Although he isn’t quite ready to relinquish the title just yet, Leinster Lions coach Matt Williams says they have to win all three remaining games to stand any chance of making the top four in
Although he isn’t quite ready to relinquish the title just yet, Leinster Lions coach Matt Williams says they have to win all three remaining games to stand any chance of making the top four in Pool B. Having seen his side lose to a Welsh club for the first time in the tournament – 30-17 at Cardiff – Williams was quick to point out what his players have to achieve if they are to overcome three successive defeats.
We will have to win everything now if we want to squeeze into the quarter-finals. We always knew it was going to be tight, but losing at home to Connacht wasn’t really in the budget. We had such a successful time last season that we have very high aspirations. Maybe a kick up the backside like the last two weekends will be good for us.
The involvement of key players with the international squad has left Leinster struggling at this early part of the season. We always knew it was going to be difficult for us this season because of the demands on our international players. The biggest problem we have had is that we have only had our top players for six days, said Williams. We’ve had to make 10 changes almost every week and that hasn’t allowed us to develop any continuity. It is very hard to develop when you are losing.
We couldn’t really hope to win without nine players. There was plenty of courage and commitment from a young side, but I was disappointed with some of the decision making.
Leinster are fortunate in that their three remaining game are against Neewport and Borders who have yet to win a game and Bridgend who are just above them in the table. The sides at the business end of the Pool all must play each other so it would be foolish to write off this Leinster side just yet.
If the Williams squad jar is half-empty then his former assistant sees his being half-full.
Munster top Pool A with four wins from four outings, the latest coming against Swansea when he was without 13 players and forced to make ten changes from the previous game against Edinburgh. And in the course of that victory over the All Whites, Gaffney unearthed a few gems in the shape of Mick O’Driscoll and flanker Denis Leamy who could emerge as a more than capable replacement for the injured David Wallace.
O’Driscoll was quite superb, particularly out of touch where he stole four opposition balls in a first half that ended with Munster leading 19-3, having played against a stiff breeze.
Munster take to the road for the next three weekend beginning with Ulster on Friday (7.35) followed by a trip to the Courage Gnoll before their opening Heineken Cup match against mighty Gloucester in Kingsholm.