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Isa Nacewa: Leinster hurt will last for a long time

 

By Cian Tracey

He trudged into the RDS press room following another semi-final defeat, the disgust that was etched across Isa Nacewa's face suggested that the veteran knew he wasn't going to get too many more chances like this before he calls it a day.

The Champions Cup loss to Clermont has barely left Leinster's system and now they have to contend with a Guinness PRO12 semi-final defeat that will sting for a long time yet.

The amount of unforced errors for a Leinster side who pride themselves on the fine margins will make for a nightmarish review session in UCD this morning as they look back on Friday's 27-15 loss to Scarlets.

For those not involved in either the Lions or Ireland tour next month, that nagging feeling of what might have been will run right throughout the summer break until this time next year when Leinster may or may not get a chance to right some of their many wrongs.

"Saving our worst performance of the season in a semi-final of the PRO12 is not ideal," Nacewa fumed.

"We are critical of ourselves all the time but at home it hurts a hell of a lot more, it really does.

"We're going to cop it for this in the coming week, I'm guessing. We have to be prepared to handle that and go forward. The hurt will last all summer long but we're not that far away."

For all the strides that Leinster seemingly made this season, Friday night's tame defeat to the Scarlets was a huge step backwards.

The narrative running through the campaign was that the younger players had learned lessons from last season's mistakes but they were once again glaring as the Welsh side tore them to shreds.

The lack of leadership also must be a concern for Leo Cullen as several of his experienced players struggled in the pressure situation and few of the younger ones, Garry Ringrose aside, stepped up.

"You get remembered by what happens on these big days, unfortunately," Cullen lamented.

"In the early days, Leinster flattered to deceive on a lot of big days and came unstuck when the pressure came on.

"We need to be better at dealing with the expectation. If we are expected to win a game, that we actually go out and win a game.

"Everyone knew what was at stake, the carrot of a final in the Aviva. We will have to sit back and watch that game and that will be painful to watch."

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