After defeat last weekend against Munster in the Aviva stadium, Leinster Team Manager, Guy Easterby, says he is hoping to see the “right reaction” in this weekend’s Guinness PRO12 match against Zebre.

After the defeat against Munster, Jamie Heaslip spoke to the media at the Champions Cup launch in Dublin about how by Sunday evening he had rewatched the game against Munster three times. He was out walking his dog, Jay-Z, at 5am on Sunday morning because he couldn’t sleep – all he could think about was the game. 

This hurt is something that all players and supporters alike will be feeling this week, but Guy Easterby says that a reaction this weekend against Zebre is what is now needed. 

“I think Jamie spoke very well in the media event for the new European competition in terms of the amount of hurt that people were feeling,” Easterby said speaking to the media at Leinster HQ this week.  

“It’s professional sport but it’s also Leinster-Munster and the interprovincial rivalry. The guys are hurting; you can’t escape that feeling because unfortunately in professional sport that’s what you have to go through. Hopefully we’re going to see the right reaction this weekend in a tough trip away in Zebre.”

A trip to Parma to face Zebre is up next for Leinster, and Easterby knows that performance levels will have to go up if Leinster are to claim four points.

“I think we’re looking for a bit more consistency in our performance and if we can go and perform somewhere near to the best of our ability then we’re going to be in with a chance of winning the game. We can only control the controllable; going over there and making sure that we deliver on the game plan that the coaches are putting in front of us and getting a result.”

Zebre claimed a 13-6 win over Ulster two weeks ago and this was followed by a narrow one point defeat against Ospreys last weekend. In their second season (2013-14) in the PRO12, Zebre picked up five wins, two draws and five losing bonus points for a total of 29 points – a significant improvement on their first season which saw them lose all of their games and claim just 10 points.

“At home specifically they’re a very strong side. They know the way they want to play and they play to their strengths really well. They’re very direct, they’re very aggressive. They were unlucky last week (v Ospreys). They didn’t concede a try and lost to a kick in the 73rd minute. They weren’t a million miles away against Ospreys and they got a result against Ulster the week before. They’re getting more and more comfortable each year, probably each game in the PRO12 in terms of the level they know they have to get to.”

Leinster face Zebre this weekend in Stadio XXV Aprile (KO 4pm Irish time).

Leinster return to the RDS on Sunday, 19 October, to face Wasps in the first round of the Champions Cup. Click here to get your tickets