Friday 22 November 2019

Fogarty demanding more improvements

John Fogarty. Photo: Sportsfile
John Fogarty. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

After such an utterly convincing start to the defence of Leinster's Champions Cup title, one could have been forgiven for thinking that the coaches would merely ask for more of the same this week.

But this is not how this current squad operates. Their ruthless quest for perfection is such that there is no time to stand still and those who even think about doing so will get left behind.

Wasps were bitterly disappointing at the RDS last Friday, yet Leinster made them so.

Toulouse will provide an altogether different challenge in France on Sunday, and to that end John Fogarty is expecting improvements in several areas from his players.

Like Leinster, Toulouse got off to a winning start in their opening assignment in Bath and Fogarty was impressed by what he saw.

"You've got to respect the win, for sure," the scrum coach insisted.

"I'm sure some people were surprised. Maybe for some of the lads it does, for us watching the game again, our game, there's enough for us to be concerned about.

"Our lineout didn't function as well as it should. We were slowed down in the first half. We turned over the ball on the ground.

"There are bits of our game that need to improve. You look at set-piece, your ability to recycle the ball.

"Not overplay, when you're overconfident you overplay in that middle part of the field or your own half and you get turned over.

"Tekori, Marchand, Pointud, all these of players are very active around that part of the game. You can come unstuck.

"For us, the challenge that Toulouse is, the challenge that this competition is, you have to be there every time.

"Mentally you have to prepare right, you've gotta turn up on the day. For us, we're pretty clear in our head that this competition is going to be very difficult to win.

"It starts this week, again almost, it's going to be very difficult for us to compete and get a result."

With a nine-day turnaround, Leinster have had plenty of time to get refreshed ahead of what they are expecting to be a hugely physical test against a typically bruising French pack.

Recovery "The recovery is important," Fogarty added. "When you go to France, experience and having experienced players that have been there before and won't be shocked or surprised with the intensity is very important.

"The squad is very competitive, that's something that we focused on a long time ago, developing our squad and our academy and that has happened over the last five or six years and that is why we are where we are.

"There is competition for places and there is a realisation in players' minds that you have to be injury-free, training well and playing consistently well and you'll get selected."

Irish Independent

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