Sunday 24 September 2017

O'Connor demands 'big' response from his Leinster side

Leinster head coach Matt O'Connor is adamant that there will be no complacency from his side as they look to bounce back immediately against Zebre this evening
Leinster head coach Matt O'Connor is adamant that there will be no complacency from his side as they look to bounce back immediately against Zebre this evening
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

It was a result that not many would have expected as Leinster fell to a home defeat to the Dragons last weekend but coach Matt O'Connor has pulled no punches in admitting how poor the performance was.

Leinster have the opportunity to get back on track against Zebre this evening but the Australian is fully aware that an "unacceptable" performance like last week will not suffice in front of the home crowd.

"The performance that we put out at the RDS last week was unacceptable," O'Connor conceded.

"We've got an opportunity with a really short turnaround to fix it. The pain and frustration that's been in the environment off the back of not being good enough hopefully drives us in the right direction tonight. There was disappointment because we left ourselves down but full credit to Dragons, they came with a plan to get a result and did.

"We left ourselves down mentally and whether it was preparation or whether it was post-setbacks, we didn't think we were good enough.

"The reality of it was though that we beat ourselves and in front of our fans that's unacceptable," he added.

The league's bottom side are the visitors to the RDS this evening and O'Connor is adamant that there will be no complacency from his side as they look to immediately bounce back.

As expected, the focus on the UCD training paddock has solely been on Leinster rather than on the Italians.

"Zebre are irrelevant to me," O'Connor said.

"They will do what they do and pick who they pick. We need to make sure that regardless of how well they play or who they pick that we bring a performance.

"We need to win. We need to play as well as can and get as many points as we can because if we're talking about finishing in the top two because there aren't many opportunities left."

A bonus-point win would be the ideal remedy to last week's defeat as well as building towards a tough away trip to Ospreys next week and O'Connor maintained that the despite the disappointing mood within the camp, his players are determined to put it right in front of their own supporters.

O'Connor bemoaned that fact that his side were unable to turn last week's second-half pressure into points and they are now bidding to avoid back-to-back defeats at the RDS for the first time.

"We were probably that 10 or 15pc off and the performance showed that if you don't deliver close to your best in this league, you're not going to win and there's a valuable lesson in that.

"You prepare the best you can every week and give everyone the respect they deserve.

"As we found out last week, regardless of who you play, if you don't put out a performance, you won't win.

"We've prepared like we have any other week and we're going to try and deliver on the things that we're good at and make sure that we have more points at the end of the game."

Meanwhile, O'Connor refused to deny that Leinster would look at scrum-half Peter Stringer as a possible signing next season.

The former Munster player will be a free agent at the end of season when he leaves Bath and O'Connor admitted he could still do a job at this level.

"We're looking at blokes all the time because we might lose two nines for the World Cup. Anyone who comes on the market, and especially who's Irish, is of interest.

"He's doing a great job for Bath and if it was a World Cup slot, then it might be an opportunity for us."

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport