Leinster: ‘Hurt’ driving Caelan Doris ahead of Munster clash after ‘dreadful memories’
Leinster number eight Caelan Doris insists that there is added motivation to win silverware this season after the disappointment of the previous campaign.
The Irish province were favourites to lift the Champions Cup and United Rugby Championship (URC) in 2021/22 but were left stunned in both competitions.
La Rochelle shocked them in the European final, emerging 24-21 triumphant in Marseille, while the Bulls ended their URC participation at the last-four stage.
It meant that this exceedingly talented Leinster outfit ended the year without a trophy, but they will look to rectify that over the coming weeks.
Leo Cullen’s men face Munster in their domestic semi-final on Saturday before they look to gain revenge on La Rochelle in the Champions Cup showpiece a week later.
“We’re in a unique position of still having that hurt so fresh in the mind,” Doris said. “The changing room in Marseille and after the Bulls at the RDS are pretty dreadful memories and there is a lot of hurt and pain from that.
“But we also have the opportunity to potentially lift two trophies here at home in the Aviva in front of family, friends and home supporters. We love playing here and we have a pretty good record here over the last few years.
“So I think we have kind of pushed away from the negative memories and feel a pull towards what could be a very special couple of weeks.”
Doris also admits that they will be paying special attention to the breakdown, both this week and next, as they attempt to play with the same type of fluency in attack.
“That’s going to be key in terms of getting our breakdown right. Obviously you’ve seen the threats La Rochelle have and how hard they go at the breakdown, so it’s going to be a massive area going forward,” he said.
“And the same with Munster this week, they have big breakdown threats as well and they’ll target that too.”
Leinster have dominated their rivalry with Munster over recent years and will be expected to once again claim victory this weekend, with their Limerick-based opponents without several key players due to injury.
“I’m sure there will be an unbelievable turnout here as it’s Munster,” Doris said. “It will hopefully be close to full, which would be class. The interpros are always pretty special going up against your national teammates so that would be huge.”
Doris will, fitness depending, almost certainly line up in Leinster’s back-row for Saturday’s clash, but it could be at either blindside or number eight.
While the 25-year-old is entrenched at the base of Ireland’s scrum, he has often been switched around at his province, often moving to flanker to accommodate Jack Conan.
The back-rower admits that he prefers the number eight slot but does not mind doing a job elsewhere.
He added: “I do prefer eight but the main thing for me is being in the number eight position off lineouts. That’s my favourite bit. I’m happy wherever and I think I can play well wherever I’m put and whatever is best for the team. I really enjoy playing with Jack when it is the two of us there and I think it has worked well for us the last while.”
READ MORE: Who can step in for injury-hit Munster as they prepare for daunting semi-final against Leinster
The article Leinster: ‘Hurt’ driving Caelan Doris ahead of Munster clash after ‘dreadful memories’ appeared first on Planetrugby.com.