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O'Connor insists Leicester experience will prove crucial in Leinster pressure cooker

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Matt O'Connor

Matt O'Connor

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Matt O'Connor

New Leinster coach Matt O'Connor has declared that his experience will be a crucial factor as he prepares to follow in the footsteps of his Heineken Cup-winning predecessors.

Despite being relatively unheralded beyond rugby circles, Joe Schmidt and Michael Cheika, nevertheless, both guided Leinster to European success and Australian O'Connor (right) will be expected to do the same.

However, O'Connor insists that the fact that he is further down the coaching line than Schmidt and Cheika will benefit him as he prepares to link up with the Pro12 semi-finalists.

"The demands will be different, but it will not be vastly different to the way I have approached the job at Leicester," said O'Connor, whose appointment to succeed incoming Ireland head coach Schmidt was confirmed on Monday.

"The Leicester experience has been invaluable and I have been conscious that I needed to take control of a side myself, sooner rather than later.

"Leinster have been brave in the past with their appointments of Michael Cheika and Joe Schmidt and I am further down the coaching line in terms of where those boys have been previously.

"I have been coaching a long time and have done nearly 200 games at Leicester in an environment where you have got to win every week.

"That experience will be invaluable at Leinster in relation to tackling Europe and taking the place forward."

Irish Independent