James Ryan and his team-mates have a point to prove against Wasps this weekend.
WHILE LEINSTER’S PACK had some memorably impressive moments against Munster last Saturday in Dublin, they have a bit of a chip on the shoulder this week.
No forward unit accepts being bullied at maul time, and James Ryan and his team-mates are no different.
So when Munster surged over through Tadhg Beirne in the 20th minute at the Aviva Stadium, it stung.
It continues to sting this week as Leinster prepare for the visit of Wasps in their Heineken Champions Cup opener at the RDS on Friday.
“We’d some tough learnings,” says second row Ryan of Leinster’s Monday morning review.
“Set-piece is an area we pride ourselves on. We definitely could have been better than we were on the weekend in terms of some of the maul defence.
“Sometimes we were watching and waiting a bit. And if you have any moment of hesitancy against a team like Munster, they are going to run over you. So it’s just having that urgency and commitment to smash in 100%.”
Head coach Leo Cullen, who runs Leinster’s lineout and maul, guided his players through the painful viewing on Monday, although Ryan stresses that he and his fellow forwards already knew which clips were coming before they’d been put up on screen.
“I’m sure there’ll be a bit of a spike this week in terms of the set-piece stuff,” says the 22-year-old.
Senior players Devin Toner and Scott Fardy tend to be as vocal as Cullen in the forwards’ meetings, which involve some “back and forth with Leo,” rather than the players simply sitting sullenly watching their errors.
Ryan is learning as he goes and says more experienced players are often quicker to identify shortcomings in the unit meetings, but the former Ireland U20 captain is confident in contributing when he has something to add.
“Sometimes you need to point out something that technically we can do better, but I think if you are out training on the paddock and we’re 10% off, then somebody has got to call the guys in and say, ‘What’s going on here?’, you know what I mean?
“I’d be more comfortable speaking now than I would have been this time last year.”
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