Sport Rugby

Saturday 29 April 2017

Elwood counts cost as another chance slips by

David Kelly

David Kelly

ERIC ELWOOD bore the look of a man who probably knows that, even if he was handed a winning lottery ticket, it would somehow fritter away on the omnipresent Sportsground wind.

"Obviously it's another disappointed dressing-room," said Elwood as he reflected on Connacht's 12th straight defeat.

At this stage, the psychological demons must be as wounding as the physical scars. Injuries to Brian Tuohy (broken leg), Johnny O'Connor (suspected fractured cheekbone) and Ronan Loughney (shoulder) rubbed salt into the wounds.

"Leinster are the European champions and we outscored them two tries to nil. But we couldn't buy a kick. The kickers don't need me to tell them. We've had a chat downstairs; they know that. If one of those kicks goes over, it wins you a very important game and gives us the lift we were looking for.

"But unfortunately again, it's a good performance, a great effort, good crowd participation and a great night but we've nothing to show for it. It's disappointing.

"We're happy with the performance but we need to produced that sort of display consistently at this level. Okay, it may be a great performance but we don't have any points to show for it.

consistency

"We knew we needed to step up from last week and we did that. If we can take this on next week, that's the consistency we'll be looking for against Aironi.

"If we can stay at this level of performance, intensity and even maybe a step further, who knows? But we can't drop our levels."

Leinster, who maintain their six-point advantage at the head of affairs, emerged as the only Irish side with a 100pc record from their festive fixtures -- a more than decent effort from the Pro12 League leaders given the exigencies of performing without so many of their Irish internationals.

"This is a tough place to come at this time of the year because they are least affected by international camps and the international players getting time off," acknowledged Leinster's Joe Schmidt, who reported that Richardt Strauss' nose "was a bit awry". "We always knew this was going to be a bit of a scramble and to scramble out of here with four points, I'm delighted, even though we're disappointed with that last 30 minutes," said Schmidt.

Irish Independent

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