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Ryan Byrne/INPHO Ruddock says Leinster need to learn from their mistakes and move on quickly.
# Hope Springs Eternal
Ruddock: Leinster are down but they're certainly not out, as Toulon's defeat showed
There’s hope yet as Leinster begin a new week determined to put two defeats behind them.

IT’S TOO EARLY in the campaign to determine whether Wasps’ thrashing of Toulon is a good or bad result for Leinster but it does give Leo Cullen’s men hope, according to Rhys Ruddock.

The eastern province have lost their first two games of a European season for the first time since 1996 and their hopes of progressing in the Champions Cup are slim after a nightmare start.

The inquest into Saturday’s 19-16 defeat to Bath began this morning at headquarters in UCD and although they find themselves in an unprecedented position, the message from Ruddock was clear: they are down but certainly not out.

“Disappointed, maybe feeling like we missed an opportunity as well,” the flanker, who returned to the side at The Rec, said when asked about the mood in the camp.

“We obviously had a good hard look at ourselves and saw a lot of improvements as we can take as positives but the overriding feeling was disappointment and that we need to go up a gear again.

“I think we just underperformed against Wasps and wasn’t the performance any of us wanted and I think we rectified a lot of our mistakes and our attitude was a lot better on the weekend.

“We came off on the wrong side of the result and I think we’ve learnt a lot of harsh lessons in the process so hopefully now we can rectify it this weekend, we have a massive challenge against Ulster and we know how difficult it will be.”

Wasps blew Pool 5 open with their impressive win in Dublin a fortnight ago and followed that result with an even more imposing performance against Toulon on Sunday.

The Premiership outfit assumed control of an extremely competitive group with a 32-6 win over the defending champions and Ruddock says it gives Leinster hope heading into the next set of fixtures.

Rhys Ruddock Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ruddock speaking at Leinster HQ this morning. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

“There was no excuse for the level of performance we brought but it just shows how wide-open the group is,” he says of Wasps’ start to the campaign.

“We’re not in a good position at the moment after the last two weeks but any team is capable of beating anyone and as long as we bring that mindset of trying to win every game now, we’ll see where we are at the end of it.”

After Pro12 assignments against Ulster and Glasgow, Leinster travel to the Stade Mayol early next month before welcoming the French giants to the Aviva the following weekend.

There are few tougher places to go when your season is hanging by a thread but Ruddock believes they can take heart from the way Wasps dismantled the previously untouchable Toulon.

“We know what sort of challenge it is playing against them home or away and how much of a quality outfit they are but Wasps showed how it was done.

“We’ve learnt the hard way against them twice, how good you got to be but that if we can get our stuff together and approach the game right then we can do them.

“But I suppose it’s not looking ahead there, if we don’t perform this week and next week, and make those improvements, it’s not going to just happen because it’s Champions Cup.

“It’s about the short-term and we need a big performance this week against Ulster. It will be two teams with a point to prove playing for the same position in the league so I think both teams will approach it with the same attitude and stamp their authority on the game early on.

“I think we’ll only improve over time but we managed to improve a lot last weekend and we need to improve again this week.”

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