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Stuart Lancaster backs South African teams in the Pro 14

Stuart Lancaster has dismissed criticism of Leinster and Ireland's lack of a 'power game' as 'too...



Stuart Lancaster has dismissed criticism of Leinster and Ireland's lack of a 'power game' as 'too simplistic.'

The Leinster senior coach was speaking ahead of the return of the PRO 14 on Friday, less than a fortnight on from the province's defeat to Saracens in the Heineken European Champions Cup.

"It'll sit a long time in the throat, that one," said Lancaster of the Saracens' defeat.

However, Lancaster dismissed criticism that Leinster and Ireland are not powerful enough against Saracens and England.

"I think it's too simplistic to say that, It wasn't that long ago that Ireland were winning Grand Slams and we won the European Cup.

"The reality is we've lost against Saracens twice now and Ireland have lost to England twice.

"I think the game in Newcastle was nip and tuck. We think that we were 10-3 up going into half time and they got that try just going in at half-time."

Saracens players celebrate winning a scrum penalty during the Heineken Champions Cup Quarter-Final match between Leinster and Saracens at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Stuart Lancaster

Lancaster says an unprecedented first half this time around against the same opposition isn't a cause for concern.

"This game was different, in four years I've been at Leinster I've not seen us concede as many scrum penalties in any game.

"So I don't worry about things that I know we can fix technically. Perhaps one or two things didn't go our way that should have done, but that's rugby I guess."

Lancaster, fundamentals

Ahead of the rest of the Six Nations and upcoming Autumn Internationals, Lancaster thinks Ireland will be competitive and pointed to other strengths in England's game.

"Looking forward to the Ireland and England games coming around the corner. I think that Ireland have more than enough in their armoury to challenge England.

"It was probably more the kicking game in that last England v Ireland game that resulted in England getting that win.

"The reality is if you are playing Saracens or England or the big teams in Europe, you have to do fundamentals really well and on the day we didn't do that well enough.

"That's the reason Saracens won," concluded the former England coach.

Rónan Kelleher of Leinster is tackled by Matthew Rea of Ulster during the Guinness PRO14 Final match between Leinster and Ulster at the Aviva Stadium, Stuart Lancaster

Stuart Lancaster

Leinster's preparation for Europe has led to question marks over the quality of the competition.

"I think the top end of the PRO 14 is very competitive. For ourselves personally, it's a real challenge for us," said Lancaster.

"If you go through this PRO 14 season which we managed to achieve unbeaten, we did that in a World Cup year and a Six nations period where we lost night on 17 players.

"You could say that's because other teams are not as strong but I would argue that's because we have good strength in depth and we look to develop that talent from within.

"If there is scope for development of the PRO 14 and there's talk at the moment of more South African teams coming in. I think that would be a positive, personally.

"That would add to the challenge [...] and would be a good thing for us."

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2020 Six Nations Autumn Internationals England Rugby European Champions Cup Heineken European Champions Cup Ireland Leinster Pro 14 Saracens

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