any discipline errors. You give them a sniff and they take that and kept the scoreboard ticking so it left us with a big challenge come half-time.”

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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