Sunday 23 October 2016

McGrath on high alert over Treviso's scrum strengths

Published 06/05/2016 | 02:30

Jack McGrath will pack down for Leinster away to Edinburgh Photo: Sportsfile
Jack McGrath will pack down for Leinster away to Edinburgh Photo: Sportsfile

With a home semi-final at stake tomorrow afternoon, there has been little time to dwell on last week's humbling at the hands of Ulster but Jack McGrath insists that the anger built up can help ensure that there is no slip-up this time around against the Italians.

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McGrath has been one of Leinster's standout performers this season and even as he cements himself as one of the best looseheads in the world, just like his scrum coach John Fogarty, he is cautious about the threat that the Italians pose.

Treviso's shock win over Connacht last Friday has left them a point in front of Zebre in their race to seal Champions Cup rugby next season and McGrath is expecting another bruising encounter.

"It's (anger) probably bubbling under from today onwards and then you start honing it on Thursday and Friday and into the game on Saturday because you can't be using all your anger up early in the week," McGrath explained.

"You could look at it that we just weren't good enough on the day. We are getting back to where we are but it's a bit of a slip-up for us, and especially at this stage of the season.

"All credit to Ulster, they put us under pressure and made it uncomfortable for us, and it was between them playing well and us doing ourselves no favours that got them the result.

"We've had a forwards review. What more can you say? It's massively disappointing, especially at this stage of the season.

"But you kinda have to park it, no matter how annoyed you are and work to the weekend. It's a pretty important game coming up so we're looking to get a performance.

"Connacht had been going pretty well over the last while and for Treviso to do that to them in the scrums has to ring alarm bells for us.

"We were pretty happy with our own scrum on Saturday but as we know Italians pride themselves in the scrum so it's somewhere we'll have to be really screwed on because that's where a real strength of theirs lies."

Leinster's indiscipline continues to hinder them this season and although they were on the end of some questionable calls from the referee in Belfast, McGrath agreed that it is an area of their game that must improve if they are to win back the Pro12 title.


"I think the gaps that you're talking about were probably gaps on the field with the yellow cards, it didn't help us and there was a penalty try scored and two tries scored when the lads were off the pitch, or one was off the pitch each time," McGrath added.

"Ideally we want our discipline to be there and not to have guys off the pitch because, especially away from home, you're putting yourself under pressure. But the quality is there to turn it around quick. It's definitely doable.

"You need strength in depth and if you're trying to push for a title you have to have that, you can't just have your best 15 every week for how many weeks a year it is for the rugby season.

"So it's probably for the next week and hopefully the week after that.

"We're going to have to put out our best team to get our continuity and confidence back again."

Irish Independent

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