Belfast Telegraph

Leinster the real deal, admits McCall

By David Kelly

Former Ulster coach Mark McCall says that Leinster are the ‘real deal’ as the Dubliners announced their Heineken Cup intentions with style on Saturday.

McCall, now in charge at Saracens, endured a miserable lunchtime at the RDS as the English Premiership outfit were put to the sword by Joe Schmidt’s side.

“They've a very good set-piece, their scrum's very strong now, as is their line-out, they are as good defensively as they have been in past years but their attacking has gone to a new level under Joe,” explained McCall.

“They're the real deal, they've got quality across the board, they've strength in depth, they've got some experienced players but some unbelievably good young players coming through as well.

“I just think they have threats all over the park. Joe's very clever, it's not just a wide threat or a backline threat because, if you get too wide in your defensive spacing, they've got power runners to get between defenders, they've got an offloading game, angles of run, angles of support.

“It's really across the board, they're a top-quality attacking team and probably the best side we've analysed this year.”

Still, Schmidt was annoyed at the sloppiness that allowed Saracens an unlikely foothold in the match; he will also have been concerned at the form of Luke Fitzgerald, who strikes one as desperately scratching for his game.

“It is pretty tough and Luke will take three or four games and the benefit there could be for Ireland if he gets three games under his belt there because he'll be starting to hit his straps and I think you'll see the real Luke. I thought he was a little below himself today but he's a class player,” said Schmidt.

“I thought we put some really good things together this afternoon, but we were a little bit untidy with some things and I think that could really hurt us.”

Belfast Telegraph

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