Wednesday 7 December 2016

O'Connor insists there's 'huge positives' in finishing fifth

Published 11/05/2015 | 02:30

8 May: Jamie Heaslip, Leinster, on his way to scoring his side's first try of the game despite the tackle of Nicola Cattina, Benetton Treviso. Guinness PRO12, Round 21, Leinster v Benetton Treviso (Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE)
8 May: Jamie Heaslip, Leinster, on his way to scoring his side's first try of the game despite the tackle of Nicola Cattina, Benetton Treviso. Guinness PRO12, Round 21, Leinster v Benetton Treviso (Matt Browne / SPORTSFILE)

Despite another substandard performance against Treviso on Friday night, Leinster coach Matt O'Connor is remaining positive about his side's season.

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The Australian is adamant that there are "huge positives" in finishing fifth in the Pro12 table after Edinburgh's defeat to the Dragons ensured that Leinster will play in next season's Champions Cup.

"I think the frustration has been that we've lost tight games in the league," O'Connor said.

"We've had three draws but, if I think back over the course of the Pro12 season, there hasn't been too many games that we haven't been in. Munster away is probably the only game that we didn't have a chance of winning. There are huge positives even in finishing fifth or being fifth in the table at the moment.

Hurt

"You'd like to think that those lessons and the hurt that is in the changing room is going to be a really positive driver for us going forward."

His captain Jamie Heaslip believes that the players have to take the responsibility for a poor domestic campaign.

"There's a handful of games there where as a group, we've let ourselves down," he admitted.

"There's any number of games where we were ahead by a score or two and let teams back into it, either to draw or win which could have put a very different spin on the season.

"That's where we have to, as a group of players, realise when we're on the field that we can't let teams get access points into the game. That's very much on us as a group of players."

Meanwhile, O'Connor revealed that the province "won't be signing Peter Stringer" after the scrum-half was heavily linked with a move.

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