Tuesday 21 November 2017

'The likelihood of them getting out of that pool is about 3 pc' - Brian O'Driscoll urges Leinster to concentrate on the Pro 12

Leinster playeers Rhys Ruddock and Dominic Ryan following their defeat to Bath
Leinster playeers Rhys Ruddock and Dominic Ryan following their defeat to Bath

Tom Rooney

Brian O’Driscoll has said that Leinster should set aside European ambitions for this season and give their complete attention to the Guinness Pro 12.

The former Ireland and Leinster captain was speaking to Ger Gilroy on Newstalk’s Off the Ball prior to tonight’s local derby with Ulster at the RDS, which the Leo Cullen's side won by 8-3 thanks to Sean Cronin's first half try.

The 36-year-old believes that, after back-to-back losses to Wasps and Bath - in addition to December’s forthcoming double header with Toulon- the Blues have next to no chance of progressing from Pool 5.

“To be honesty with you, Europe has to be shelved now,” said O’Driscoll. “The likelihood of them getting out of that pool is about 3 pc. They need to now focus on the Pro 12 and getting back to winning ways, and just play their way back in to a bit of form.

“Not play the Leinster brand or try to entertain; just to get back with a good, hard-fought victory this evening would be fantastic.”

Ulster, too, have had a tough start in Europe, and were trounced by Saracens last weekend so a positive result would have done wonders for morale as Les Kiss continues to bed in as Director of Rugby. Worrying, a penalty from Paddy Jackson early in the first half was all they could muster.

O'Driscoll touched on Johnny Sexton's mediocre performances in the blue jersey since returning from Racing Metro and World Cup duty and how, most notably against Wasps, the out half looked far from his probing self.

"Johnny hasn’t been at his best since he’s come back. I’ve watched all the games he’s been involved in and I’m sure, certainly in the Wasps game, he made some uncharacteristic errors you would never expect from him.

"Particularly, multiple kicks out on the full, or that kick to the corner when Leinster needed to put some pressure on and he kicked it dead; these things aren’t very Johnny-esque. He’s probably struggling a little bit for form, but he just needs to play his way into it as well," he said.

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