O’Connor and Heaslip on Toulon Defeat
April 20, 2015 12:00 am client
Read what Leinster head coach Matt O’Connor and captain Jamie Heaslip had to say after the Champions Cup semi-final defeat to Toulon.
Pride in the performance
“It was a pretty impressive performance from my guys. They gave every bit of effort they had and we led for large parts of the game and were probably the better side for large parts of it, but we came second in extra-time and that determined the result. They are gutted in the dressing room.
“The over-riding emotion is probably pride. The effort the lads put in across the course of it was fantastic and it’s incredibly disappointing to come second.
“We were probably inaccurate at key moments in the second half. I thought we dominated for large periods, put them under pressure and made that tell on the scoreboard.”
“It’s potentially a 14-point play, you know? If we play outside Habana there and we score at the other end, we win the game and Ian’s a hero. But that’s the nature of the game. The margins are tiny at this level.
“We dug in for large parts of the game, but the interception try changed the game. We wanted to drive at them, make their forwards work really hard and break them down in the last 15 minutes.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t good enough to do that, but the effort that those 23 players put in shows how much it means to them to play for Leinster. We may have lost, but this performance has shown we can compete against the best club side ever put together.
“The positive is the effort. The commitment that all 23 blokes were involved put in is second to none. There was a lot on the line, a lot of people had written us off but within the camp there was never that.
“Within the camp, we speak a lot about belief and we would back ourselves to go anywhere and beat anybody with our best lads. I think we showed that today.”
“We’ll re-group and see how the bodies are. We’ve got to get three wins in the league to give ourselves any chance and hope other results go our way.
“From that perspective, we’ll regroup, dust ourselves off and have a look at the challenge in the next three games.”
“A lot of people didn’t give us a shout and we came here with nothing to lose. The heart shown by everyone out there to give 100 minutes and take it right to the wire was incredible.
“At half-time we had a lot of confidence. We thought we had a couple of chances out there, but we didn’t take them.”
Credit to Toulon
“We focused on our set-piece, exit plans and defensive systems in the build-up to the game and we asked a lot of questions of them. At times we put them under pressure, but it just didn’t come our way.
“They are a difficult side to break down. Credit to my guys, but fair play to Toulon for the win.”
Opportunities left behind
“It’s not down to one player. It’s down to the group, the collective, to be honest. At different times, all the players made mistakes in the game on both sides. So it can’t be down to one moment.
“You know, we probably left a lot of opportunities out there in the first 40. I thought we had some very good position and momentum in the game to maybe get a bit more of a return that what we did.
“In the second half, especially the first 20 minutes of the half, they had their purple patch and we kind of stood our ground and it was literally like a slugfest out there. Sides were punishing each other for mistakes.”
Nothing between the sides
“There was nothing between the sides, but at this level if you make mistakes against a team with the quality of players they have, they don’t need much.”
“We always have an inner belief, an inner confidence that if you do your job and have the confidence in your teammate of doing his job, that we are a good team and that we can stress teams and create situations to get some points.”