Sunday 19 August 2018

Fogarty: If we are complacent, the Scarlets will take advantage

John Fogarty. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
John Fogarty. Photo: Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Prior to Leinster's Champions Cup semi-final win over the Scarlets last month, Academy player Will Connors was the unfortunate chosen one to play the role of Tadhg Beirne during training in the week leading up to the game.

Perhaps it was the fact that the former Ireland U-20s flanker wears a similar blue scrum-cap as his fellow Kildare native and former Clongowes student Beirne, but either way, Connors took some punishment in training.

It's all designed to negate the threat that the former Leinster player will pose in Saturday's Guinness PRO14 final, and if the European clash is anything to go by, then it will work a treat.

Tactic

This week, Oisín Dowling was forced to play the role as the Leinster coaches opted to deploy a similar training-ground tactic.

"I think he's (Beirne) a guy we have to police," scrum coach John Fogarty admitted.

"He's someone who is important to the energy of their team. They get so much momentum from the moments he has in games. He is an important player for them obviously."

Leinster were able to keep Beirne and the rest of his team-mates quiet in their last meeting at the Aviva, but it is difficult to imagine the defending champions being so off the pace again.

"Defensively, that was something, we had to be good," Fogarty maintained. "I suppose in that game, we got so much energy from our carry, and then our chasing was necessary and needed because they turned us over at will when we played them this season.

"It was important, but I don't think we were high-fiving after the game. There is a certain amount of relief when you put something together, and then you watch it unfold and get rewarded for it. So there's a certain amount of relief.

"I think if we were to approach the game now in our heads, and think that, 'Right, we've got to get our carry right, the same format, the same template'... I think that if we think we just have to rock up and get this done, that we'll come undone.

"They will have no fear. No fear. They beat us last year out the gate, and they beat Munster in the final in the Aviva, so I think they're looking forward to that."

Leinster need one final collective effort to end the season with an historic double and they will be quietly confident of doing so, despite the exertions of recent weeks.

"They'll have so much emotional energy leading into this week because they won't like what happened in the Aviva the last day. And they'll learn as well," Fogarty continued.

"They've got a really good coaching team. I think they'll evolve and they'll learn, and that's something that we need to be so cautious and careful of.

"Like I said, we've got our eyes open this week, prepping today, for Scarlets in a final. If we really on what we've done in the past, well.

"The Munster game, it was impressive how the lads got together, it was an emotional week. We lacked detail in some of the prep, and I think that you saw that at the weekend.

Belief

"Some of our stuff, our maul didn't affect the game too much. So we lacked that little bit of detail but the lads together as a group, they were very tight. To stick it out and come out on top at the weekend, gave us another little level of belief.

"But, Stuart (Lancaster) says it, every game starts at zero. So we're preparing for a new game. We had to bring a new energy to it, we're expecting them to have adapted and evolve their game, bring more energy to it, and it's going to be a ferocious battle.

"Tadhg Beirne, (Aaron) Shingler, they can really frustrate a team that starts to chase a game. I think that happened to them when we played them in the Aviva, it's happened to us against them in the past. Let's see who gets through the first 20."

Irish Independent

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