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"We played scared" - Brian O'Driscoll and Leinster legends' insight into seeds of 2009 turning point


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As Leinster prepare to try and make it No 4 in the European Rugby Champions Cup/Heineken Cup stakes, we had the pleasure of an all-star panel of former blue-clad legends at our Mansion House Roadshow with Heineken Rugby Club. 

Brian O'Driscoll was joined by Shane Jennings, Luke Fitzgerald and Bernard Jackman from the 2009 crop that captured Leinster's first European trophy and went on to add two more. 

After discussing Jennings' time at Leicester Tigers before his return hom and how that influenced him as well as how former Leinster head coach Michael Cheika changed the culture at the province, BOD explained that everything came together around 2009 after chastening defeats in previous years including to Munster in big games. 

"We played scared with a lot of talent and with a really good work ethic and when you put those different pieces together, then you've potentially got a winning formula," said O'Driscoll.

"So I think all the stars aligned which Cheika coming in and with the age profile of the squad as well and with the bit of ballast from Rocky Elsom and then Isa [Nacewa] coming in thereafter, I just think everything just started plugging in together and the jigsaw started to fit."  

 

Jackman also saw the 2009 game against Castres as a "reset" that made them realise that it was that year or never.

"I think it was a really good reset moment for us and we realised if we carry on like this... it was a real turning point," said Jackman, describing it as a "s*** or get off the pot" moment.

The lads on stage - with the exception on Fitzgerald who had been very confident pre-match - also admitted that they felt Heineken Cup semi final opponents Munster were better than them in 2009. 

"The Munster team I thought were far better than us at that point. I thought they were probably better than us in 2009," said Fitzgerald.


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