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Dublin: 17 °C Wednesday 26 June, 2019
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Matt O'Connor confirmed that Leinster will have all their stars back for next week's European tie

Leinster got a draw last night but Matt O’Connor thinks his side need to improve ahead of Bath next week.

Leinster face an uphill struggle to make the top four after last night's draw.
Leinster face an uphill struggle to make the top four after last night's draw.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

MATT O’CONNOR WAS keen to dwell on positives after last night’s 34-34 draw with Glasgow. He saw it as three points in the bag rather than two more lost. Given that Leinster were 20 points down at half time he has a right to be optimistic, but allowing the Scottish side to claim a draw makes Leinster’s Pro12 run-in even tougher.

Leinster have trips to the Dragons and Edinburgh to come as well as a home game against Treviso. The only other fixture left on their league schedule is a trip to Ravenhill and that is the game that Leinster simply must win if they are to return to the Pro12 knockout stage for the sixth season in succession.

And while Leinster didn’t get the win, O’Connor acknowledged how important their second half comeback could ultimately be.

“Potentially,” O’Connor said when asked if Leinster had saved their season.

“It is a massive three points for us. It’s going to be tight and we have known that for a little bit now. We have four really tough games in the league to go but thankfully we can worry about Europe this week and what we need to do against Bath.”

Leinster’s second half turnaround was extraordinary but their final quarter resembled their mediocre first half showing. Glasgow had a few rumbles into Leinster territory in the final 20 minutes and ultimately scored the equalising try. O’Connor pointed to Leinster’s immediate response as a reason they coughed up that late score.

“We turned the ball over at the kick-off and that is why we didn’t close it out,” O’Connor said.

“They put a lot of pressure on at the ball. Our ball security has been a lot better than it has been in the last couple of games but we still gave them entry into our half with a couple of soft turnovers.”

The Pro12 was naturally the main focus last night but for many fans it was just an appetiser for the European main course next weekend. Bath come to the Aviva in the Champions Cup quarter-final and with a backline featuring George Ford, Jonathan Jospeh, Kyle Eastmond and Anthony Watson, O’Connor knows his side can’t afford to be as generous in defence as they were last night.

“We were a little bit inaccurate defensively and we fell off some pretty basic 1 v 1 tackles that we won’t get away with next week,” O’Connor said.

“Glasgow were good. I thought their intent and the way they played and their execution to take their chances in the first half was pretty good. They are a good side.”

After coming so close to snatching a massive victory, the players were downbeat afterwards and O’Connor confirmed that Leinster will have full squad to choose from for the big game at the Aviva next weekend.

“They are exhausted, is the reality,” O’Connor said.

“They put a lot of emotional and physical energy into the second half. To give yourself an opportunity to win the game off the back of what we were facing at half time, there is a lot of disappointment there. It is not anything to get lost in, it is about moving forward.”

Originally published at 11.55

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