Sport Leinster Rugby

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Leinster senior coach Lancaster surprised by Brian O'Driscoll's comments

Brian O'Driscoll launching Sports Extra on Sky. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Brian O'Driscoll launching Sports Extra on Sky. Photo: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Leinster senior coach Stuart Lancaster was surprised by Brian O'Driscoll and Isa Nacewa's suggestion that some of the Ireland players may have become muddled in their thinking on the back of Leinster's expansive style of play.

O'Driscoll questioned if Lancaster's different approach to Joe Schmidt "upset the apple cart", before suggesting that doubts could have crept into the squad's mindset this year.

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That came on the back of Nacewa claiming that Schmidt had allowed "a little bit of that Leinster flair infiltrate the Ireland camp" in 2018 before reverting to a more pragmatic game-plan, which ultimately came up short at the World Cup.

Lancaster didn't agree with the views of either legendary former player. "I don't really follow his (O'Driscoll) train of thought," Lancaster said. "Was he suggesting Ireland struggled because Leinster played something differently?

"I think there is a slight misinterpretation about what that ('comfortable in chaos') phrase means.

"It's not like we have a completely unstructured game and my training sessions are chaotic and there are no principles or there is no structure about what we are trying to achieve.

"What we are trying to achieve is a balance between the real importance of starter plays and execution at set-piece and everything else - to be very good at that but also be very good when the game [transitions] into phases three to ten.

"International rugby is different where you are trying to merge different styles into one system. For us at Leinster, I think we have benefited from consistency and continuity over the last couple of years. That has helped us."

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