Rugby

"Communication likely let Leinster down" | Ronan O'Gara

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

04:55 14 May 2019


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Leinster were diagnosed as having succumbed to Saracens' physicality, but Ronan O'Gara believes that the answer lies in the province's mental preparation.

Speaking to Off The Ball, O'Gara believes that the Champions Cup final for the two was rugby of the highest possible standard, but that it was likely communication that let Leinster down in the final push.

While many have pinpointed the physicality of the likes of Billy Vunipola and Maro Itoje as having been a major factor in Leinster's loss, O'Gara believes that it was communication between the men in blue that was likely one of the major problems on the day.

"I think that the three times that they have overlaps, it has nothing to do with physical decision-making, it has got to do with putting the ball into space.

"Everyone is pointing the finger at Garry Ringrose for tucking that ball, but the question I would ask is what was the communication alongside him.

"That player - and I don't know which player it was - did he make Garry's decision for him by his level of communication? You can never assume in that kind of situation that he will pass it," said ROG.

From a stellar coaching and playing perspective, O'Gara is well-placed to analyse the shortcomings of Europe's showpiece club final.

"It is easy for us to shout on the coach 'pass - you have an overlap, give it'. Garry Ringrose is a brilliant person to weigh up options like that on the run and pick that pass, but I would question who was speaking to him and in what tone was he spoken to.

"Did he say his name? That is one of the things that you always coach - you always put a name on it. So 'hit me, Garry' as opposed to' pass,' because you are probably in the red after a serious number of phases.

"Leinster had three phases like that, and the reality is that that is 21 points - that wins the cup."

However, while there are certainly lessons to be learned from Leinster's side as to next season, O'Gara was blown away by the spectacle of the match itself.

"What a game. I thought it was a brilliant game. Intensity levels through the roof - tempo, accuracy, opportunities for both sides and missed opportunities for both sides. In terms of the standards of a great final, I thought it was up there.

"It was fascinating - the battle of the minds, the battle of the physical side of the game was brilliant."

With ROG's coaching future still up in the air, it may be this level of competition that brings him back to the European fold.

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