Belfast Telegraph

The Leinster fans expect too much, says O'Driscoll

By Ruaidhri O'Connor

Brian O'Driscoll believes Leinster fans must temper their expectations ahead of Saturday's Champions Cup quarter-final clash with Bath.

The legendary centre was part of Leinster's three Heineken Cup wins and their Challenge Cup triumph, but said that Matt O'Connor's side should not be held up to the standards set by previous teams.

Branding criticism of a coach and team who won last year's Pro12 "ridiculous", the retired Ireland and Lions captain said fans were being unrealistic about what his former team can achieve after a number of high-profile departures in recent years including his own at the end of last season.

And he said Saturday's Aviva Stadium clash is too close to call.

"Leinster's season has been very up and down," O'Driscoll conceded.

"The thing with Leinster is, yes, they've been up and down, but they're fifth in the Pro12 and in the knock-out stages of the Champions Cup.

"People are expecting huge things these days. Expectations are unrealistic at times, constantly demanding that high standard. But it's been okay. They're still in both competitions.

"The sign of a really good team is when you are able to win when you're not playing great. The All Blacks have been so great for so many years because they still manage to see games through when they are off, a lot of the time.

"With Leinster, there was a change of coach last year, new philosophies, but we still won the league. It's ridiculous sometimes how that's not good enough.

"It's very hard to maintain those very high standards, year in, year out.

"I think that the Leinster game is a very open game that either team could win."

Belfast Telegraph


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