Eoin Reddan has warned his Leinster team-mates that the consequences of their final two Guinness Pro12 games could haunt them for all of next season.
The Ireland scrum-half knows that unless the province arrest their disastrous 2015 form they could miss out on Champions Cup qualification for the coming campaign.
A bonus-point win over Treviso on Friday would leave Leinster needing just a point in their final game of the season away to Edinburgh, who are also in contention to finish between fifth and seventh place with Scarlets also in the mix.
A top-six finish secures Leinster a place in the Champions Cup, albeit with a lower seeding, but seventh means a play-off against Challenge Cup winners Gloucester with the winner taking on the seventh-placed side in the Top 14 for a place in Europe’s elite competition.
Since February, Leinster have won just once in seven Pro12 fixtures and veteran Reddan is fully aware of what fate awaits the province should they fail to rekindle their form.
“Some games you’re playing in are important because of the game itself, some games you live with the consequences — actually live them,” said Reddan.
“You win or lose a final and that’s it, it’s done and dusted, you live with your own haunted memories of it if you lose.
“But you lose a game like next week, and the week after and you actually live the consequences of it (for next season). You have to live them.”
It’s a new experience for almost everyone at Leinster not to be fighting for silverware at the end of the season and Reddan, a three-time Heineken Cup winner, is fully aware that Treviso arrive at RDS on Friday looking to maintain their three-point lead over Zebre to be the Italian representative in the Champions Cup.
“They’re in a similar scenario, they’ve got two games left, they’re under pressure for Europe as well and they’re a proud bunch of lads so I think that narrows the focus,” added Reddan.
“I don’t think form is going to play a part in these two weeks, I think both teams will be very much up for it.”
Treviso have not picked up a point since February 20 when they posted 40 against Cardiff, but Reddan insisted he saw enough in the Italians’ visit to Cork last month to merit plenty of respect.
“Look, they’re all very good runners [at Treviso] and defenders, they’re very aggressive, they made it tough for Munster last week so we’re under no illusions. There’s no room for error. The risks are too big.”
Meanwhile, Gloucester flanker Ross Moriarty has been cited after allegedly striking an Edinburgh player with his knee in the European Rugby Challenge Cup final.
The incident occurred in the 54th minute at Twickenham Stoop between 21-year-old Moriarty and Fraser McKenzie.
Moriarty was sin-binned as the Cherry and Whites won the match 19-13.
A hearing will be held in Dublin on Thursday with sanctions ranging from a three-week ban up to a year, if St-Helens born Moriarty is found guilty.
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