Thursday 23 February 2017

Schmidt urges Blues to stop 'butchering gilt-edged try chances'

Hugh Farrelly

LEINSTER coach Joe Schmidt says his side need to work on their accuracy ahead of their rematch with Bath at Lansdowne Road next weekend after yesterday's tough 18-13 victory at The Rec.

The Heineken Cup champions left Bath with a welcome four points to remain in control of their progress through Pool 3 but had to rely on Jonathan Sexton's six penalties after squandering three golden try opportunities.

"We want to be a lot more accurate," agreed Schmidt. "We want to be a lot more aware of what everyone else is doing around us to make sure we link up and finish opportunities we do create. Against a quality team it's that difficult to create opportunities -- the last thing you want to do is butcher them like we did today.

"That was a frustration, particularly in the first 20 minutes and even into the second half. There were a couple of chances, that really looked gilt-edged, that we managed to make look very, very difficult, so difficult that we couldn't get the ball over the line."

Sean O'Brien produced another powerful performance in the back-row but was stopped on the line in the second half with three free men outside him, and Schmidt praised the Bath defensive effort.

Fantastic

"He rates himself to beat the tackle most of the time but Steve Donald did a fantastic tackle on him. He still had to bring him down but perhaps the three guys outside him might have had an idea he could have given the ball.

"I think he's pretty aware of that; he did make some telling breaks, though, and I thought he was robust in his ball carry.

"I thought our set-piece was pretty sound," added Schmidt. "I thought our defence was sound enough, apart from a couple of times I thought we got a little bit tight or were a bit slow to get our full alignment.

"There are a lot of things that weren't too far off right, but the margins are so narrow in these games that if you don't get it dead right against a good team they just don't give you breathing space.

"You win in Bath? Jeez, you're delighted, but the manner in which it happened? Look, I'm never delighted, there is always something I want here or there. But we're delighted with the result."

Flanker Kevin McLaughlin echoed the sentiments of his coach.

"We made all the breaks, I thought they were a tiring team but we just didn't finish them off," said McLaughlin. "It was a physical game. We knew that coming over to England, what they are going to try and do is beat you up.

"They came at us hard but I thought we dug in there well. We knew we needed to up the tempo in the second half to tire them out and I thought we did that."

Irish Independent

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport