Alan Gaffney’s Edinburgh Preview…
May 5, 2010 12:00 am client
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s visit of Edinburgh, Leinster Consultant Coach ALAN GAFFNEY said that the squad are determined to secure a home Magners League semi final…
“There’s still a bit to play for even though there was disappointment at the weekend and we know that we’ve got to finish the season strongly and there’s a real determination to do so.
“We have had a good season so far in both competitions and to not go on now would be a disappointment. Toulouse played very well but having watched the game since Saturday I don’t think that we were too far away ourselves.
“The best side did win on the day and I feel that our execution could have been better. Toulouse are an experienced side with a lot of quality on their squad from 1 to 23. They’re just an excellent team and it has always been tough to win in France.
“We feel that we are capable of beating sides (of that calibre). We played the so called ‘aristocrats’ of European rugby in their own backyard, which is a daunting enough prospect and weren’t far off the pace, but we didn’t play to the level we would have liked.
“We can do better so we know that we’ve got to keep on improving and that starts this Sunday against a very good Edinburgh side.
“Shane (Jennings) rolled his ankle at the weekend and we’re hopeful that he will progress but otherwise we’re not travelling too badly, even though our pride was dented (in Toulouse).
“To lose someone like Jenno in any game mounts to a significant loss because he’s an integral part of what we’re trying to do. He has been a key performer for Leinster, Ireland and Leicester Tigers over the years and you can see the regard in which he was held by being nominated as a Premiership Player of the Year some time back. There’s very little that he doesn’t have and he’s very skillful and aggressive, in a nice way!
“Jonathan (Sexton) was very close to making last weekend and he completed the whole session today so we’ll just have to wait and see and Sean (O’Brien) trained for the majority of the session as well.
“Girvan Dempsey is extremely good to coach and has been a fantastic servant for Leinster and Irish rugby. He’s someone you can place your trust on 100% and I remember we first met in 2000 during my first spell with Leinster.
“In the early days we spoke about (the idea of) ‘never die wondering’ and he has gone on to become one of the best full-backs around and one of the most intelligent rugby brains that I’ve ever encountered. He’s a superb athlete and just an all-round great guy.”