Wednesday 21 March 2018

‘We can control our Pro12 destiny’

Tonight Leinster v Treviso RDS, 5.0 Live, Tg4

Leinster head coach Matt O'Connor with Jamie Heaslip during squad training
Leinster head coach Matt O'Connor with Jamie Heaslip during squad training
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Matt O’Connor insists that Leinster’s Pro12 destiny remains in their own hands, despite last weekend’s defeat at Ospreys.

Munster's loss to Glasgow, along with the Blues claiming a losing bonus point, means that O'Connor's side remain top of the table and are in pole position to claim a home semi-final.

Not since 2010 have Leinster gone through a season without winning a trophy and O’Connor says that his side don’t need reminding of that fact.

“The guys are very focused on going as far as they can in any competition and that’s important for us. The fact that there’s only one trophy left for us to play for now has certainly sharpened the focus,” O’Connor admitted.

“We have to make sure that we continue to control our destiny by getting a home semi-final. Hopefully, we’re good enough to then back that up in a home final. It’s a huge advantage being at home in a knockout game and the guys are determined to achieve that.”

Back-to-back defeats aren’t something that Leinster are used to in

recent times, but O’Connor believes that his side have responded well to the crushing defeat to Toulon.

“The most frustrating thing (against Ospreys) was that the guys dealt fairly well with the loss to Toulon. As hard as it was, they bounced back pretty well,” he said.

“We were in the game against Ospreys for large periods and probably across the course of it deserved to get the result.

“That was the biggest disappointment – a couple of key things let us down which cost us the points.

“The reality is that you learn more from your defeats than you do from your victories. The guys need to take that on the chin and understand the individual and collective shortcomings that we’ve faced.”

Leinster go into this evening’s game with Treviso having named a very

strong starting XV and O’Connor acknowledges that his selection is indicative of the situation that his side find themselves in.

“Treviso are always difficult to break down, but we’ve got to back ourselves to be better. We’ve got a lot more to play for than them and we need to get maximum points out of the game.

“We can’t take our foot off the pedal now in relation to gaining maximum points in these last three games. If we do that and we’re as good as we would like to be, then we should end up at home in the semi-finals.”

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