Sport Rugby

Tuesday 12 December 2017

We must take Saints blow on the chin and put it right -- Jennings

Leinster's Shane Jennings
Leinster's Shane Jennings
Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

LEINSTER's Shane Jennings believes the squad will take responsibility for last week's desperately disappointing home defeat to Northampton and channel it into a productive Christmas period.

With a host of internationals set to be rested over the coming rounds of Pro12 games, the former Leicester Tiger will play a crucial leadership role in the squad.

The mood around UCD has been affected by the Saints' surprise win last weekend, while the fixing of Heineken Cup rounds five and six has not helped matters -- Leinster face a five-day turnaround for the games against Castres and the Ospreys.

The focus has shifted to the Pro12 and tomorrow night's trip to Murrayfield to face Edinburgh, but last weekend's defeat has lingered.

RESPONSIBILITY

"Players have to take a lot of responsibility for this. It's no good coaches telling you, players know what we did wrong and we have to sort it out," Jennings said. "If we play like we did at the weekend, we're going to get turned over."

Matt O'Connor addressed the Lansdowne Road defeat on Monday morning as he and the squad went through the video nasty.

"It was a tough 48 hours for everyone involved and Matt was pretty frank about what we did wrong," Jennings (above) said.

"We're realistic about the whole situation. It's massively disappointing, we're at home in a European game and they're the games you really go after and try to put yourself in a really good position.

"Obviously, we took a lot of confidence from the week before, we did a lot of things well.

"It's obvious, but the flip side of that is the disappointment when you don't reproduce that performance against the same team.

"They deserve a lot of credit as they brought a lot of physical intent and played well.

"We could have put ourselves in a very strong position going forward, but it wasn't to be. We're still encouraged by the situation we're in, though.

"We have two games and if we win them, we'll be in a quarter-final. Unfortunately there is no European game this weekend, so we can't get some of those demons out of the system.

"But we have to focus on what will be a tough game in Edinburgh."

That clash will reunite Jennings and the older members of Leinster's team with what many consider to be the club's bogey side.

They went through a series of visits to the Scottish capital that went horribly wrong, but they have not lost to tomorrow's opponents for five games and will be confident of getting a good result against resurgent opponents.

Not that they'll be underestimating the Scots. "They're a good team," Jennings said. "Everyone thinks they're a bogey team, but they have talent. Nobody gives them the credit they deserve.

"They can play very, very well and put width into their game and they have a back-row that can carry well out wide.

"It's a big Christmas period. They are big games for the club and there are going to be a lot of players coming in and out, so we've got to show that we've a good squad and the ability to go over to these places and perform."

Irish Independent

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