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Jackman: Leinster got kicking game wrong



Bernard Jackman admitted that watching Leinster lose another Investec Champions Cup final was tough, but added his former team will have some regrets about the way Saturday’s 31-22 defeat to Toulouse played out.

Leo Cullen’s side managed to restrict the previously free scoring Top 14 outfit at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but crucially couldn’t rack up enough points at the other end to get over the line.

Extra time was needed in north London to separate the teams with Ciaran Frawley dragging a drop goal to win it just wide at the end of the 80 minutes.

Toulouse upped it in extra time with a Mathis Lebel try a crucial score in the extra 20 minute period.

Jackman says Leinster saw enough of the ball to win the game but that they just weren’t clinical enough.

“Leinster have lost three finals in a row and all of them have been incredibly tight,” he said on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“They’ll be scratching their heads, wondering what they need to do to get over the line. In all three games they’ve played well in parts but this was a phenomenal performance by Toulouse.

“It was a game where both defences were very much on top; no tries scored when it was 15v15 and that was for 89 minutes of the game.

“Leinster will certainly rue some of their decision making and accuracy in attack because they dominated possession and territory but couldn’t get enough scores to pull away.”

Jackman added that when the post-mortem begins on the game in London, the propensity to kick for the corner rather than the posts will surely be one which the Leinster players regret.

“Hindsight is 20:20 vision but the strategy not to take points was a key part of not getting the win,” the RTÉ Rugby analyst pointed out.

“They had a lot of kickable penalty opportunities and they went to the corner and just didn’t convert it into scores.

“Toulouse are a side who have been scoring, on average, seven tries per European Cup game this year. They went into the game with a strategy of, ‘anything within kicking range, go for it.’

“Leinster’s attack wasn’t as fluid but they were hell bent on going to the corner. Unfortunately they couldn’t get a reward for it in terms of not just getting another penalty but scoring a try.

“Toulouse, every time they survived, you felt they got a lift.”

Jack reserved particular praise for one Toulouse player, adding: “Antoine Dupont was head and shoulders above everybody else. He refused to lose and basically carried his team over the line.

“Anyone who was there on Saturday to see him live witnessed the greatest rugby player in the world at the moment.”

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