Matt O’Connor expressed his delight with the character shown by his Leinster side as they overturned a nine-point deficit to topple Ulster at the RDS and reach this year’s RaboDirect Pro12 Final.
While Leinster once again failed to perform for large periods of the game, their ability to clutch victory from the jaws of defeat is a characteristic of all special teams. Conversely, Ulster’s inability to see out games and capitalise on opportunities is worrying for the Northern province.
“That was not exactly how we planned to start, but the result and the character that the lads showed was unbelievable. If you’re behind by a couple of points against Ulster, it’s a mountain to climb. 9-0 down with not that much time left, it was a pretty special performance.”
O’Connor was visibly unhappy with the performance of the officials and didn’t hold back in his post-match press conference.
“If the ref won’t give you a kick at goal, then it’s a hell of a lot of points. I thought there was some marginal stuff at the start that made it very hard for us to get into the game. There were some lineout calls that were marginal at best and we didn’t get the rewards and scrum that we should have gotten at the breakdown. We’ll have to go and look at that again.”
O’Connor was quick to move away from the subject of refereeing decisions and placed the emphasis back onto his team and their star performers from the bench.
“The bench gave us a lot. The resolve and composure in the group was fantastic. We’ve put ourselves in a position to be at home in a final, so we’ve got to make sure (we use) the eight minutes to be as good as we can.”
Leinster face a hugely energetic Glasgow side in the final, and know that their performances will need to improve if they are to become the first team to retain the Rabo trophy.
“Glasgow are a very good side. They’ve got a great squad (with) a lot of Test players in their group. They’ve been building nicely and (their win over Munster) was pretty tasty, but we’ve got the opportunity to dust ourselves off and bring them here (to the RDS) in two weeks time.”
It is sure to be a fantastic climax at the RDS on May 31st, as the curtain comes down on this year’s tournament and the incredible careers of Leo Cullen and Brian O’Driscoll.
You can hear Matt O’Connor’s post-match press conference here:
Richard Barrett, Pundit Arena.