Following their reversal away to Clontarf last week, Lansdowne got back to winning ways on the Aviva Stadium’s back pitch on Saturday as they enjoyed an impressive 38-21 triumph over Steve Ford’s spirited Dolphin outfit.
Speaking in the aftermath of the bonus point victory, Lansdowne’s Grand Slam-winning head coach Mike Ruddock was pleased with the performance on the day, though he did reserve praise for the never-say-die attitude of their Cork opponents.
“Yes, happy enough, it was a big game for us after losing to Clontarf last week. We needed to get back underway with a win,” he told IrishRugby.ie.
“I watched Dolphin last week against St. Mary’s, and in fairness to them they never gave up. They kept battling all the way to the end, and Mary’s had to work hard for their win.
“Today we had a really good first half. I thought we played fantastic rugby, our best rugby of the season.
“We scored three tries, and could have had two or three more – I think we dropped the ball over the line. But again, that Dolphin trait came back to haunt us.
“They came out after half-time, Steve Ford must have had a fair few words, and scored two tries against us, and suddenly alarms bells were ringing. Then we managed to steady the ship, and push on for the win.”
With three wins from five in Ulster Bank Division 1A so far this season, Ruddock is quite content with the way that Lansdowne’s campaign has gone so far.
While he does feel that they are still a little off the level they want to be at, he did add that they are trying to blood a lot of young players who are still getting used to playing at this level.
“Well, we’re a newly-promoted team, so it’s going to take us a little bit of time to find our feet in this league. Three out of five is a fair start, a fair reflection on where we are.
“We’re doing okay. We know we’re not anywhere near the level we want to get to but as I said, a lot of new combinations and it’s a positive start so far really.
“There are a lot of young players in the team. I think our front row are all Academy boys. Jack O’Connell is in the Leinster Academy, Martin Moore is in the Leinster Academy, Tom Sexton is in the Leinster Academy.
“So, it’s good to see them in action, in this environment against some hardy experienced players. Foster Horan in the centre for us played Under-21 last week. So, we’ve a lot of young players really. They’ll learn a lot from this type of environment.”
With three weeks between now and their next league game, away to leaders Young Munster, Ruddock will look to try out a few new combinations in the intervening time period.
A possible friendly on Saturday week could act as the perfect opportunity for the former Leinster boss to try out some new combinations.
“We’ve looked at a friendly not this following Saturday, but the Saturday after. I can try out a few new combinations, and give some youngsters a go again, and see then how we prepare for the next round of the league.
“We’ve given ourselves a help out in this league after getting promoted. To win more than we’ve lost is a reasonable effort so far,” added the Ireland Under-20 supremo.
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