Sunday 23 September 2018

Fogarty: Munster will want to knock us in our own backyard

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

Cian Tracey

Monday morning in Leinster HQ and it is business as usual. But for the gleaming Champions Cup trophy sitting proudly in the reception, you would be forgiven that this was just another week.

Less than 48 hours had passed since Leinster clinched their fourth title by beating Racing 92 in Bilbao, and there was barely any time to celebrate, let alone dwell on the success.

The squad travelled back immediately after the game on Saturday, and while they did have a night to savour the moment, with the small matter of a Guinness PRO14 semi-final against Munster to come tomorrow afternoon, the focus quickly shifted.

"You have got to enjoy it and I think that's important for the group," scrum coach John Fogarty insisted.

"There has been some difficult times in the last couple of years, the group had to enjoy themselves and I think they did that.

"For us today, Stuart (Lancaster) and Leo (Cullen) will turn the page pretty quickly. We'll review the Racing game, pick the bits out of it. 

"At the breakdown we were slowed down, they got into us physically. That's something we need to be ready for at the weekend, because you look at the Edinburgh against Munster, they were ferocious in some of their contacts.

"Then, into the breakdown, it slows you down and now you're in a grind. You need to be smart in how you kick, and so on.

"That's coming again for us, that review of the final is very important for us today. We'll start to preview a little bit today, a bit more information tomorrow and then we're into it --on the pitch tomorrow and Thursday.

"It's amazing, it's brutal at times. You want to enjoy yourself so much, it's been an emotional time

"We had that homecoming in Energia Park and the guys, three or four of them, were talking about, 'Will he be selected? Will that fella be selected against Munster?' This, that and the other.

Unfair

"They're already thinking about it. It just climbs up into the front of your mind. It's a little bit unfair, because you just want them to relax and enjoy themselves."

Leinster won't be getting much sympathy from anyone outside of the province, especially not from Munster, who would love nothing more than to upset them and advance to next weekend's final at the Aviva.

It's not often that the RDS hosts a crucial Leinster-Munster clash. Tomorrow promises to be exciting and Fogarty warned of the threat that lies ahead for his side.

"We had that extra time to prepare for Racing and it was something that really helped to prepare us the week leading into the final," the Munster native maintained.

"We had two or three sessions to put the information into the players' heads, so when they got to the week of the Racing game we were physically very, very good in those training sessions; which meant we were quite sharp and could build intensity during the week. We'd nice cohesion.

"It's going to be something like that for Munster where they'd a week to mentally prep, to get an awful lot of information for themselves.

"They'll have watched the game for the weekend and they'll want to knock us down and do it in our own back garden.

"They'll physically prep really well all this week now, they'll be in a really good place. We know that, they know that. It's going to be a really tough game."

Mindful of the fact that when Leinster were crowned European champions in 2011, they were beaten domestically a week later, Fogarty added that lessons have been learned.

"We sat down and talked about that. Do we need to freshen it up?

"It is a test. It's going to be a test for us at the weekend from that side of things. Can we get it done now? Can we get it done after we've won this thing (the European Cup)? Where's the group at? I've a feeling that the group are really, really hungry to succeed again."

Irish Independent

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