Thursday 19 April 2018

Everyone is so proud of the Ireland lads

Player Diary: Ross Molony

Ross Molony hopes Leinster can be boosted by the Six Nations success of team-mate Johnny Sexton
Ross Molony hopes Leinster can be boosted by the Six Nations success of team-mate Johnny Sexton

Ross Molony

Yes, it's a Guinness PRO14 week and yes it's a massive few weeks for the club but I can only start by talking about Ireland's Six Nations title win, and a Grand Slam at that, last weekend.

I had many hats on as I watched. I was an Irishman first and foremost, but also a rugby fan and a team-mate of some of the lads playing and watching on you couldn't but be immensely proud of what they achieved out there over the course of the campaign but also in seeing it out like they did in Twickenham.

It was one of the most clinical Irish performances that I have ever seen. Every time they entered England's 22 they came away with something. Similarly, the physicality in their defence was immense.

Those moments often tell you most about where a team is at and, for me, they spoke volumes.

The mindset of the players was on point when it could have been anything but. Having already won the Championship with a game to spare, there were enough reasons maybe to get caught cold. But no.

Instead they go to Twickenham and put in a performance of quality and of ruthless efficiency.

Johnny Sexton
Johnny Sexton

It was really something else. I can only hope in Leinster that we can emulate that going forward into the last push of our season.

That final push started in earnest this week. We had the internationals back in to us on Tuesday morning and that offered the coaches the opportunity to lay out the plan for the next block of games.

There are massive PRO14 games on the horizon as we strive for that home semi-final spot but there is also the massive game against Saracens in the Aviva Stadium on Sunday week.

With most of the international players off again for the rest of the week for a well-earned break, the coaches presented to the wider group some video on Saracens.

Molony battles Scarlets’ Tadhg Beirne for the ball in a lineout. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
Molony battles Scarlets’ Tadhg Beirne for the ball in a lineout. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

It was important we did that ahead of the European week as we won't see some of those lads again until next Monday. So it was critical to plant a seed in the returning players' heads.

While obviously they achieved something incredible in green colours, we still have two massive trophies to win here in Leinster and everyone could feel that excitement building again.

While the lads were away, back in HQ we managed two wins, a draw and a loss over the course of the Six Nations.

We were disappointed to concede that penalty in the last minute of the Scarlets game but a draw still left us three points ahead of them in Conference B and as a result the outcome of Conference B is still very much in our hands.

With four remaining PRO14 games, we have full control of how we want this season to end.

With a massively exciting European game ahead as well, our goal in the league remains to finish with a home semi-final. Giving us the best possible chance for a positive outcome for the end of the 2017/'18 season.

That is why tomorrow's game is crucial to continue us on this path for silverware.

Ospreys will no doubt have returning Welsh players and because they are still fighting for that fourth place spot and a shot at qualifying for next season's Champions Cup, they won't want for motivation.

They've got their season - and potentially next season - on the line.

Having some of our own internationals return this week has really boosted the squad.

There is a great buzz around the place with players and staff.

While many fans may have one eye on next weekend in the Aviva, we are ready for a battle in the Liberty Stadium.

On a personal level, I'm extremely excited for tomorrow's game.

It's an opportunity for us as a squad to push on and also for players to perform in the jersey they are given.

These are the weeks you want to be involved for Leinster and you want to be involved in the big days.

It's funny, seeing your mates thrive with Ireland gives you an extra drive, an 'if they can do it so can I' type of mentality.

All you want to do is get back out on the pitch and prove it.

Away from home in Wales is always a tough ask, but after the week we've had and where the squad is at the moment, I know we can come home with a win and the four points.

Irish Independent

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