Leinster Piece Ahead Of Cardiff Blues Game: Matt O’Connor – The Irish Examiner – September 23 2014

Leinster boss O’Connor demands more clinical approach against Blues

By Daire Walsh

Leinster are eager to address the issues that have led to two defeats in their opening three Guinness Pro12 games

of the 2014/15 season.


Speaking at the province’s UCD headquarters yesterday ahead of their clash with the Cardiff Blues at the RDS on Friday, Leinster coach Matt O’Connor was pleased with his side’s application during the opening period of their narrow reversal against Connacht at the Sportsgrounds last Friday, but felt they struggled to replicate this level of performance upon the resumption.


“I think we started the game quite well,” he said.


“We probably let ourselves down, even as good as we were in the first half. There were probably three or four scoring chances that we didn’t take. You can’t go away from home in this league and leave 20 points on the field. Those points came back to hurt us in the second half. We weren’t as clinical as we needed to be.


“They had one opportunity in our 22. They took it. [Kieran] Marmion scores and you lose the game off the back of it. Which was disappointing, because off so many good things against Scarlets, we thought we were in a pretty good place.”


With the hotly-anticipated Aviva Stadium clash against Munster also on the horizon, O’Connor will be eager for his side to rediscover their very best formagainst Cardiff.


Preparations for this game have been boosted by the arrival of Kane Douglas into the Leinster set-up, and following his involvement during Monday’s session, O’Connor revealed that the Wallabies lock is in contention for a place in the match-day squad.


“Yeah, a massive possibility [for the Cardiff game]. He’s had a couple of weeks off after the Super rugby season. He’s quite fresh and keen and looking forward to getting involved.


“He’ll train today and we’ll try and bring him up to speed with the bits and piecesof detail in our game. We’ll see how he goes. He arrived on Friday. He’s over the jet lag and keen to get into it.”


One of the more interesting selections for the Connacht game was Jack McGrath’s deployment in the front row ahead of the more experienced Cian Healy.


After taking a more active part in pre-season than previous campaigns, Healy is still finding his feet, but although they had always planned to give the pair a half each in Galway, O’Connor and his coaching staff are pleased with the current progress of the increasingly-prominent McGrath.


“He [Healy] has had a pre-season, the first time he’s had one in a long time. He’s certainly ticking all the boxes in the gym. I thought it was a lot better performance from him on Friday night. He got involved. He scrummaged well. The more time he plays, the better he’ll get.


“Jack’s playing really well. That was the plan: to give them 40 each, see how they fared, see how they get on out in Irish camp. We’ll make that decision later in the week,” O’Connor added.

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