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Jennings: We're not unbeatable

FLANKER Shane Jennings has rubbished the claim that Leinster looked "unbeatable" in their Heineken Cup semi-final dismissal of Cardiff Blues.

"We're certainly not unbeatable," responded Jennings. "We'll keep the head down and try and keep improving. If we can do that, we're going to be a tough team to play against."

There are two schools of thought. The first, Leinster looked unbeatable against Cardiff. The second, Cardiff were bad enough to make Leinster look that way. It is more a case of the latter than the former.

The sensationalists with short memories have already forgotten how The Ospreys came to Dublin in the PRO12 League three matches ago and inflicted Leinster's first defeat in 20 matches.

"Unbeatable is a tag we're not putting on ourselves. Three weeks ago, we were beaten and it was here (The RDS)," added Jennings.

Before Leinster have to make a treacherous trip to play their Heineken Cup semi-final in Bordeaux, they have to deal with fellow European semi-finalists Edinburgh at The RDS on Friday night and Ulster at Ravenhill the next week in the league.



Mantra

Coach Joe Schmidt will push the 'one game at a time' mantra. But, Edinburgh have all their eggs in the Heineken basket. They have free-fallen to 11th in the league and have looked decidedly disinterested.

Former Connacht coach Michael Bradley has taken the very Irish attitude of concentrating on Europe. Their eyes must be on Ulster, while Leinster look to complete the league double over the Scots.

"Every time we play them in the league, we always have very tough games over there (Edinburgh). It was the same story this year. It was quite a high-scoring (36-28) game. We were sloppy at times," said Jennings.

"They've got good counter-attackers and they finished well. We are expecting no different this week. They've got a very good back row, very good ball carriers."

No more than the scrum, the breakdown has been a bone of contention for everyone to chew over this season. There has been a recent emphasis placed on penalising 'sealing off' to allow a contest over the ball.

"Against a team like Edinburgh they can get to 10, 12, 14, 15 phases. They are very good at it. It is going to be a good competition at the breakdown.

"It is massively important. The team that is sharpest there and disciplined enough not to give away penalties will usually come out on top."

Leinster are in the same position as last year in that they are chasing the double. The circumstances are different, however. They are 10 points clear in the PRO12.



Control

"Fortunately, this year we are not chasing down the league as we might have been last year. We are somewhat more in control this year with the cushion of points.

"That has obviously helped us. We've done a lot of good work during the year which has put us in contention for this," said Jennings.

There is the inevitable shift down in gears from Europe to the PRO12. But, Leinster want to finish top and ensure a home route in the play-offs.

"We feel we have a good opportunity of getting a win and that obviously will further our chance of getting a home semi-final," said Jennings.

There is a strong argument to suggest Leinster are better this year than they were last. The signings of Brad Thorn, Nathan White, Damien Browne, Fionn Carr and Jamie Hagan have improved the depth of the squad.

"We have added some good players," said Jennings. "The lads are maturing. The standards in training are always improving. The players have to push that.

"We haven't won anything, yet. Last year, we won stuff."


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