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O'Connor disappointed with Leinster's inability to close out Wasps clash

However, Leinster’s head coach took some encuragement from the first-half performance in Coventry.

Andy Goode's late drop goal sailed wide of the posts.
Andy Goode's late drop goal sailed wide of the posts.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Murray Kinsella reports from the Ricoh Arena

LEINSTER HEAD COACH Matt O’Connor admitted to disappointment at his side’s second-half display in their 20-20 draw with Wasps, although he pointed to their performance before the break as encouraging.

The eastern province secured themselves a Champions Cup quarter-final with two match points at the Ricoh Arena, but the fact that they gave up a 20-6 half-time lead will cause some frustration should they miss out on a home tie in the knock-out stages.

“It was disappointing,” said O’Connor post-match in Coventry. “I thought we were as good as we’ve been [all season] in the first half. I thought we controlled the game really well, limited their opportunities with the ball and took our opportunities to score when we got chances.

“From that end, the first half was exactly how the script went. Second half, it was probably a little bit too ill-disciplined.

We gave them too many penalties, too much field position and the two chances they had, they took. The effort was outstanding but the accuracy in the second half was disappointing.”

Leinster missed a crucial opportunity to extend their lead just minutes after the interval, hammering their way to within metres of the Wasps tryline, before Devin Toner was penalised for obstruction in front of Michael Bent.

O’Connor felt a score at that point would have finished the game off as a contest.

“Definitely, that was the thinking,” said O’Connor, “14 points was a long way for them to come back. If we’d got another score, three [points] or five or seven, I think it would have been game over.

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“But they were good in the second half, they kept fighting and they kept playing. They got two chances up our end with line-out drives and executed them.”

Matt O'Connor at the post match press conference O'Connor was disappointed with how Leinster performed after the break. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

O’Connor confirmed that Dave Kearney had sustained a worrying shoulder injury and may be out for “several weeks”, while explaining that Eoin Reddan’s subsitution was on account of a knee issue.

Captain Jamie Heaslip was replaced by Jack Conan in the 64th minute as his recent shoulder problem flared up.

“Dave’s got a bang on his shoulder and Eoin Reddan’s got a medial strain on his knee,” explained O’Connor. “Jamie’s still carrying that shoulder. He was struggling with it, fresh legs were going to be important.”

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About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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