With a second Magners League title safely locked away in the trophy cabinet, Leinster will be all out for Heineken Cup success next season according to their centre Gordon D’Arcy, as they try to emulate their fierce rivals and European trail blazers Munster.
After tasting league success for the first time since 2001 but failing to make this season’s Heineken Cup quarter-finals, Gordon D’Arcy and Leinster will double their efforts next term as they try to emulate the achievements of Munster in reaching the European decider.
Reflecting on his side’s recent Magners League triumph, D’Arcy said: “Yeah, (winning the league) was a good boost for us. We are in this game obviously because we love it. You are doing it to win as well. You love it more when you are winning and we have a nice big trophy in our cabinet now and we’ve all got our medals.
“I want another medal next year – I want a Heineken Cup medal next year and I’m very, very envious of the Munster guys now watching them getting ready for the game against Toulouse. We want to emulate that next year.”
Leinster are no longer a team over reliant on their backs as their forwards really came to the fore this season under the tutelage of Leo Cullen, and with a number of new signings, including Auckland’s Isa Nacewa on their way, and youngsters like Luke Fitzgerald and Cian Healy stepping up to the mark, D’Arcy has been pleased with the squad’s evolution under Michael Cheika.
“I think we are getting there. I think the personnel are the right personnel, I think we just need to be a little more…we just need to be a little bit cup smart and make it easier for ourselves when we are playing in the knock-out stages (of the Heineken Cup).
“We just need to take a leaf out of Munster’s book, it’s not always the prettiest but you just do it back-to-back. We seem to do it in the Magners League because we won all our games in Wales (apart from the last one against the Dragons),” he said.
“In Europe we kind of shot ourselves in the foot, down in Toulouse, this, that and the other. I think we need to learn from our mistakes and stop saying each year that we are going to get smarter next year.”
Former Leinster coach David Knox hit the headlines this week for his comments on a number of individuals in Irish rugby, as well as the national team and the provinces. D’Arcy took the Australian’s criticisms with a pinch of salt.
“That’s just Knoxy being Knoxy. I’m not sure if he puts a huge amount of thought into what he says and the implications of it. It’s a bit unhelpful for the Leinster lads when he goes saying things like he has.
“It is and it isn’t – the Leinster lads, we know Knoxy. We kinda just bat it off but everyone else doesn’t know Knoxy as well as we do.”
As D’Arcy recovers from a second operation on the broken arm he sustained against Italy in the Six Nations, the 28-year-old will get to follow one of his passions in life a little closer this summer – Wexford GAA.
Giving his thoughts on how the Model county’s hurlers and footballers might fare in the championships, he said: “I think with the hurling they have been unlucky but they are rebuilding now. They have a great manager down there (in John Meyler) and I think that they just need a little bit of luck.
“I think they will do well in the championship. Nobody is expecting them to do anything and I think that they will sneak in under the radar.
“I’m quietly confident about the footballers, I think there could be something good (for them) this year.”