Press Pass: MacRae on Leinster challenge
Get the latest from Defence Coach Calum MacRae as he spoke with press in the build up to Monday night's Guinness PRO14 Round 6 match against Leinster in Dublin.
How is the mood in the camp in the build-up to Monday night's match-up with Leinster?
“It’s a huge test, and a huge challenge - Leinster’s track record speaks for itself. But we have to take confidence from our last two performances.
“We’ve generally been in the game at half-time over there. You know you’re going to be fronting up to a physical onslaught. They play a very direct, collision-based carrying game, and if you don’t stand up and get bodies in front of that, they get that go-forward that gives their backs something to play off.
What makes Leinster so effective and what will be the team's mindset heading into the fixture?
“They do their fundamentals really well and have really effective strike runners. They apply pressure to you on every single facet of the game.
"They’ve got very pragmatic game managers and they transfer pressure with their kicking game so that you’re constantly feeling the heat. And it’s just how we can stand up to that and manage it so we can actually transfer pressure back on to them in their half of the field.
“I take a lot of confidence from the work the boys have done in the last couple of weeks. We’ll be concentrating on what we do really well first and foremost, because you’ve got to go in there bold and brave in your actions to give yourself a chance to at least get a foothold in the game.
"The main thing is the physical part and making sure we play in the right areas of the game. The big thing for us is to make sure we’re physical on those first parts so we can apply some pressure to them."
How impressed have you been with the younger players, and in particular Nathan Chamblerain, who all made their mark in the wins over Scarlets and Cardiff?
“I thought a lot of the rookies stood up really well on Monday night versus Cardiff.
“Nathan [Chamberlain] has been diligent - he’s got his head down and worked hard. He’s been given some pretty direct feedback at times, but he has taken it on board. The kid has not got an ego: he’s in there to work hard and that’s all you can ask from young guys.
“If you’re a 10, you generally have guys running down your channel, and it’s just about getting him to stick his head in the spokes long enough. He got challenged down his channel by the Cardiff 12 off some lineouts, and he stood up to it.
“I thought he was pretty pragmatic in how he approached the game, and he grew into it. Having an experienced 9 with him in Henry Pyrgos obviously helped him too - it took the global game management off him and allowed him to add to the parts that Henry was doing.
"Since he’s come back from injury Henry’s kicking game has got us into the right areas of the field really well, and I think Nathan has added to that.”