We can’t let unacceptable standards creep back into camp, says Conan
IT’S DIFFICULT to pick holes in Leinster right now but, as surely as they have unlocked so many complicated combinations this season, you can be assured they know their limitations as well as anyone else.
While they remain the envy of so many — Munster leading the way with admiring, if jealous, glances this week — even Leo Cullen’s men are afflicted by a case of the ‘haves’ and ‘havenots’.
Last weekend’s Champions Cup triumph was justifiably hailed as a victory for all in UCD HQ, from coaches and players to those in tracksuits or suits.
But although the final run-in has swept Leinster towards the summit once more, and on the verge of a unique trophy double for this island, there may be the mildest anxiety.
While the strength of Leinster’s squad has been repeatedly hailed by all, there have been minor chinks in the armour surfacing of late that may cause jitters ahead of this week’s semi-final.
Twice in the last month the perceived shadow side have succumbed in humbling circumstances; first, to an historic home defeat to Italian opposition, and then in embarrassing capitulation against a Connacht side who had compiled a dismal season.
In the feverish race to anoint the Blues as a dominant force for the next decade, some perspective may be required.
Let Jack Conan take over the story of how the past month has panned out for the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’.
“In previous weeks, we’d massive games and then the next week we didn’t have as much on the line when we went in and massively underperformed against teams up for it more than we were which is never an acceptable standard,” he said.
Although the collectives may have tanked in those aforementioned games, some of the individuals emerged unscathed; Conan has led the way even if he concedes his own high standards plunged, too.
“I was a bit disappointed not to start last week but I hadn’t been performing,” he said.
“I’d had an injury in the last few weeks. That gave me a short window to get back and play and the only game that I did get to start in was the Connacht game which wasn’t a glowing audition.
“But you have to swallow your pride and get on with it. It’s about the collective, you can’t be sitting around, sulking and feeling bad for yourself.”
And Leinster don’t want to stop now.
“It’s been fantastic, winning at the weekend,” added Conan. “But when you’re looking back in two months, you’d be reflecting in a different manner. If we don’t finish on a high it’s going to be tarnished in some small way.” Lesson learned: Jack Conan knows Blues took eye off ball