Tuesday 20 March 2018

Dempsey: Tough away days can provide home comforts

Girvan Dempsey's Leinster A team face Leeds Carnegie. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Girvan Dempsey's Leinster A team face Leeds Carnegie. Photo: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Leinster 'A' coach Girvan Dempsey is adamant that his side's tough run of away games in the British and Irish Cup will stand to them in this evening's final.

For the second consecutive season, Leinster faced away quarter and semi-final clashes, but their win over Pontypridd a month ago sealed a home decider in Donnybrook.

Dempsey's side are bidding to retain the title that they won after beating Newcastle Falcons in Kingston Park last year and the former Ireland international believes that travelling to difficult away venues has heightened his young players' experience.

"Last year we had a tough route to the final with an away quarter-final to Bristol and an away semi-final to Munster and then an away final against Newcastle," he said.

"This year has been something similar. Case in point was a few weeks back against Ponty away. The crowds are probably bigger than our players experience when they play club rugby.

"For me, that's the beauty of the British and Irish Cup. You can't buy that sort of experience. Players get used to the travel, different types of opposition, physical English packs, Welsh teams who like to throw the ball around, varying conditions and crowds," Dempsey added.

Their opponents, Leeds Carnegie, were knocked out of the Championship semi-final play-off last weekend and despite Dempsey describing them as being more "battle hardened", he doesn't hold any fears for his side going into the final.

"It's not really a concern. The guys have been training with the senior team and they look sharp. I'm hoping they'll be fresh," he said.

"Leeds have obviously played more games lately, so they'll be battle hardened. It's a huge benefit to have a full week to prepare the players for the game.

"We got to see Leeds play in the last couple of weeks against London Welsh, so that was beneficial too."

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