Friday 24 March 2017

Players' response pleases McQuilkin

Leinster’s Kurt McQuilkin
Leinster’s Kurt McQuilkin
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

As defence coach, last Sunday's defeat to Wasps made for grim viewing for Kurt McQuilkin but he is confident that his side can bounce back against Bath tomorrow.

Leinster leaked three tries at the RDS on their way to racking up a record home defeat in Europe while Bath's game in Toulon was postponed.

The English side are bound to come into tomorrow's crucial clash fresher but McQuilkin is expecting a big response from his players, particularly in defence.

"Look, it's not nice, obviously. It's disappointing that we didn't go out and do what we planned to do," he said.

"I guess when you look at it, people said Wasps was a very winnable game, but they're still a classy side.

"I guess it's a pool we're in, that a classy side like that is seen as a must win at home. But it's not ideal. You've got to win your home games and we haven't done that, so we're behind the eight ball now.

"Is it terminal? No. But we've got to get over there in a tough place this weekend at the Rec in Bath and grab a result out of there, any which way we can."

There has been an added edge to training this week as Leinster look to salvage their European campaign against a side who will be eager to exact some form of revenge for their quarter-final defeat last season.

"You just want to see some intent. And they have," McQuilkin insisted.

"They've turned up pissed off and not happy with the result, and not happy with themselves, not happy with the collective and just not happy with the performance.

"I guess you don't want them going out there knocking the head off each other. You just want them going out there and training with a bit of intent, and just also with composure, so that in those crucial times you do the right thing.

"I guess there is that touch of they're all a bit peeved off, and it will be interesting to see how they front up."

McQuilkin has warned about the threats that Bath pose but he is adamant that Leinster must focus on their own game-plan if they are to come away from the Rec with a crucial victory.

"Ideally, you want a reasonably firm ground. It would be great. Having been there before, it can be quite a 'puggy,' sticky ground and, if that's the case, we've got to deal with it too just like they'll have to.

"These days, you don't come across too many grounds like that. In this case, if it is a wet, sticky, dirty day, we'll have to get wet, dirty, sticky with it.

"They have very heavy hands when you think of Leroy Houston, Hooper, there are some big boppers. Out the back, there's Matawalu, Ford, Eastman, Watson, there's some gas out there too.

"It's formidable. So is Europe. If you want to do well in Europe you've got to beat some big sides. We're going to have to roll our sleeves up and get stuck into it.

"We've got some pretty strong personalities there and some pretty experienced players. I'm very confident they've come back in the right state of mind and ready to stick it out for Leinster.

"It's a process whereby we (coaches) go hand-in-hand with our senior player group. They are very active within our environment. It's a collective approach getting all the boys jigged up.

"We've boxed ourselves into a corner, now we've got to box ourselves out.

"It's not terminal. It's been done before, losing that first game and still getting something out of Europe. But, it's not ideal."

Irish Independent

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