BRIAN O’DRISCOLL’S MAJOR contribution to Leinster’s Pro12 semi-final win over Glasgow Warriors was a superb turnover on his team’s tryline. Five minutes later and the inspirational centre was limping down the tunnel at the RDS.
Leinster, in his absence, ground out a win but coach Joe Schmidt is hoping to have the 34-year-old, and his midfield partner Gordon D’Arcy, fit for two finals in the space of eight days.
He said, “We’re hopeful that he’ll be OK. It’s just his back tightened up and he couldn’t stretch out. When you’re up against some of the pace they’ve got in their back three, you’ve got to be fully fit so we made the replacement.”
Cian Healy also looked to be struggling in the second half, and was replaced by Jack McGrath, but Schmidt said it was simply a matter of the prop ‘emptying the tank’. Richardt Strauss took a blow to the knee and will hope that it does not swell up too much. The news on Gordon D’Arcy is less optimistic. Schmidt said:
Gordon’s calf tightened up badly and there could be a little tear in there. We’re going to have to get him scanned in the next 24 to 48 hours and hopefully we’ll have a clearer idea [then].”
Schmidt admitted that Leinster were lucky to beat Glasgow at home during the regular season but felt his side “dominated” proceedings last night.
“We had massive scrum frustration in the first-half,” he said. “In the second-half it was unbelievable how many times the scrum went down. It’s impossible for Mike Ross to keep somebody up if he is hinging down. It was incredibly frustrating. Five-metre scrum, and we were up on the scoreboard, those are the ones you want to nail.
“On our side, we missed a few lineouts in their 22. We’ve got to be better than that. We missed a few kicks that we would normally get but, saying that, Stuart Hogg missed that one near the end.”
Schmidt praised the defensive contribution of fullback Rob Kearney, who made one ‘super, try-saving tackle’ on charging Warriors prop Ryan Grant.
“Rob managed to strip a ball off Sean Maitland another time,” the Leinster coach added. “He took a couple of knocks and was struggling to carry on, at times, but he showed a heck of a lot of character to hang in there. I think he did a super job.”