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Schmidt lashes 'loose' Leinster

Coach Joe Schmidt knows Leinster will have to quickly lose the "naïve" approach that cost them against Glasgow.

The always-smiling Kiwi appeared out of the driving rain at University College Dublin yesterday to give a straight-forward, honest appraisal of how it all went wrong on opening night.

"I thought we were naïve in that we probably didn't look after the ball as well as we needed to. We weren't well enough disciplined," he said.

"We gave away penalties that were naïve -- that's what I mean by naïve. I think we gave it up too easily. That was the frustration."

If Leinster are to carve out their first win of the Magners League, at home to Cardiff Blues on Saturday, and, eventually, go one better than last year's runners-up finish, they will have to sharpen up in all aspects of their play.

"We have to be a lot more accurate. We were disappointingly loose with the ball. We were disappointingly, kind of, lacking in hunger as well," stated Schmidt.

"Glasgow really 'out-hungered' us in the end. They chased harder. They were more proactive on the ball and that's a disappointing thing when we led by 10 points at half-time."

It is very disconcerting that an inexperienced side should lack the 'hunger' to compete. It is the one attribute expected of a group of players, presumably, eager to further their careers.

More specifically, Schmidt's decision to turn back to Isa Nacewa for the pivotal responsibility of applying control at out-half backfired somewhat. Once again, the former Auckland Blue did not display the requisite kicking skills to pin down the opposition.

"Isa kicked one out on the full, missed a penalty, when he was going for touch, and, I think, Luke Fitzgerald kicked one out on the full as well," he said.

"We had Ian Madigan there and we toyed with the idea of playing Ian Madigan or Ian McKinley -- one of the two younger guys. But, it came down to organisation. Isa has been around for a number of years and those other guys are young.

"We sort of lost shape in the second half against Leicester and against Wasps. We thought that (playing Nacewa) might give us more organisation and less kicking."



Crisis

The current front row crisis could be eased by the return of tight-head Mike Ross from a calf injury this week. The percentages look to be tilting in his favour.

Meanwhile, short-term trialist Simon Shawe and Irish-qualified signing Ben Prescott, on a single season contract, will continue to work on their reasonable contributions in what was a solid scrum.

"We are really delighted he came down for Ballymena," offered Schmidt. "It's a big difference playing AIL Division 2 to suddenly going out in the Magners League and having to front up against guys who have played international footie.

"We are really happy with where he's started and we are hope that we can push him along a little bit further. He's a dead solid fella. He's literally an amateur and he's come to us because he wants to play footie."

Like Shawe, Schmidt has precious little time to adjust before Dai Young's Cardiff Blues roll into town on Saturday.


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