‘It’s fantastic for Irish rugby’ – Dempsey

Date published: May 24 2016

12/05/16 
PRINCES STREET GARDENS - EDINBURGH
Leinster's Mike McCarthy (left) and Connacht's John Muldoon prepare for the Guinness Pro12 Final at the BT Murrayfield Stadium

Leinster backs coach Girvan Dempsey is salivating at the prospect of a PRO12 derby final, admitting "it's fantastic for Irish rugby".

Saturday's meeting at Murrayfield will see the top two teams in this season's competition go head-to-head for a winner-take-all showdown.

Leinster finished top of the standings before beating Ulster in the semi-finals while Connacht were second and edged Glasgow last week.

"I think it's brilliant," Dempsey told the Leinster website about the all-Irish final.

"You look at the league standings and that's where it stems from – first against second in the league. It's fantastic for Irish rugby to have two Irish teams in the final. Hopefully it will be a good game."

Leinster take on a Connacht side that has shocked many this season and Dempsey added to the praise ahead of the big match this Saturday.

"Connacht have been super, but we're very hungry to try and win the trophy," he said.

"We know what we have to do and we know what we're more than capable of doing, we just have to make sure we get our plays right and get our defence right, because Connacht have caused teams a lot of problems. You saw on Saturday, defensively they're very organised and didn't concede a lot of ground to Glasgow. Their attack game, as everyone has spoken about throughout the year, has been super."

Leinster though were impressive against Ulster last week as their power game took them over the finish line in front, something that pleased Dempsey no end.

"I think we always feel that we're capable of that [standard of performance]," he added.

"It was just having the time together as a group, we gelled and we got all our bits and pieces right in training. The players spoke about in the changing room afterwards that they fed off the atmosphere and the crowd, which was incredible.

"You saw straight from the start with Luke Fitzgerald fielding the high ball, it gave us a bit of momentum and the crowd fed off that and we fed off them. The players said it was the best atmosphere they've experienced in the RDS in a while."

Looking ahead to Saturday, he added: "You don't need much to get yourself up for a final. It's there, it's within your grasp. It's managing all the external bits and pieces, and managing your nerves and making sure that you put in a performance. We know it's going to be a massive task against a very strong and consistent Connacht team."

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