Leinster coach O’Connor: ‘Winning ugly, winning pretty, is irrelevant to us’

LEINSTER COACH MATT O’Connor doesn’t care about aesthetics. Not this month anyway.

The Australian allowed himself a moment to look forward to what could potentially prove to be a season-defining series of games before he rings in the New Year.

Following the pivotal back-to-back encounters with Harlequins over the next 10 days, the seasonal inter-pros will bring Connacht to the RDS and Leinster to Thomond Park.

With the league growing more competitive owing to the addition of Champions Cup qualification, each contest promises to be a heated one.

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“It’s a huge month for us,” says O’Connor. “In the league we’re playing teams in and around us. There’s opportunities there for us to take points off teams in front of us and the pool will be decided over the next two weekends.

“That’s the focus this weekend at The Stoop, to make sure that we do everything we can to put ourselves in the best possible place.”

Though the groans that rumbled around the RDS during last weekend’s win over the Ospreys may well repeat in the Aviva, the style is of no concern to the head coach when pitted against the substance of points on the board.

O’Connor points out that the frustrating Pro12 win over the Ospreys is “not worth comparing” to this weekend’s trip to London owing to difference in playing personnel he will have available now that the November window is firmly shut.

While he wouldn’t be drawn on Luke Fitzgerald’s potential fitness, he did indicate that Rob Kearney has trained well and will be fit enough to start the Champions Cup fixture.

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

As one international comes in to the back three, however, Fergus McFadden was ruled out for a further four to six weeks after undergoing surgery on a thumb injury.

Even so, the Australian is confident that his pragmatic approach will yield another victory.