Sunday 17 December 2017

Nacewa keen to learn from Clermont loss

Leinster captain Isa Nacewa. Photo: Sportsfile
Leinster captain Isa Nacewa. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Leinster captain Isa Nacewa has urged his team-mates to use the disappointment of their Champions Cup semi-final defeat to their benefit in next Friday's Guinness PRO12 last-four clash against the Scarlets.

Leo Cullen's side paid the price for their sloppy start in Lyon and although it will take time for those frustrations to ease, Nacewa believes Leinster can use the painful memories to fuel their fire.

"It is pretty tough standing on the halfway in Lyon in a huddle, knowing that you've just fallen short of making it to the final," Nacewa recalled.

"I'd have found it worse losing in a semi-final than a final. But, it was a pretty tight huddle out there.

"We had to take learnings from that game to really kick on. The guys that played that game, and even the guys that didn't, will have been hurting.

"Hopefully, we have all taken learnings from that because we don't want that feeling again."

Lessons have already been learned from the way in which Clermont blitzed Leinster early on and Nacewa knows that they can ill afford for that to happen again against the Scarlets.

"Maybe blocking the emotion out and focusing on your own performance could have done us better at the start of the game," he admitted.

"Not getting a dumb yellow card at the start of the game might have helped the situation. It is about your performance. We didn't start well against Clermont and that is one thing we have to remedy that.

"It is an accumulation of certain aspects of our game that just didn't go right. For a team like Clermont, you can't let that happen.

"We knew what they were going to throw at us. We knew what the crowd were going to throw at us. We knew the fast start that they like. We compounded error upon error and let them into the game.

"By half-time, we hadn't actually played much. We realised that and we went back to focusing on what we could control, how we could play the ball, run the ball.


"We played our brand of rugby and it got us back into the game. The learnings from that is to focus on our own performance and how we address certain areas early on."

Leinster came unstuck against the Scarlets in Wales earlier in the season before thumping them at the RDS.

While the majority of the focus next week will be on themselves, Nacewa warned that Scarlets have earned their place in the semi-final and will pose plenty of threats.

"Their kicking game is class," Nacewa added. "They've got strike weapons all along their back line that have been playing well the whole year."

Irish Independent

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