Blues must fire for Dragons
WHILE coach Joe Schmidt is not about to reach for the panic button yet, he will put a heavy emphasis on the need for greater intensity against the Dragons for the first PRO12 League match at home on Saturday.
Otherwise, Leinster could face a second successive loss. Of course, it wasn’t that long ago that there were calls for the head of Schmidt on a silver platter when he oversaw three defeats in his first four matches back in the autumn of 2010.
There have been standards set since then. When they are not met,
coaches and players are united by their frustrations. Forwards coach Jono Gibbes said: “We’ve sort of gone past beating each other up to get it right for the weekend. We have to look at a few things, deal with a few harsh realities.”
Those may first come from injuries. Dominic Ryan (ankle) and Isaac Boss (elbow) are almost certainly out for Saturday. Richardt Strauss (stinger) and Aaron Dundon (foot and eye) are doubtful but Fionn Carr (nose) should be fit.
Club captain Leo Cullen and South African signing Quinn Roux should add depth to the engine room as both will come into the equation.
Intelligence, instinct, nous, call it what you want, Leinster will have to speed-dial into their natural game quickly given how the Dragons scalped brand new Italian club Zebre 37-6 at Rodney Parade on Friday night to lead the table.
“Hopefully, we have taken on a few harsh realities and we can bring that because it will be bloody important this week,” added Gibbes.
“There is no hiding away from the fact that we weren’t tough enough in the collision. That has nothing to do with experience. There are cold, hard facts to deal with.”