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Luke McGrath: We owe ourselves and the fans a big performance against Bath

The young scrum-half could make his first European start this weekend.

McGrath speaking to the media on Monday.
McGrath speaking to the media on Monday.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

DOWN AND OUT but Leinster are far from finished in this season’s Champions Cup and Luke McGrath admits the province’s final two outings are still important fixtures for the squad.

Leinster’s hopes of progressing from Pool 5 have long been over following four straight defeats before Christmas but their season has since turned a corner.

Leo Cullen’s side have found the spark their faltering campaign desperately needed and now they’re looking to translate Pro12 form onto the European stage.

Bath are the visitors to Dublin this weekend and scrum-half McGrath, who could be handed his first start in the competition, says the side owe themselves and their fans a big performance.

“We’re disappointed with our results up to now and we’ve just got to fix it on Saturday,” he said. “We know ourselves we haven’t been up to scratch.

“We owe ourselves a good performance in Europe and our fans who have travelled around Europe to watch us so it’s a big one this week.

“We know Bath are coming here with a sniff to get out of the group if they win the last two games so it’s going to be very competitive.

“We watched them last weekend in Toulon and they possibly could have won that game. They’ve a brilliant coach and great squad so it’s going to be a tough battle.

“There is pressure but it’s part of the game. You’ve just got to enjoy that pressure and those nerves and just get out there and have a go.”

Luke McGrath Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

There is an added spring in Leinster’s step of late, no surprise given they’ve now recorded seven straight Pro12 wins. There has been little problem on the league front and McGrath insists the group have moved on from European disappointment.

“We did have a tough group but I think we’ve moved on from those games. We took one game at a time and I suppose in the early group stages we weren’t doing the basics well and that cost us.

“After the second Toulon game we all came in, regrouped and focus on one game at a time and it’s been going well for us so far. It’s hard to pinpoint an exact thing but I think when we were playing the European games, we were just making silly errors and it was back to basics and go from there.”

McGrath started last weekend’s win at Ospreys and has returned to the fold after suffering a knee injury in the narrow inter-pro victory over Ulster in November and then a foot infection before the Connacht fixture earlier this month.

Now that the injuries are behind him, the 22-year-old is just enjoying being part of a winning side.

“The squad is so competitive, I’m just happy to be out there,” he said. “I had a bit of a lay-off and a setback but it’s great to be back involved.

“I’m all fixed up now thankfully and I’m just delighted to being playing and back out on the field. Hopefully I’m involved again this week.”

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Ryan Bailey

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