Tuesday 25 April 2017

McGrath: We must learn from mistakes

Luke McGrath: 'It is important to go through the game and learn from your mistakes. There's no point in being annoyed at each other. We're a young team at the moment, and we have to stick together'
Luke McGrath: 'It is important to go through the game and learn from your mistakes. There's no point in being annoyed at each other. We're a young team at the moment, and we have to stick together'
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

It was hardly the result that Leinster would have wanted on the opening day of the season but Luke McGrath saw enough defensively to suggest that his side can bounce back against table-toppers Cardiff Blues at the RDS tomorrow (5.15).

The Welsh side scored 11 tries last week, albeit against a hapless Zebre outfit, and Leo Cullen will be eager to bounce back from a disappointing defeat in Edinburgh.

Scrum-half McGrath knows that this young Leinster side needs time to gel but warns that if they make the same mistakes as they did last week, they will be punished in similar fashion.

"At the moment, it is such a young squad. There was a big learning curve there," he insisted.

"When we did have the ball, we just didn't hold onto it, which just wasn't good enough for our standards.

"The breakdown let us down and our discipline did as well. We gave them kickable opportunities, which were unnecessary really because our defence stood up quite well in phases.

"The main thing we did last week is give up cheap ball. If we do that against Cardiff, they have players, like (Rhys) Patchell, and pace out wide, like (Dan) Fish, who can hurt you from anywhere on the pitch.

"It is just important to keep hold of the ball, not give them counter-attack ball off our unforced errors.

"Defensively, I thought we did pretty well at stages last week. It is important to keep that up this week.

"It is important to go through the game and learn from your mistakes. There's no point in being annoyed at each other. We're a young team at the moment, and we have to stick together."

McGrath is one of several players eager to stake his claim during the World Cup period but in comparison to some of his team-mates, he has more experience.

He is likely to have Cathal Marsh and Ross Byrne (both of whom he played with at school with St Michael's College) playing outside him for the coming weeks and McGrath has backed both to be a success.

"It's funny, I've played with both of them in school. It is great to play with both of them," the 22-year-old enthused.

"I've played with Marshy for years. He's an unbelievable footballer. He brings great pace to the game.

"Byrno is really solid, a very good kicker, reads the game well. They're both similar in that way.

"They are both great players. It was great to see them out there and to see Ross get his debut last week."

McGrath made 14 appearances in last season's Pro12 and scored four tries and he is keen to build on that form without letting last week's defeat linger within the squad.

He points to the blend of youth and experience as being an important factor for Leinster going forward.

"It's nice having a mix between the likes of Isa (Nacewa) and Darce (D'Arcy), those guys who have been through it all with Leinster," he said.

"Girv (Dempsey) has moved up from the 'A' team and he's with us as well. We know each other very well.

"You want to win every game you play. But it was the first game. It was a disappointment. People were frustrated on the plane home.

"That game is done with now. We have to move on. That's what everyone's done. At the moment, everyone is just focused solely on this environment.

"We just have to grip this with both hands, come together as one and hopefully, get a good win at the weekend."

Irish Independent

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