Jennings ready to turn the bad into good
PRO12 LEINSTER v MUNSTER:HOW TO turn bad into good has been a theme running though Leinster rugby this week. In their seasonal terms of reference there was little mention of Connacht blowing a hole beneath the water line and running in five tries.
On the positive side, teacher turned coach Joe Schmidt can take the holistic view and embrace a school-of-hard-knocks type of education for some of his younger players. Never before in their short careers have they seen five going past like that. Even the seasoned Shane Jennings was surprised.
“We’ll all learn from it because that was one of the worst games I’ve ever been involved in,” he says. But rugby being what it is, he could find a solution this weekend in the form of Munster to make the Connacht trauma less of a long term issue.
Leinster are also well versed in the cliché that it’s not how you start but how you finish seasons and Jennings believes a little honesty with each other should solve some of the problems when Leinster line out in Aviva on Saturday.
“I think something as basic as system errors in defence ... I made a mistake that I would usually back myself not to make, and you can’t do that,” he says.
“If you make a mistake and you’ve got good players playing against you, they’ll open you up and you’ll pay for it, and we did that on a number of occasions. So if we cut down on those mistakes that will lead to a more solid defence, and that will certainly be one way we can improve.”
The unbeaten PRO12 record in Aviva is something the Leinster team will want to preserve and with the first round of matches in their Heineken Cup defence hovering in the background, the danger of the Connacht hurt being compounded by more pain from Munster could bring on longer term consequences and make a muck of the season around D4. The imperative is to turn around performances quickly and it seems ludicrous to think but Munster will be a last chance saloon for Leinster to get it right before the Exeter Chiefs arrive looking for a scalp.
“We haven’t played as well as we should have, we haven’t done things in games as well we could have done and we need to improve on that. We feel if we can do that, it will go towards a better performance,” says Jennings.