Friday 23 February 2018

'It was one of those days you'd be better off forgetting about' - Dominic Ryan

Leinster's Dominic Ryan (Photo: SPORTSFILE)
Leinster's Dominic Ryan (Photo: SPORTSFILE)
David Kelly

David Kelly

You suspect of all the people who were damaged by the humiliation of what happened in Coventry's Ricoh Arena last weekend, Dominic Ryan might end up lugging the heaviest luggage of the lot.

"For me personally, it's hard to play well in a team that's getting bashed. But look, I think there's a lot more games left in the season to show what we can do," he says.

He and Leinster will get another chance to atone on Friday night against the Dragons - being sent to Newport seems a fitting enough punishment for the pain they inflicted upon their loyal support last weekend.

The message from Leinster appears to be that routine to all mired in temporary crisis like, for example, the realisation that one's house has just become engulfed in flames: get the hell out, keep moving forward. And never look back.

Albeit this could also apply to those who have been in Coventry or, for that matter, Newport.


"Speaking to a few lads, while we have to react to what happened, because we made bad mistakes and did stupid things, it's really important not to let it get us down," says Ryan.

"There's nothing to gain by getting annoyed about it. It was an unacceptable outcome. We have to examine at the set-piece and defending the mauls, or in the scrums. And then the backs need to sort out their stuff.

"But there is no point looking at the end result and getting down about it. Sure, you can learn about some of the things within the result that contributed to that. But there's no point in dwelling on the end result.

"Look, it happened. It should not have happened. We have more important things to worry about this weekend.

"It's very important not to forget the momentum that we were building before that, the great game against Bath - there was a lot of youth in that team who showed what they can do.

"And in the Pro12 results before that, particularly Ospreys away - I thought that's the best we have clicked this season.

"While it is a European game, and we can knock it off as if we had nothing to play for, it did happen. While we have to look back and try correct a few things, it was just maybe one of those days that you would just maybe be better off forgetting about."

Trouble is, coaches and supporters will not. It remains lodged in storage somewhere, especially when the previous week's efforts by the young guns against Bath set a standard that, bafflingly, their supposedly betters and elders palpably failed to reach.

"There were a lot of people saying we want the young guys to play because the old guys are this or they're that," adds Ryan. "It's completely different circumstances.

"Six people getting their first European start have a massive point to prove. I'm not saying there's anything less, but physiologically it might be a bigger occasion for young people getting their first start at home in front of their parents, in their home ground, against a really experienced and feared Bath side, with a lot of danger in them.

"While that was all there with Wasps, I suppose we were just lucky in a way that it happened last weekend as opposed to this weekend."

It's a rum theory and not all will sip from this particular font without spitting it out. Bottom line is that Leinster need a response, whoever shows up in the jersey; Leinster confirmed last night that one of their 35 absentees, captain Isa Nacewa, has undergone a knee procedure.

"We have big standards here at Leinster. It was unacceptable to say the least. Us older guys need to drive the culture now."

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