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Dundon eager to stay in the frame despite new face

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Leinster's Aaron Dundon. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile

Leinster's Aaron Dundon. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile

Leinster's Aaron Dundon. Photo: Ramsey Cardy / Sportsfile

AARON DUNDON mightn't have too much time to further his case to Matt O'Connor.

At present, Ireland international Sean Cronin is first choice for Leinster. Dundon is second. Richardt Strauss is making his way back from surgery.

Quentin MacDonald should be making his way from New Zealand, sooner rather than later: "I don't know him personally," shared Dundon.

"But, I've seen him play a few games. He's a very good player. He played with Tasman and I know he has been involved in the Crusaders before."

The message is clear. Dundon has to make the most of the time he has left. The burden of having just two senior hookers at Leinster is a heavy one to carry.

"It's good for me to get a run of games. My fitness is improving and the more games you play, you learn more and more. I'm delighted to be getting a few runs.

"Long may it last."

The club needs three hookers. Cronin is playing better than he ever has. Dundon just needs game time to build up confidence in himself and in those around him.

This could be seen in Edinburgh last Friday when he had trouble striking the ball as it rolled into the scrum. The removal of the hit-and-chase means the hooker has to scrummage and strike at the same time.

This leaves him vulnerable to the opposition hooker driving up in under him, making the scrum unstable and taking away Leinster's platform.

Coach O'Connor can't afford to see another hooker fall any time soon: "It's concerning just having two. It's a specialist position so you really need three experienced hookers in there," said Dundon.

"Because if one goes down, then two, especially with those big games coming up, you need those experienced players."

Leinster have not been able to turn out performances in the last two outings that are commensurate with the expectations developed by that five-star sacking of Northampton Saints in the Heineken Cup at the start of December.

It doesn't take a great imagination to envisage O'Connor clouding the air blue with bad language at the post-match reviews.

"There's definitely been a few harsh words as there should be. We all know that the last two performances haven't been good enough. We have to back it up this weekend," said Dundon.

"He's obviously disappointed with the last two weeks, especially after the victory we had over in Northampton and the way that we played there. It was gut-wrenching.

"He's disappointed because he knows we can do better. He's expecting a better performance from us this weekend.

"He went through the video and tried to tell us where we were going wrong, where we were making mistakes and where we need to improve.

"Mainly it's about not picking up enough tries in the killer area, the opposition 22."

Leinster will have to rediscover the killer touch.


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