LEINSTER FULLBACK ROB Kearney praised his side for a ‘clinical’ 60 minutes which helped them overcome Bath in yesterday’s Champions Cup quarter final at the Aviva Stadium.
Ian Madigan struck his and Leinster’s sixth penalty of the day on 52 minutes to give the three time champions a six-point lead on 52 minutes. However, with Bath’s running style stretching the Blues’ defence, Leinster appeared to be suffering with the pace of the game and were left hanging on as Bath sought to erase a three-point margin in the final minutes.
“We let them back into the game a little bit,” Kearney said post-match.
“We went into our shell, we kicked poorly and gave them free possession. That was a very disappointing end to a very professional and clinical first 50-60 minutes.”
“Delighted to be in a semi-final, it’s getting harder and harder to advance in this competition. We’re delighted with the result and a little bit disappointed as to how the last 15 minutes went.”
Kearney shrugged off the notion that Leinster’s performance was down to a lack of cohesion brought on by not enough time together in blue since the Six Nations wrapped up a fortnight ago. The eastern province will most likely face back-to-back champions Toulon in the semi-final (assuming they can see off Wasps on home turf), a task which promises to be another step up in class from the tussle with Bath.
“I thought we re-integrated ourselves pretty well,” insisted the fullback.
Pushed further on the subject, it was suggested that Leinster may be best served playing a full strength side against the Dragons in the Pro12 next time out. The Louthman politely hinted that Rodney Parade is not the best preparation to take on the best side in Europe though left the ultimate decision to Matt O’Connor.
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“A Sunday afternoon kick-off, you’ve got to travel home Sunday night, Monday recovery, travel again the following Friday. Is it necessary to put a huge amount of front-line players out next Sunday? I don’t know, probably not, but that’ll be for the coach to decide.
“A lot of our inaccuracies came from individual errors, as opposed to that looks like a team that hasn’t been together in a long time.”
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