Kevin McLaughlin: fronting up physically to Connacht the key for returning Leinster flanker

‘Leinster come to this match with a huge amount of positivity’

Amelia Earhart

once said that the “most effective way to do it, is to do it.”


might borrow a bit of that conventional simplicity in trying to find a way past Connacht at the RDS.


Rugby’s simple premise is the team that dominates the physical collisions tends to win. For Leinster’s returning flanker Kevin McLaughlin that’s a one-line script that the team must deliver with conviction.

“It’s pretty obvious, we need to front up physically. If we don’t front up physically, we lose the game. If you play against any fired up team, you need to be there in the physical stakes or you’re in serious trouble, and we all know that. We got beaten up down there this year, so we have to make sure we’re not caught off-guard on that front.”

Criticism of some aspects of Leinster’s use of possession is either fair or not depending on perspective but it hasn’t depleted the self belief within the squad and management. McLaughlin explained: “(We come to this match with) a huge amount of positivity. We know we’re playing within ourselves, but we’re right in the mix in both competitions.

Lot of experience

“We’ve been in this position before and we’ve a lot of experience in the changing room and there’s a lot of experience in the coaching staff. We’re right in the mix in Europe and right in the mix in the Guinness (Pro12), so we’re excited for the season to come.”

Despite this, Leinster are chasing an equilibrium in tone and content performance wise for most of the season. McLaughlin was asked why. “Believe it or not, it can be from trying too hard sometimes. I think we’re overrunning plays sometimes, we’re not holding our feet.

“Guys are getting over-excited and trying to force it a little bit. And those knock-on errors do have an impact on confidence when you’re on the pitch. If a couple of those opportunities are converted early on it just changes the whole complexion of the game. And, you know, at certain stages in the season when we have gotten a couple of early tries it has changed.

“So as players we have to improve our execution. The plays are there, we need to execute them. Get the scores early and execute when we get our chances. That will change the pace of the game and improve our confidence on the pitch as well.”

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan

John O'Sullivan is an Irish Times sports writer