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'The Dragons are coming to Leinster confident, which is very unusual'

The latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly saw the lads previewing the Irish provinces’ new campaigns.
Oct 1st 2020, 7:00 PM 7,470 5

STILL HURTING FROM the disappointment of their first-half underperformance against Saracens two weekends ago, Leinster have to get the show on the road again tomorrow night.

Welcoming the Dragons to the RDS might not seem like the most daunting fixture for Leo Cullen’s side to kick-off their 2020/21 campaign in the Pro14, particularly having named a very strong starting XV and bench.

But speaking on today’s episode of The42 Rugby Weekly, former Dragons boss Bernard Jackman said the Welsh region are bringing belief to Dublin as they sense an opportunity to catch Leinster while they’re down in the wake of that Champions Cup quarter-final defeat to Saracens.

johnny-sexton-dejected-after-the-game Johnny Sexton captains Leinster tomorrow night at the RDS. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Jackman believes that re-asserting their dominance in the Pro14 in the key challenge for Leinster in the opening weeks of this new campaign, having won every single game of the 2019/20 competition to retain their title.

“Speaking to someone in the Dragons camp, they’re coming here confident, which is very unusual, not just for them but any team coming over to play Leinster in the RDS,” said Jackman.

“Listen, we’ll know tomorrow night if it’s based on reality or false perception, but the word coming out of Dragons is that Leinster’s set-piece is poor and if they don’t break you within three phases, they’ll kick the ball away.

“We’ve been praising Leinster’s kicking game earlier this season and they do kick it away quicker than they have been but they’re generally very accurate kicks. Bar the Saracens game, when they weren’t firing on all cylinders, they’ve played at a very high level and are very hard to beat.

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“I do think they will deal with the Dragons tomorrow night and then over the next four or five weeks, it’s important for them to go as close as possible to being unbeaten again and put that doubt back into everybody.

“You look at Munster and Ulster in the knock-out stages of the Pro14, did they really believe they could beat Leinster? That’s due to the high level of performance Leinster have had over the last year and it’s pretty important that they reset that again.

“Losing the A game to Ulster last weekend at the RDS, it’s only an A game but it just creates doubt and Leinster aren’t usually in that place where people are pissed off and there’s a level of frustration and doubt around performances.

“It’s important to back on the horse on Friday night with a comprehensive win. The Dragons were very confident of beating Bristol [in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals] and ended up shipping 50 points even with a strong team out.

“They are still vulnerable to a very strong performance from Leinster but the key for Leinster is to re-confirm that they’re the dominant team in this competition over the first four or five weeks and that will allow them to continue to rotate players and blood players.”

This week’s edition of The42 Rugby Weekly also involved the lads discussing the resumption of amateur club rugby in Ireland, Rob Kearney’s move to the Western Force, as well as what Munster, Ulster, and Connacht need to get from the opening weeks of the new Pro14 season.

Bernard Jackman, Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey discuss the provinces’ 2020/21 starts, the South African-infused Pro16, and the schools-versus-clubs dynamic in Ireland


Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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