Saturday 1 October 2016

Bernard Laporte claims Leinster were 'not dangerous'

Published 21/12/2015 | 02:30

Bernard Laporte: 'I told them that they were not dangerous but we gifted them points'
Bernard Laporte: 'I told them that they were not dangerous but we gifted them points'

Bernard Laporte's verdict served to compound Leinster torment.

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Even when the home side, it seemed, had been liberated in an encouraging first half, there was always a sense that the adrenalin rush could only take them so far.

"We gave away too many easy points," said Laporte, whose side effectively conceded all Leinster's 16-5 half-time advantage via infringements, including the penalty try from a maul, with man of the match Juan Smith replying for Toulon.

"I told them that they were not dangerous but we gifted them points. In the second half, they scored no points." La fin.

Like last week, two lineout drives did for a Leinster side who were forced to make twice as many tackles as before the break, when their dominance in attack failed to reap the winning margin they needed to fend off the inevitable late power surge of the champions.

"In the last 30 minutes, we are better in maul and scrum because Leinster are tired. It's about 23 players, not about finishing the game with a better team but everyone who came in did contribute."

So tired and battered were Leinster that their two supposed focal points - Jonathan Sexton and Jamie Heaslip - were not capable of finishing the game; the former appeared subdued, the latter quite animated by his abrupt withdrawal.

Leinster must look forward now. Their abysmal league campaign got them into such a fiendishly difficult pool in the first place; the play-offs are a must, not only to restore competitiveness but to seek to avoid such an ignominious qualification campaign.

There will be soul-searching to be done but, with Munster, Connacht and Ospreys looming, there is little time for broody introspection.

"Look, I'd still rather just win, and win whichever way possible," says captain Isa Nacewa.

"When we play a skilful game and we win, I'm happy. If we grind them out and win by a point, I'm happy.

"I think the first 40 was one of our better forties of the season. The skill-level was high.

"We were running at pace which we like to do, but we've got to be able to handle both types of game-plans and get better at managing, dare I say, the last 20 minutes of the game."

Worryingly, in four of Leinster's last five games they have been held scoreless for 63, 43, 55 and 40 minutes.

Mike Ross suffered a "significant" hamstring tear which could affect his Six Nations chances.

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