Coach Matt O’Connor has the luxury of three fit tightheads

Ne concerns that Mike Ross might be undercooked for Wasps game

Head coach Matt O’Connor at the Leinster press conference. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Head coach Matt O’Connor at the Leinster press conference. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

At least there’s no game inside the game. That was the clarity Leinster coach Matt O’Connor is glad to bring to Coventry for tomorrow’s meeting with Wasps to decide who progresses to the Champions Cup quarter-final.

That the bonus point was secured by half-time against a disinterested Castres last Saturday took any conjecture from the equation.

“There’s no game inside the game,” O’Connor repeated when queried about the need to significantly change the tactical approach for Wasps.

“The intensity of what we delivered last week was important. We certainly went out to put as much pressure on them, to make it as high-tempo as possible and to keep the ball in play as often as we could. There’s a bit of merit in that moving forward for us because that’s probably one of our strengths.”

That brings the Mike Ross (non) selection into sharp focus. “Experience is going to be important because we are away from home. The luxury we have is we have three fit tightheads – there is a tough decision to make but whoever gets the shirt I’m sure will do it justice.”

So no concern about Ross, at 35, being undercooked?

“Not really. He performed not too badly in autumn off the back of very little rugby. He’s been around long enough to know what it might take.

“That’s in his favour. The set piece is going to be very important away from home. We’re going to make sure we deliver at our end of the bargain there so we can deliver the pressure, gain entry to the game and hopefully get the scores that can bring us the result.”

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