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Horgan holds up guilty hand

Ireland wing Shane Horgan has admitted to "missing a shocker" of a tackle against Edinburgh in his effort to shoulder some of the responsibility for Leinster's dreadful start to the season.

"It taints every aspect of your life," he admitted of Leinster's awful start to the season and the miss on Tim Visser for the cost of five points.

"It is only the player's fault. I hold my hand up. I missed a shocker at the weekend. It was very costly. You need to put your hand up as a player and admit that is unacceptable."

Of course, the League leaders Munster are next on the agenda on Saturday ahead of the opening two rounds of the Heineken Cup. The sell-out crowd will expect fireworks from both sides.

While Leinster have often taken a full complement of players to Edinburgh and under-performed in the last 10 years, there will be no mercy shown at Aviva Stadium by their own fans and, certainly, by Munster, who have lost their last four to the men in blue.

It was not so much the defeat as the manner of it that was so shocking against Edinburgh. Schmidt's players need something to spark them into life. There is nothing like the sight of the red jersey to concentrate minds. Is this a good time to play Munster?

"There isn't a good time and there isn't a bad time. It is great to have a huge game like this and the added bonus of playing it at the Aviva," said Horgan. "When you play Munster every time is going to be equally difficult and (potentially) rewarding as well. It is important to get a win because we need a win for many reasons. We haven't had the start we would have liked. We are playing on our home patch in Dublin and it is against Munster."

The pressure has moved firmly onto the slim shoulders of his coach Joe Schmidt. But, there are many mitigating factors. Horgan's honest observations are evidence enough that there were harsh words passed during the post-match video analysis. There is no hiding place under the gaze of the camera.

The pain of that one moment for Horgan was quickly overtaken by the many more that precipitated Leinster's third and most alarming loss of the season. Their defensive intensity vanished.

Their renowned handling was suspect, to say the least. Their discipline was, well, undisciplined.

"There are a lot of individual errors and those mistakes are costly," he said. "Once you eliminate some of those early season errors, you won't be in bad shape. As long as the individual errors are made, you are going to pay a heavy toll for them.

"We are doing the right things in training. We need to move that on and be harder on ourselves, be more physical and not accept the mistakes we have been making.

"There is a big challenge at the weekend and we are looking forward to that. We've had the three losses. We haven't had the start that we would have liked or maybe even expected."

However, Leinster have enjoyed unprecedented recent success over Munster, racking up four straight wins in a dominant period.

Will this provide confidence? "You don't really gain much from looking back at those matches against Munster because every time you play them it is another massive challenge.

"Individually, in those games, there were swings in them. They are very fine margins generally. I have no doubt that will be the case again this week. There are all these reasons to play. There are enough reasons for us to win this week."


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