Committed foot-soldiers of the 12-county army convene once more to discuss the province’s fortunes…
#3 : Home Scot Free
A post-Edinburgh match gathering of six terraced Leinster faithful, on the hallowed grounds of the RDS
RK: OK, so feelings on the night's match?
D: I thought it was a terrible game, I thought the defence was awful. We had at least 8 minutes on the field against 13 players and we got nothing from it other than a soft try that we should have had 20 minutes earlier.
RK: Do you feel it was mostly the defence that was at fault there or do you think that we were lacking in clinical finishing?
D: I think it was an attacking fault, the attacking was soft. It was dropping, it was chasing, it was all wrong
RK: Do you think that the slow burn that has been attributed to Leinster at the start of the Rabo over the past few seasons has worsened?
D: No, I don't think so at all, we've lost a few games at the start of the season for the last few years. That's how we roll. [All laugh] It's a false sense of security for the rest of the league.
M: Attacking-wise I don't think we did enough of them having 13 men on the pitch for the best part of 10 minutes. I think it's a sin that we got 7 points and they got 3, we never should have even let them into our half in that 10, but what can you do?
RK: I have to say I absolutely agree with you, I think a 2 man advantage was squandered.
C: At the end of the day we're only at the start of the season, there are lots of players still to come back to the squad before the Six Nations.
D: I tell you, a lot of that team was very young and inexperienced as well and that's great to see.
C: And at the start of the season you have to get the experience going.
D: Who did we have; Macken got two hard fought tries?
C: This is the part of the season where Leinster develop their new and younger players, and during the Six Nations they consolidate those players, then the more senior players come back, and come the Heineken Cup we're okay. Come the end of the season we're going to have a team to be reckoned with.
M: We're still missing a couple of the key skill-sets that it takes to win a HC. We have a couple of tough games ahead. We have Clermont at home and away; two crunch games right in the middle, we either win them both or we don't go through. It's as plain and simple as that.
RK: Leinster are obviously a huge target now in both the Heineken Cup and the Rabo Pro 12, do you think at this stage we'll be able to cope on two fronts?
C: Last year was a prime example of coping on every front...
RK: But we did lose the final.
M: It's notoriously difficult to win a cup and league together. We're talking about professional rugby players here. Two years ago, won the Heineken Cup and then went and played [the Magners final] in Munster and in fairness it was a bit of a jolly. Everyone had a hangover; players, fans, the lot, and that was all fine. The novelty should have worn off now, we've won our third, [for last season's final] we played at home, in the RDS, and whatever about the referee, we were outclassed on the pitch. The Ospreys were the better team. If we're going to talk about doubles, even if we're just talking about winning the Rabo, we have to focus beyond the Heineken Cup.
C: We have to do the double to be declared a truly excellent team.
D: We had a lot of youth and inexperience on the team, but I don't think that that's any excuse for not using that two man advantage. It's not good enough; to be good enough to play for Leinster you have to be able to take advantage of those situations when they arise, or a double is going to be out of the question.
C: It's called practise. These new guys...
RK: If it wasn't good enough for BOD [at a Q&A earlier that night] why would it be good enough for you?
C: He wants to get the new guys out, he wants to bring the young fellas on, and he is trying the mentor them and pass on his experience, as he said tonight. He's an unbelievable player for Leinster and Ireland.
RK: And on a worldwide scale. Tonight, we saw an improvement in defence, but still nothing compared to what we've come to expect from a Leinster side...
C: It's early season. You can't compare these games to a Heineken Cup final, or the qualifiers for that matter.
RK: To put it in context, before the match tonight the number of points we'd conceded wasn't reached until most of the way through game six last season.
M: We've been leaking so many points this season. It's been a hallmark of Leinster rugby at least since Joe took over that we have a very organised defence that's absolutely mean, it's Cork mean. [All laugh] It's absolutely miserly in how many points it's let out, and then all of a sudden we're haemorrhaging tries. I don't buy into this whole Newcastle offence.
RK: Are we in danger of turning into a southern hemisphere club side?
M: If we were turning into a southern hemisphere side, I would die inside.
RK: This is the thing; are we trading off defence for tries?
S: No, we're just rusty.
RK: How long do we have to be rusty for?
M: This time 2 seasons ago nobody had any faith in Joe Schmidt. And here we are this season, we've played what is traditionally a banana skin game away [Treviso] and won convincingly, and played at home twice and won well, and we've played against a team [Scarlets] that, being honest, given the players we had available to play at the time we were highly unlikely to beat.
RK: George fucking North. I think it's fair to say that we've mixed feelings at best about the match tonight despite the win, but what about Connacht next week? They traditionally save their best game of the season for Leinster at the Sportsground, every sodding year.
S: They're dying to beat us!
D: I've been to the derbies in there three times over the last five years and I'm yet to come home from a win.
RK: They love to tear strips out of us when we're there.
M: It's a banana-skin game for all the provinces, they save their best for the home derbies.
D: Tonight's game was sloppy and didn't give the fans much to shout about, and nothing to really give us hope for next week. I think we're going to win, but I'm not going to strut into the Sportsground, that's for sure.
RK: I don't think anyone really struts into the Showground. Even Toulouse were put to the sword for a while there. Predictions?
C: Leinster by 10.
D: Leinster by 3.
S: If the weather's bad it'll be a tight match, and we could come out the wrong side.
M: Bonus point loss.
RK: And for the record I reckon on Leinster by 5. Right, pints?
A transcript from @RugbyKino in conversation with Leinster supporters whose identities have been anonymised for their own protection. All opinions given are the individual’s own, almost definitely whilst under the influence.