Easterby’s ‘nothing won yet’ warning

Team manager Guy Easterby has played down a historic double and warned Leinster they have won nothing yet.

Leinster face Glasgow Warriors at the RDS on Saturday, with a place in the Pro12 final up for grabs while the following week they take on Ulster in the Heineken Cup final.

But after last year’s Pro12 final defeat to Munster, which ended any hopes of a double, Easterby insists Leinster are looking no further than the Glasgow clash.

“As we discovered last year winning the two competitions is a very difficult thing to do,” he said.

“We are just taking things week by week. It’s been a good season but we’ve won absolutely nothing yet.

“We have the Heineken Cup final as well but our immediate focus is on a really tough game against Glasgow next week.”

With their place at the top of the Pro12 table already assured, Leinster travelled to Newport with a second-string side. But they delivered a narrow victory despite a late comeback from the Dragons. Madigan edged the visitors into an early 9-3 lead at Rodney Parade as the hosts paid the price for poor discipline.

Joe Schmidt’s men stretched their lead midway through the half when Noel Reid sent McGrath over with a perfectly delayed pop-pass.

Madigan managed to steer the visitors out of reach before the Dragons struck with late tries from Dan Lydiate and Will Harries. Easterby was delighted with the victory and paid tribute to Madigan, who produced a sublime performance.

“Rodney Parade is a tough place to go and we’ve probably lost here more times than we’ve won over the years,” Easterby said.

“Part of Saturday was about testing some of the guys’ mettle in a really tough environment and Ian had a very good game.

“He kicked six out of seven and has proved himself throughout the year while working on his game management. He still has a long way to go but to go to a tough place like Newport and perform like he did shows what a good player his is.”

The former scrum-half insists places are still up for grabs and insists there is a four-horse race to replace injury-cursed Luke Fitzgerald, who has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a neck injury.

“People deserve the chance to put their hands up for the cup final and the great thing about this squad is the competitive nature,” Easterby added.

“There’s a lot of guys putting their hands up to replace Luke. The back-three from Saturday, Carr, Dave Kearny and Andrew Conway, and then Fergus McFadden will all be fighting hard for a place.”

DRAGONS: H Amos, W Harries, A Hughes, A Smith, A Brew, L Robling, W Evans; N Williams, S Parry, N Buck, L Charteris (capt), R Sidoli, D Lydiate, L Evans, T Faletau.

Replacements: P Leach for Smith (40), J Dixon for Robling (70), J Evans for W Evans (60), P Price for Williams (66), S Jones for Parry (66), D Way for Buck (60), J Groves for Charteris (67), T Brown for Faletau (63).

LEINSTER: D Kearney; A Conway, B Macken, N Reid, F Carr; I Madigan, E Reddan; J McGrath, S Cronin, N White; D Toner, D Browne; K McLaughlin, D Ryan, L Auva’a.

Replacements: H Van der Merwe for J McGrath (40), J Hagan for N White (62), D Hudson for D Kearney (65), A Dundon for S Cronin (65), L McGrath for E Reddan (69), M Flanagan for D Toner (71), J Murphy for K McLaughlin (78).

Referee: Marius Mitrea (ITA).


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