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Schmidt happy with season progress

Guinness PRO12 Editor

15 Oct 2011

Leinster boss Joe Schmidt hailed the strength of character of his young troops after navigating the ‘World Cup’ phase of the RaboDirect PRO12 in strong shape.


Rhys Ruddock at just 20 years old has been entrusted with the captaincy and despite an opening-day defeat to the Ospreys and seeing their long unbeaten home record at the RDS ended by Glasgow, Schmidt has plenty of cause for satisfaction.

Not least in the way his side have responded to those two setbacks and with the Irish international cavalry due to arrive for their trip to Edinburgh on October 28, Schmidt has an optimistic outlook for the remainder of the season.

He said: "There were a few frustrations along the way, not least that opening round defeat away to the Ospreys and obviously losing our home record against Glasgow, but overall – especially considering the disruptions we've had – I'm reasonably happy."

"When things are not going well you can measure yourself on how you bounce back.

"Take the Ospreys game for example. They hammered us in the first half but we showed a fair amount of resolve and did well in the second half to cross the line and dictate a lot of the play which denied them the opportunity to score a (four-try) bonus point.

"And then there was a real tenacity displayed by the squad to keep on fighting until the last minute to hold out Llanelli and register an away win at Parc y Scarlets.

"When you lose experienced players like Shane Horgan, Mat Berquist, Andrew Conway and new signing Steven Sykes, you need players to step up and a number of players did, seizing the initiative by displaying good form and leadership.

"A player like Dev Toner has improved week by week which is great, while Rhys Ruddock captaining the side for this block of eight games has played across all three back row positions as well as coping with leading a relatively inexperienced young team.

“To lose our home record hurt but the players showed a fair bit of character over the last three weeks to bounce back and we have to push on when the league resumes later this month with what is always a tough trip to Edinburgh.”