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Absence of game-management cost Leinster dear — O’Connor

That, and Romain Poite’s consistent inconsistency.

“I DON’T THINK we controlled field position well enough, I don’t think we managed the game.

“In the back 20 minutes of the game we kicked poorly.

“And we didn’t control possession.”

That was Matt O’Connor’s three-pronged summary of where things went wrong for Leinster through the 19 – 15 defeat to Munster in Thomond Park last night..

It may be too late to term this match a baptism of fire for O’Connor as Leinster coach, but it was most definitely his biggest test to date. The results are bad, and even 19 – 15 seemed a little flattering to Leinster by the finish.

image©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Their defence kept them in this game, but in possession the ideas were few and far between. There was no fluidity and no sense of a plan after the ball was thrust loose.

“You lose your [number] 10 for 10 minutes of the game and you’re into the wind, it changes the dynamic,” O’Connor adds.

“I think we created enough opportunities to win the game, we just didn’t take them.”

At this stage, Brian O’Driscoll is borderline to feature against Ospreys in the Heineken Cup next week. Lote Tuqiri, after just a few fleeting glimpses of his threat, will sit out another fortnight or more with a recurrence of his hamstring problem, but there was more than just the unlucky 13 at the root of this problem.

There were mitigating factors for the game’s lack of rhythm, of course. Namely, the perplexing and erratic refereeing of Romaine Poite.  Munster, however, were made to suffer him too.

The less said about the Frenchman’s interpretation of the breakdown the better, but in terms of the scrum, O’Connor too was left wondering why the penalty count needed to be so high.

“It’s disappointing,” says the coach, “There were three or four scrums that were genuine resets. Both ways, there were a couple of penalties we got, a couple Munster got that, with the new adjustments, you’d like them to rest because we’re not any further down the track in relation to having ball to play off.

“It’s a genuine lottery and it’s deciding games which is disappointing.”

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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