Clean bill of health the best result for Schmidt


RABODIRECT PRO12 LEAGUE: ALTHOUGH HE will have the more fretful few days in the immediate aftermath of this latest inter-provincial bruiser, Brian McLaughlin attempted to play down the significance of the injuries which forced the withdrawal of three of his frontline players last night.

“They’re with the doctors at the minute. Chris Henry has got a bit of a bang on his shin and hopefully he’ll be okay but he’ll probably go for a precautionary x-ray. Paddy Wallace is just feeling sick so we’re just keeping a check on that. He should be fine.”

The third casualty, Pedrie Wannenburg, himself confirmed he suffered a groin strain “but hopefully I’ll be ready for next week.”.

As regards the defeat and its consequence, McLaughlin said: “Well, the Pro 12 is gone for two weeks. Certainly tonight we felt that at times we had Leinster on the rack and put them under ferocious pressure but it was our own downfall really. We turned over the ball seven times in their ‘22’ and 12 times in their half. At this level, we all know that’s just not good enough and we’re exceptionally disappointed.

“We wanted to come away here tonight with a win but we showed that we’re more than capable of going toe-to-toe with the European champions. We have to focus on a really tough game next week against Edinburgh and do our damndest to win to ensure we get another crack at them (Leinster). The only thing we think about now is what we do in the Aviva next Saturday.”

For his part, Joe Schmidt was delighted to report no injuries.

“We came through and it looks like they did as well, so that’s great Irish news really. Both teams will be able to strip reasonably full strength next weekend.”

He was also “delighted” with a result which extends their unbeaten record since last September. “That’s the clean sweep (of six interpro’ wins) and is a little achievement that we can store away. Now it’s about chasing silverware and it’s a hell of a tough task that awaits us next week, and I think both teams were looking ahead a little to next week.”

Schmidt thought his team started very well but then stood off, gave Ulster space and when the rain came “overplayed” off static ball. “So that’s a good reminder for us next week as well.”

Last night Clermont made it 42 home wins in a row by beating Montpellier 22-9. “They got no injuries either. Both teams will be very strong next week and I just think the biggest winner is going to be European rugby because it’s going to be a hell of a battle.”