Saturday 17 August 2019

Brian O'Driscoll reveals what disappointed him most about Leinster's display against Wasps

BT Sport's Brian O'Driscoll. European Rugby Champions Cup, Pool 5, Round 1, Leinster v Wasps. RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE
BT Sport's Brian O'Driscoll. European Rugby Champions Cup, Pool 5, Round 1, Leinster v Wasps. RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin. Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE Newsdesk Newsdesk

Brian O'Driscoll was on duty for BT Sport last weekend and watched as Leinster slumped to their worst home defeat in European Cup history.

The Leinster team has been heavily criticised since the 33-6 defeat to Wasps, a result which means they must beat Bath at the Rec tomorrow to keep their Champions Cup hopes alive.

Speaking on Off The Ball on Newstalk, the three-time Heineken Cup winner believes Leo Cullen's men have a mountain to climb to reach the quarter-finals.

"In general, you've got to win your home game in Europe but particularly in that group . Three-time winners Toulon, two-time winners Wasps and one-time winners Bath," he said.

"It's incredible to think there are nine trophies in that pool alone and in the other four pools there's 10. That's a fairly amazing statistic.

"You absolutely need to win your home games and to lose your first one at home against probably, what you might perceive, as the weakest team in that pool, now all of a sudden Leinster are considered the weakest in the pool

"You have to win at the Rec and then you have back-to-back games against Toulon in December.

O'Driscoll revealed what he believed to be the most frustrating aspect of Leinster's below-par display.

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"The first half was actually okay, they put together a lot of phases but the Wasps defence was incredible, they identified what they needed to do. When they won the rucks they sent numbers in and when they lost the impacts they spread the defensive line," he added.

"They kept the scoreline ticking over with a couple of infringements we made and  went 9-6 up and then for the fortuitous try with Dave Kearney's  error and suddenly you go in 16-6 down and you wonder how did that happen.

"A couple of the key players had the quietest games I've ever seen them have in a blue jersey. They conceded early enough with that Joe Simpson try and then they had to chase it and they just made error after error.

"For me, the most disappointing thing and it's an attitude thing, is winning the 50-50s.

"When you spill the ball, mistakes happen, make sure you don't compound it with another mistake. Get down on the ball, kill it, don't allow turnover ball. I just didn't think that intent was there.

"That's an attitude thing and that only refkects on the players and not on the coaches. Players have to have that right attitude.

"Rugby is very attitude based. That's why sometimes the less talented teams are able to win games. Their work rate is greater.

"Losing Sean O'Brien is a big loss. For Ireland and Leinster over the next five years, when Sean O'Brien is not playing it's a major loss because he gives you gainline.

"Luke Fitzgerald and Ben Te'o are back and will give that in the backline."

O'Driscoll is enjoying his retirement but wanted to be in the video room with his old charges this week.

I would love to have seen how he reacted because he's not one to get angry, he's like the parent that tells you 'their disappointed' and that's worse."

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