IF EOIN REDDAN sounds like he has been here before, it’s because he has. And once bitten, the Leinster scrum-half knows just how costly it can be if the European champions go out to chase a bonus point against Exeter on Saturday evening.
Four seasons ago Reddan’s Wasps went into the final round of pool matches needing five points to guarantee a place in the quarter-finals, or so they thought as they travelled to Castres. But in the final reckoning, and with that delicious irony in which the sporting gods so obviously delight, four would have been enough to get the job done.
Hindsight only made defeat at the Stade Pierre-Antoine that day all the more bitter.
“We thought we needed the bonus-point win to go through. We were winning late in the game, chasing the game for an extra try and the bonus point, and ended up losing the game,” he recalls of 2008/09. “The four points would have done it and we would have gone through so we ended up shooting ourselves in the foot that day.
“It’s very hard to know what’s going to happen,” he says as thoughts return to the trip to Sandy Park this weekend. “You really have to worry about your own ship and for us that’s winning the game on Saturday.”
The five-try win at home to Scarlets has left Leinster on 15 points and with a glimmer of hope that, if the cards fall their way, their Heineken Cup destiny will be back in their own hands after this weekend. The various combinations and permutations were enough to make Jono Gibbes’ head hurt at yesterday’s media briefing in UCD but Reddan says there can only be one focus.
It’s a cup match. You’d be looking to some of the big games we’ve played in the past, knockout games. We’ve gone into battle together before and we have to draw that out of ourselves again this weekend.
It’s our season this weekend and we have to worry about what’s in our control first and deliver that. A lot of times if you do that, things work out for you.
Defeat against the marauding Clermont Auvergne in France last weekend killed whatever hopes Exeter may have harboured themselves, but this is a side who have only lost twice at home all season and Reddan knows that Tom Hayes and his teammates won’t be phoning in any half-hearted efforts come Saturday.
“Unfortunately for us we ended up with a team like that this weekend, who have certain standards they set themselves. It doesn’t matter what competition they’re in, they’ll bring those standards.”