Friday 21 July 2017

Leinster coach slams 'lack of hunger' as Gibbes prepares to make Young eat his provocative words

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Leinster's new coach Joe Schmidt believes his side were outfought by a hungrier team in Friday's Magners League opening night defeat to Glasgow Warriors.

The New Zealander was left disappointed by his charges' efforts as they threw away a healthy first-half lead to lose their opening competitive match of the season.

Although he wasn't scheduled to address the media at Leinster's pitchside briefing yesterday, the coach stopped for a quick chat before taking training at UCD, perhaps feeling sorry for the half-drowned journalists huddling together in the torrential rain beside the field.

"We have got to be a lot more accurate," Schmidt admitted. "We were disappointingly loose with the ball, we were disappointingly lacking in hunger as well. Glasgow were more hungry. They chased harder, were more proactive on the ball and that's a disappointing thing when we led by 10 points at half-time."

Forwards coach Jono Gibbes expanded on Schmidt's point and by the sounds of things Leinster's stars are in for a tough week of training ahead of Saturday's visit of Cardiff Blues.

"Rugby is a confrontational game, it's a physical battle and any time some team shows a little bit more want in that area is a disappointment," he said. "Especially in our first game, an away game against one of the top teams in the league and to let it slip in the second half.

"We have to make sure we are right there, that we take it on the chin and move forward, that we are well prepared and that the guys are up for it.

"We know that we need to improve. We have had a good look at it this morning, so hopefully we can work it out."

Leinster hope to have Mike Ross back after injury for the visit of the Welsh side, while they will learn later in the week which of their international stars will be available.

Cardiff coach Dai Young wasn't afraid to state his side's case ahead of the new season, commenting that Welsh sides no longer fear their Irish counterparts, and Gibbes said Leinster would respond to those comments on the pitch.

"Listen, he's probably saying that on the back of the squad that he has got and he's probably confident based on the results that are available to him," suggested Gibbes.

"I guess from his point of view he's making it into a very strong argument. Obviously, the Ospreys came here and won last year and, as usual, the Welsh are talking themselves up.

"We want to just do our talking on the field. They have a right to be confident, they have a good squad. We can't really get into that stuff."

Irish Independent

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