Killian Woods, Twickenham
London Irish coach Toby Booth spoke of his pride after the match: “I’m very proud of my team. To go to their (Leinster) garden and win showed we can live at the top of the table. My overiding feeling is that I am proud of what we’ve done” though, “Leinster were a bit smarter and more street wise”
He continued and gave an honest assessment of their campaign and commented on performance of out half Malone: “Did we warrant the opportunity to go through? No. Our mistakes were more high profile in the game. Malone was very honest. He had hit eight in a row before today and without his line kicking we would not have been in the contest.”
Leinster captain Leo Cullen said post match of his delight about the home draw and the strength of the competition “Players are disappointed we didn’t win the game. The home draw is good for the club. Support we have has been great. Though, listing the teams off that are left in the competition, there are some dangerous teams left.”
Cheika echoed Cullen’s comments while also praising the defence “I don’t think we got broken too many times. Maybe a few times on the wings. I don’t think we have had a physical game like that for quite a while, maybe all season.”
At the post match press conference, while praising Leinster, Booth did speak of how “the structure” that Leinster play in gives them an advantage in European competitions. His main gripe being that Leinster playing less games, gives them an advantage in the competition.
Cheika refuted his calls: “No I don’t think it gives us an advantage. It’s about what you prefer. Do you want your players not playing lots of games and being fresh or do you prefer not having any league time going into matches?…each system has it’s advantages.”
The press conference ended on a more positive note and Cheika spoke to the University Observer about the development of Leinster’s last minute drop goal hero Jonathan Sexton : “He is improving and has learned his trade well and he is continuing to learn his trade which is the important thing. He knows he has still got lots of things that he can improve on.
His composure is excellent now and he is really an instrumental part of the club and the way we are. Sexton stayed in the game to the last minute and they really targeted him today. Mapasua ran at him a few times just to charge into him. They tackled him off the ball, you could see they were really targeting him and we talked about it at half time and he stayed cool under a real lot of fire today and he did very well”.