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Costello: Schmidt needs time to settle in

Former Leinster No8 Victor Costello has asked for the province's new coach, Joe Schmidt, to be given time to adjust following the Blues' disastrous 29-13 defeat in Treviso last weekend.

The Italians won their opening Magners League match at the Stadio di Monigo against the Scarlets, but Leinster, with players such as the Lions quartet of Rob Kearney, Luke Fitzgerald, Gordon D'Arcy and Nathan Hines, were expected to deliver against the home side. Instead, the Irish side's record for this season reads as two away losses and one home win.

The defeat in Italy has placed new coach Joe Schmidt under early pressure ahead of this weekend's trip to Murrayfield as he seeks to build confidence before the visit of table-topping Munster the weekend after.

However, Costello says Schmidt needs time to settle in, particularly with the complications of injury and the Ireland player management programme.

Leinster were without injured captain Leo Cullen in Treviso while other senior players, such as Jamie Heaslip and Brian O'Driscoll, were rested under the player management scheme, leaving the visitors short on rallying figures when the pressure came on.

"Any new coach takes a while to bed in," said Costello. "He (Schmidt) needs to get to know his players. Don't forget he coached Clermont against Leinster last year and he could have had certain ideas about Leinster and he could have been wrong. So, he'll have ideas. It will take a while to sort it all out."

Munster have their own serious problems at the moment as the province has been rocked by a triple injury blow as Felix Jones, Ian Dowling and Denis Fogarty will be out for most of the season.

All three players were injured in Saturday's 22-10 Magners League victory over champions Ospreys.

The cruciate ligament damage full-back Jones sustained could rule him out for six months. Dowling also looks unlikely to be available for a large portion of the season. Hooker Fogarty was forced off with a shoulder injury and Munster expect him to be out until the new year.


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