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Double is the trouble for Schmidt

Guinness PRO12 Editor

11 May 2012

Joe Schmidt admits separating the RaboDirect PRO12 from the Heineken Cup is proving more and more difficult but the Leinster coach remains convinced his side are up to challenge of claiming a historic double.

Despite winning two of the last three Heineken Cups the Irish outfit have never managed to combine that with victory on the domestic front.

They came agonisingly close last year, having overcome Northampton in the Heineken Cup final, but fell short in the final to arch-rivals Munster.

But this time around Schmidt and his troops have a chance to right those wrongs, starting with their RaboDirect PRO12 semi-final with Glasgow on Saturday, swiftly followed by the Heineken Cup final against Ulster a week later.

And the New Zealander has called on his side to take it one step at a time as the season reaches the business end.

“We'll probably approach Saturday's game in a similar way to last year,” said Schmidt.

“You've got to get some game time under your belt; you've got some momentum and some rhythm so we'll be looking to get some of that ahead of next week.

“I think fighting on two fronts makes it harder, to be honest. Whenever you're trying to catch two balls at the same time you can get distracted by one target or the other. That does make it a little bit tougher, particularly if you've got a few niggles and a few injuries. I think we're in pretty good health, though.

“But we separate the two competitions. For us, this week is about the PRO12. We need to try and draw a line in the sand, qualify for the PRO12 finals and then next week takes care of itself.

“I think it's been a really positive year for us. It can be as positive as you like, though, but the two games coming up will determine whether it's successful or not.”