For Leinster, there isn’t much time to dwell on their defeat to Saracens as they have a season-defining clash with Munster on Saturday in the Guinness PRO14 semi-final.
Most professional rugby players will tell you, having a game to look forward to is the best way to deal with the disappointment that comes with defeat.
However, the Heineken Champions Cup final isn’t your a run-of-the-mill match and you get the sense that this defeat to Saracens will linger for quite some time.
And how could it not? Leinster will look back on the 80 minutes in Newcastle with regret where they had some excellent opportunities to increase their final tally of 10 points while they will also rue the seven points they gave up to their English opposition at the end of the first half.
Leo Cullen, Johnny Sexton and James Ryan all touched on those moments as defining but Jack Conan offered a more inward focussed appraisal by saying his side “probably didn’t show up at times”.
“I suppose we probably just didn’t show up at times, didn’t play the Leinster rugby that got us to the final, which is disappointing, the lads are feeling it, there’s a lot of battered, bruised bodies in there at the moment,” Conan told the media after the game on Saturday.
“It’s at the end of the season, we have another two massive weeks hopefully. Munster in the RDS on Saturday, so, rugby can be pretty cruel at times. We’ll turn the page as quickly as we can, regroup, stick together, we’ll learn from this mistake and hopefully, be better next weekend.”
It’s interesting that Conan stated that his side didn’t play the type of rugby which got them to this stage of the season and when asked to expand on that point, Conan said his side were too predictable in aspects of their play.
“Probably our attack, we kind of pride ourselves on our varied attack that’s unpredictable. We dominate the gain line, I don’t think we got the right balance of it today. I think we were a bit too predictable at times, they had some big physical units out there and they won a lot of the collisions so it was kind of hard to play, so, yeah, it was just one of those days, unfortunately.”
Leinster will have an opportunity to right those wrongs on Saturday when they welcome bitter rivals Munster to the RDS (KO 2.30 pm).