After humiliating European rivals Northampton 40-7, Leinster scrum-half Eoin Reddan has warned against complacency setting in ahead of Saturday’s return leg at Aviva Stadium.
Reddan scored one of the six Leinster tries that put the Saints to the sword at Franklin’s Gardens on Saturday night and extended an unbeaten start to the province’s Pool 1 campaign to three wins out of three.
A Luke Fitzgerald hat-trick and further scores from Jamie Heaslip and Brian O’Driscoll, who brilliantly created two of the former’s tries, were the highlights of a brilliant and clinical demolition of a sloppy and surprisingly below-par Northampton.
Yet the Ireland scrum-half knows the three-time Heineken Cup winners still have to prepare diligently for the round four encounter back in Dublin and steel themselves for a Saints backlash.
“When the score goes like that, protection mode kicks in and you know the potential downfalls of that,” Reddan said. “We’ve all obviously played a lot of Heineken Cup now and we know the nature of the back-to-back games and we also know the nature of when you’ve got a wounded animal, especially a big, strong wounded animal back in Dublin next week.
“There’s 40,000 tickets sold already and everyone knows it’s going to be a big game and that kind of atmosphere and crowd, it’ll be another one-off occasion like tonight.”
It may have appeared like a masterclass in attacking rugby from Leinster in Northampton, but Reddan believes it was a just a case of everyone doing their jobs.
Indeed, it bore remarkable similarities to the second-half comeback against the same club in the 2011 European final at Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, when Joe Schmidt’s side, inspired by a Johnny Sexton half-time team-talk turned a 22-6 interval deficit into a glorious 33-22 victory.
Reddan was reticent to compare the two, rightly saying the circumstances were not similar, but he said: “We do have a big, big emphasis and mantra about doing your own job regardless of the pressure and focusing on delivering your own thing and someone will get over the line eventually.
“That first half was a great example of that. Everyone just did a little thing right and someone scored, without anyone doing... maybe Brian did a few incredible things all right but apart from that everyone was just giving people good ball and letting them get on with their job.”
With Leinster getting off to a lightning start and Reddan’s try sealing the bonus point after 37 minutes to leave Matt O’Connor’s side 26-0 in front at half-time, the scrum-half said the 2011 final was referenced at the interval.
“Of course, if two teams have done that to each other, I mean, Northampton absolutely blitzed us in a half, we blitzed them in a half and then we blitzed them in a half at the start of the game today, so we knew there was always a chance they could come out and do that. They have that in their locker, evidence has shown that, history has shown that and I’m sure that’s what they’ll be aiming to do next week.”
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