McLaughlin: “We want to build on Champions Cup wins”
October 31, 2014 12:00 am Richard Blake
After a frustrating start to the season in which he picked up a knee injury against Scarlets, Kevin McLaughlin returns to captain Leinster tonight against Edinburgh.
It has been six weeks since the Leinster centurion last featured for the province and he says he is “dying to get out there and play” tonight against Edinburgh. While it has been a frustrating start to the new season, McLaughlin says there’s plenty of rugby to be played and that he’s focused on continuing Leinster’s winning run.
“It was very frustrating getting injured so early in the season, but I have to keep reminding myself it’s only October and there’s a lot of games left to be played. We’re coming into an important period now while the (international) lads are away. We have to make sure we keep the shop in order and make it a fourth win in a row. Some new faces in there (for tonight’s match v Edinburgh) but we’ve got a fair bit of experience as well for the game, so feeling relatively confident.”
One of those new faces is Ben Te’o. The rugby league convert arrived in Ireland a few weeks ago and played his first game for Leinster ‘A’ in their away defeat to Carmarthen Quins last Saturday. Te’o is set to start at outside centre tonight against Edinburgh and McLaughlin says squad are helping him adapt to rugby union quickly.
“It should be interesting. He got a game last week for the ‘A’ team – got to hit a few rucks and get used to a few tackle situations. I think he’s pretty excited about getting out there and feeling his way into rugby union. He’s adjusting well. From time to time the guys beside him will give him a little nudge to go to a ruck or what exactly his role is in plays. I think in rugby league there aren’t nearly as many plays. But he’s alongside Jimmy (Gopperth) and Noel Reid and Zane (Kirchner), really experienced guys who can help him. It’s going to take a few months to adapt to all the details and little bits of rugby union. I think he’s going to be a good asset for us.”
After tonight’s match against Edinburgh the players that aren’t involved with the internationals will take a break for a week to recharge the batteries before returning to prepare for the Guinness PRO12 matches away to Treviso (23 November) and at home to Ospreys (29 November).
“It’s nice to know that I can empty the tank against Edinburgh and have a break after that to make sure there’s no bumps and bruises, and then hopefully get some more rugby after the three week break and build on my season again. We’ve got three wins in a row now; we’re looking to build on that. A fourth win now and we’re in better shape in the league. We’re two out of two wins in the Champions Cup and we’re looking good.”
Tickets for Leinster v Edinburgh will be available to purchase from the RDS box office before kick-off. Tickets can also be purchased by clicking here.