Saturday 23 March 2019

Doris desperate to make most of opportunities

Caelen Doris
Caelen Doris

Ryan Corry

With senior figures within the squad out of the way during Six Nations time, all the focus for younger and academy players at Leinster is centred on staking their claim for a more regular place in the match-day squad.

With the strength in depth available to Leinster, it's even more vital that players still in UCD right now make it known that they are ready and willing.

Caelan Doris is one of those with a huge amount of potential and hopefully, he says, with a string of starts coming his way in this window.

"It's nice to get a couple in a row so this period is huge for the younger guys.

"With all the internationals away, it's an opportunity for the academy guys and young senior guys so I'm looking forward to taking that," says the back-rower.

And despite coming off the back of a double-winning season last year, this has been one of the areas that Leinster were able to highlight as needing improvement, as evident from last weekend's Zebre clash.

"Something we've talked about this year, that we want to build on from last year, was not having dips or slightly off performances in these periods so maintaining our standards during the week which leads in to good performances at the weekend.

"We knew it was going to be tough going over there. We started well as we had planned to do so but unfortunately let them back into the game, gave them momentum off a few of our mistakes and they climbed back into it."

It's a point that scrum coach John Fogarty was also quick to emphasise with last weekend's trip to Viadana proving what a tricky time of year they are in.

"I think last Saturday was frustrating at times for us," Fogarty said of Leinster's performance in Stadio Zaffanella.

"We started quite well, and then we had this lull in the second half of the first half, it was really, really frustrating.

"There was probably a bit of a mental drop and that led to us getting into trouble in different parts of the game.

"There will be opportunities for other people and if that happens again we have to make sure we're building our performance because our season moves on as well and we're making sure that we're putting ourselves in a strong position prior to this Champions Cup quarter-final against Ulster"

In Doris's opinion Southern Kings are a side similar to Zebre and could provide many of the same challenges.

"We saw how dangerous Kings can be while we were over there. A big tough pack with a very speedy back-three in particular.

"They can be loose at times but that's also part of their strength, they play an offloading game and have scored some length-of-the-field tries this season so we know it's going to be a challenge. We're all looking forward to it."

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