| 15.1°C Dublin

Horgan: Don't attack Schmidt

Stalwart Shane Horgan has pleaded for patience under the Joe Schmidt regime as Leinster prepare for their first Magners League home match against Cardiff Blues on Saturday.

"We are still in the very early days of him putting forward his game plan. He is releasing information to us in piecemeal fashion because it takes time to get the details right," said Horgan.

"We will evolve over the course of the season. It will take a certain amount of game time. We have under-performed so far. That has been as a result of player performance, players not making the right decisions."

There were tentative signs of the Schmidt revolution last week as the plan to find the outside three backs in space opened corridors down the tramlines. It just didn't last long enough to guarantee the spoils.

"If we could control the game the way we did in the first-half (against Glasgow), there was no reason why we couldn't do the same in the second-half," said Horgan.

For certain, Leinster cannot afford to release their grip on the Cardiff Blues or they will be torn from limb to limb by the much-touted dark horses, who have been injected with belief from their European Challenge Cup final win over Toulon last May.

Cardiff Blues coach Dai Young made his intentions clear before the first round of matches, backing Welsh confidence to tackle and take out the Irish provinces, especially Leinster and Munster, in the Magners League.

The Blues players followed their coach's tough words with actions in the Dan Parks-inspired bonus-point 34-23 defeat of Edinburgh last Saturday.

"They tried to play the ball off the ground as much as possible. They offloaded whenever possible. When they really got to grips with it, they deprived Edinburgh of the ball," said Horgan.

"I would suggest that is what they will try to do when they come to The RDS on Saturday and we will be trying to do something similar ourselves."

It all points towards a blockbusting all-out attacking game in line with the Tri-Nations template of ambitious, attractive rugby, driven by clean, uncluttered, almost uncontested rucks.


"The way the ruck has developed now, if you are not in on the ball immediately, the ruck is as good as dead. The tendency is not to commit numbers there. The defences span out," Horgan stated.

Of course, the International Rugby Board has been forced to alter the landscape of the breakdown by the southern hemisphere countries in order to lift the level of entertainment by encouraging tries.

"If players try to slow up the ball with hands in or lying on, they are going to be blown off the pitch. That is coming through strongly from the IRB," added Horgan.

"On the other hand, the ruck ball is fast, which is always to the advantage of the attack. It is almost like a new game this year.

"The changes will make for a more spectacular game, a lot of phases, a lot of attacking rugby."

Bring it on!