Friday 30 September 2016

Ross: Watching on last week fuelled our desire for Euro glory

Published 15/04/2016 | 02:30

‘I’d be lying if I said we weren’t jealous watching those guys playing in big European games,’ says Mike Ross Photo: Sportsfile
‘I’d be lying if I said we weren’t jealous watching those guys playing in big European games,’ says Mike Ross Photo: Sportsfile

Watching European knockout rugby from the outside isn't something that Leinster have ever been accustomed to but last weekend's experience will be used to fuel the fire so that it doesn't happen again any time soon.

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That's according to Mike Ross, who after an unexpected week off is raring to go again against Edinburgh.

It's already been a long slog but with a Pro12 title very much up for grabs, Ross is determined to finish the campaign with silverware before touring South Africa with Ireland.

Ross watched his former team-mate Jimmy Gopperth rescue Wasps against Exeter last Saturday and although he was happy for the Kiwi, he would much rather it was Leinster who were playing in the Champions Cup quarter-finals.

Jealous

"I'd be lying if I said we weren't jealous watching those guys playing in big European games because that's what we play for as professionals, but we'll have to take hit this year and use it to fuel our desire for next year," the tighthead said.

"We've had a great run of success over the years with seven trophies or something like that, we were on a great run. We missed out last year and now we have an opportunity to get a bit of silverware this year with the three games coming up.

"It's a big opportunity for ourselves - historically the home team makes it through to the final but we won't count our chickens on that one."

Edinburgh are the visitors to the RDS this evening and although Leinster will be fully expected to build on the win over Munster, the Scots are still battling to finish in the top six.

"We won't be looking past Edinburgh this weekend because they've the Scottish front-row, pretty much, and a few others like John Hardy and a few in the backline," Ross pointed out.

"From my own point of view I'm not really looking past the front-row of (WP) Nel, Ross Ford and (Alasdair) Dickinson because they've given teams a lot of hard times over the last few months."

Nel will be central to Edinburgh's hopes of winning the battle at scrum time and Ross knows what the South African-born prop is capable of.

Skinned

"I first came up against him a couple of years ago when he was playing for Edinburgh. I don't know if you remember it but he skinned Shane Jennings on the outside and ran in from about 40 metres, which I thought was absolutely disgraceful," he joked.

"He's a good player, he didn't get a look in with South Africa for whatever reason and made the decision to come over to Scotland and it's worked out really well for him."

Leinster have their sights set on winning back the Pro12 title and Ross admitted that it would be a "big vindication" for what has been a huge squad effort this season.

"I think we've used something like 55 players or something like that, it was a lot - it's a lot for Leinster, usually we're in the 40s or so.

"So there are a lot of guys who have come in and got experience and hopefully we'll be reaping the benefits of that this year and next year."

Irish Independent

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