Thursday 29 September 2016

Munster showed us the way to beat Toulon - Matt O'Connor

Published 17/04/2015 | 02:30

O’Connor played down speculation around his own position as he received strong backing from captain Jamie Heaslip, who said players must take responsibility for recent poor results
O’Connor played down speculation around his own position as he received strong backing from captain Jamie Heaslip, who said players must take responsibility for recent poor results

MATT O'CONNOR says Leinster must take a leaf out of Munster's play-book and play a less expansive game against Toulon on Sunday.

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The Australian believes his side took too many risks against the European champions in last year's quarter-final and, having watched Munster come closer to beating Bernard Laporte's men in the last four, he wants to see things kept tighter in Marseille.

O'Connor played down speculation around his own position as he received strong backing from captain Jamie Heaslip, who said players must take responsibility for recent poor results.

And, while the odds are against Leinster pulling off a result to reach a first final since they beat Ulster in 2012, the coach believes his team can produce the desired performance.

"Definitely not," he replied when asked if Leinster need to be more expansive at the Stade Velodrome. "It wasn't a lack of ambition last year, I think it was a lack of execution. There was a lot of intent, probably too much.

"We looked at our game in relation to what Munster went down and delivered in their semi-final with no ambition and managed the game significantly better than we did. We looked at it as a key learning for us that there were execution bits that let us down. It wasn't a lack of ambition. You've got to play. You can't absorb against Toulon They're too good.

"You've got to play, to execute, to take your opportunities. You've got to make your opportunities first and foremost, and you've got to execute on them. There was no lack of ambition last year.

"The fact that the stakes are so high would give me confidence in relation to the quality of players we've got on the field.

"There's going to be no lack of effort and the pleasing thing in performances - although we haven't got the results - is the effort, and if you get the effort and you get the accuracy then I think we're pretty close to where I think we need to be."

Irish Independent

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